Boston, MA --
Forward Brad Marchand
marches into Boston Bruins training camp 2010 with one mission -- to earn a roster spot.
"Yeah, I think this is the biggest year so far," said Marchand. "I feel like there are opportunities there.
"Anything could happen, but I think a lot of it will be on me and how I play.
"I'm hoping they give me every chance and all I have to do is take advantage of it," he said.
There's no doubt that the team will give him that chance. With Marco Sturm and Trent Whitfield
on long term injured reserve, Marchand is coming in at a good time.
But it might be the absence of agitator Steve Begin that gives Marchand his best shot at a permanent berth in the Bruins locker room.
Described as one of those players who "you hate when they're on the other team, but love when they are on your team" and an on-ice pest throughout his junior and American Hockey League career, Marchand might just be the shift disturber that the Bruins need.
But to do that, Marchand needs to play on the edge and with the confidence that has so irked his opponents throughout his career.
"The biggest thing Peter [Chiarelli] stressed was getting mentally stronger," said Marchand of his postseason exit interview. "My confidence was a little low at different points when I was here, and he wanted me to get a lot stronger in that area."
"I think the biggest thing in my game is my confidence," he continued. "I try different things in different times and a lot of last year I wasn't really doing that.
"I wasn't taking risks and that's the kind of player I am. If I want to make the team and want to be an impact player, I have to do that," he said.
And, knowing that Marchand has shown quite a bit of scoring ability throughout his amateur, junior and pro careers, the B's wanted a faster Marchand to play his "human bowling ball with hands" routine.
"Being a smaller guy, youíve got to be faster and quicker, and that's pretty much the other biggest thing," said Marchand. "Also working on getting a quicker release.
"Up here, you don't have that extra second, so you've got to get that puck off quicker."
Prior to training camp, Marchand said he was happy to have had the opportunity to join the Bruins rookies and vets at Wilmington this week and explained that the informal practices may have helped him aleviate the jitters he might have had coming back this year.
"Yeah, it's good to be out there and be comfortable with the guys again," said Marchand. "The first practice, I was really nervous. I donít know why, though.
"It's pretty lax and thereís no one really watching, but I was very nervous out there, so I got that out of the way.
"Really to just get my confidence up and know that I can skate with these guys and know that I can skate at the same speed as them," he said.
The diminutive, but impactful forward said that despite his being a healthy scratch during the playoffs he had also taken the B's loss to Philadelphia to heart.
"Even though I wasn't on the ice, I felt like part of the team," said Marchand. "The guys made me feel very welcome and I was going through it all the same way.
"I was at the game and practicing with the guys and the meeting, so when things were getting hard, they were still hard on me too.
"It was very disappointing being there and having the upset. Obviously...all summer you think about it, but this is another big year and the team's going to be great," he said.