It's been a tough start to the season for Brandon Bochenski, but you couldn't tell just by looking at him.
"Bo" as he is called by his teammates, displays the same upbeat demeanor he wore last season when, as a mid season acquisition, he was one of the bright spots during a tough 2006-07 campaign.
This season, after using his time off to bulk up, Bochenski found that his spot in the lineup was not guaranteed and that the extra weight was keeping him from performing at the same level he had previously.
Following several nights in the press box and a successful conditioning stint with the P-Bruins, Bochenski is back and will be one of the Bruins who are counted on to help the franchise through the temporary loss of their best two-way player, Patrice Bergeron
"Well, I am definitely going to put pressure on myself," said Brandon, with a serious tone. "I don't know how much pressure I feel from the outside, but (Thursday could) be my first game of the year…so I am going to put plenty of pressure on myself to do my best."
A popular name amongst B's fandom, the absence of the would-be sniper has not gone unnoticed. However, Bochenski has been a model citizen, and he, like fellow suit-squad members Bobby Allen and Jeremy Reich, have been the ultimate team players throughout their time away from game ice.
That being said, however, Bochenski knows that he has to perform and show what he can do before he can earn a permanent lineup spot.
"I definitely have a bit of a chip on my shoulder," said Bo. "But to in order to be effective you have to relax a bit.
"You can't be gripping your stick too tight or the puck's just going to be bouncing on you."
Bochenski contends that one thing that has helped him was being sent to Providence.
"For me, it was a good experience," said Bochenski. "I got to play.
"I was excited to go down there and strap on (the blades) to play with a good group of guys."
And these days, with Providence's squad teeming with talent, there are a bunch of players in baby Black & Gold who have seen time in Boston or in Bruins camp.
"I know a few," said Brandon. "I even got to see my old high school line mate, Matt Hendricks, although he is hurt right now.
"But it was nice to see those guys."
Asked if he thought any anger from Saturday's incident would carry over into the Buffalo game, Bochenski was not sure.
"It's hard to say," he said. "We have to focus on the task at hand, but in the back of everyone's mind it's hard to forget what happened.
"But we have a job to do and everyone's got to go out there and do it."