Boston, MA – Arriving at TD Garden on Saturday morning, the calmness could be felt all over the building – whether it was the pristine sheet of ice being carefully tended to, the players meticulously making adjustments to their equipment, or the coaching staff running the B’s through a series of pre-game drills that have been skated hundreds of times before.
And with the puck set to drop tonight on the 2012-13 season, B’s bench boss Claude Julien and his team weighed in on their anxious excitement heading into the opener against the New York Rangers – emotions that have, not surprisingly, been apparent all week.
“I think everyone’s really excited, the whole league’s excited, all the players are excited,” said forward Tyler Seguin, post morning skate, surrounded by a wall of reporters near his stall. “Of course, going to be a hard game.”
“My second year [in the NHL], I felt like I had more experience and I knew it was going to be a marathon, and now it’s a sprint.”
“So I’m going to be expecting – you know, if it’s this time during the 82-game season, they’ll be thinking that playoff hockey’s starting to approach and now you feel the tempo picking up a bit, and I think it’s going to be a sprint right from the get-go and guys are going to be going hard.”
In what is sure to be an adrenaline-pumping first game back, Seguin knows the Bruins loyal fanbase will provide an added spark.
“Especially, in a game back in front of these fans at the Garden, it’s always a treat to play here.”
Teammate Tuukka Rask has also been feeling a jump in his emotions on getting back into action on TD Garden ice, but only in the sense that he’s prepared to walk out of the tunnel tonight as the B’s No. 1 goaltender – not that he’s feeling extra pressure.
“I think we had a good morning skate there. I feel like the team is ready to go,” said Rask.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of jump, fans are going to be loud, you know, team’s going to be a little nervous and anxious to go out there.
“I think once we shake the nerves off, it’s going to be a very exciting game.”
Coach Julien mirrored his team’s remarks as he addressed a room packed full with media from rink level at the Garden, just steps down the hall from where his players’ were making their final post-skate preparations for tonight.
When asked about the Bruins’ having to face off against a tough opponent in a New York Rangers squad that nearly made the Stanley Cup Finals last year before falling in six games to the Devils, Julien was clear about his mindset.
“I don’t know if I feel more weight; I think I like that opportunity,” he remarked. “You know, I really do. I’d rather play one of the best teams in the conference than not. And right now let’s go at it.”
“Like I said, we’re both at the same stage where we’ve had six days of Training Camp. Let’s go at it.”