BOSTON, MA – After a swift 45-minute practice this morning at TD Garden, the Bruins headed off to Chicago where they will take part in the NHL's 'Media Day' before beginning the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
But before the team made its way to the Logan Airport-bound buses awaiting in the Garden parking lot, the Bruins were treated to quite the sendoff from roughly 1,000 screaming fans that packed into the Level Two concourse.
The B’s passed through the sea of Black & Gold, some with luggage in tow, handing out high-fives and stopping to chat with the media, as pump-up music blared overhead and the fans chanted ‘We want the Cup’ and ‘Let’s go Bruins.’
In 2011, the sendoff was held outdoors in the parking lot, but due to the inclement weather, this year’s event was moved inside.
“It’s awesome getting the fans here and packed the whole time, and it’s louder because we're indoors,” said B’s forward Daniel Paille. “But it’s definitely awesome to see the support that we get from our fans.”
“I really wasn’t expecting this many people here, but it’s a lot of fun to see,” added Brad Marchand. “It really gets us excited to get out there and get things under way.”
Defenseman Torey Krug is one of the few current Bruins who did not experience the team’s Cup run in 2011, but he witnessed from afar the passion that Boston shows for its sports teams and knew he wanted to be apart of it. Now the 22-year-old Michigan native is getting to feel the support firsthand.
“The market here in Boston is unbelievable,” said the rookie, who with four goals has been a revelation for the Bruins this postseason. “It is one of the reasons I came here, the fan support. You hear how loud the building is every night that we play. So walking through this crowd is amazing.
“When I first got here, obviously they had just come off winning the Stanley Cup and the crowds were amazing. I come here and it was the loudest crowds I have heard live. It’s amazing the fan support we have here.”
For the next few days, however, the Bruins will be in enemy territory, away from their rabid fan base, which will make things even sweeter when they return home for Games Three and Four early next week.
“I think they've got more fans seating in there,” said Paille of the United Center, the Hawks’ home rink. “We hear that it gets pretty loud too, but I’m sure it’ll be just as loud, if not louder, when we get back here.
“We’re definitely going to be excited when we get a chance to come back here.”
Gang's All Here
Aside from the lone injured Bruin in Gregory Campbell (broken right fibula), all Bruins hit the ice for a brief practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, before the sendoff and flight to Chicago.
The lineup was status quo, as expected, though Coach Julien is expected to mix and match his "bottom six" forwards, as he did in Game Four against Pittsburgh. In practice, though, Kaspars Daugavins is still skating on the left wing alongside Rich Peverley at center and Tyler Seguin on the right. The Merlot Line sees Chris Kelly centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. The top two lines centered by David Krejci (Lucic-Krejci-Horton) and Patrice Bergeron (Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr) are still intact.
It's expected this time of year, but the B's were all business - methodical, focused and crisp. If they had it their way, they'd probaly ask for the puck to drop tonight.