Those who frequent BostonBruinsTV and BostonBruins.com are familiar with Johnny Boychuk
and his usual “devil-may care” demeanor, but the 26 year-old B’s blueliner turned somber when talking about last season’s letdown.
The boisterous Boychuk's smile quickly faded after captains’ practice in Wilmington when the subject of last season's playoff loss to Philadelphia was broached by the hockey media.
Asked if anyone gave him grief about the playoffs this summer, Boychuk responded, “Maybe once in a while, but you thought about it all the time, so it wasn’t really a joke, and I made sure to let them know that.
“They kind of knew it was a sore spot," he added. "[I] Still haven’t forgot about it, that’s for sure.”
An AHL Eddie Shore Award winner for outstanding defenseman, Boychuk strives to leave it all on the ice in practice and in games. As such, and after a season that saw him be a healthy scratch for many games, Boychuk has worked hard to prove he is an asset to the Black & Gold and is “more than just a No. 5 or 6 guy.”
“I started out not playing at all, then somebody got hurt, and then I started to play every game and just didn’t look back from there,” said Boychuk. “I think before I was playing really well, and I just started to get more comfortable and then during playoffs everyone steps their game up, so that’s what really happened.”
At informal practices this week, he says he’s acting as if he’s working to earn his spot on the team, despite a little more certainty that he belongs with the B’s this year.
“I just take the same approach every year," he said. "I just come to camp and vie for a job.
"There’s always going to be someone trying to take your spot, so you have to make sure not to let that happen.”
“It’s a little different [this season], but I try to take the same approach so you can’t really think about anything else but trying to make the team again.”
Coming out of 2009-10, the rest of the Bruins team shares Johnny’s frustration, but is already using it as extra motivation.
Taking Boychuk as an example, it's clear they are confident in their abilities and ready to get the new season underway.
“[We want] to win The Cup," said Boychuk. "That’s our potential.”
Through all of his hard work, Boychuk confided that he is enjoying his time on the ice with his teammates before getting down to business next week at camp.
“I was excited to come back and see everybody and get things going again," he said. "Everybody left on a sour note…but you can tell everybody worked hard [over the summer].
"We’re excited to be back and ready to get back at ‘er.”--Taylor Walker