BOSTON - Dominic Moore has spent plenty of time in Boston over the years. The veteran forward played his collegiate hockey at Harvard and has spent the past several summers at a home he purchased in the area.
With such a strong connection to the city, the thought of playing for the Bruins has always been in the back of his mind.
But during his 11-year National Hockey League career, he had never come close - or even had discussions - about signing with the Bruins.
That all changed this summer.
Moore had a number of talks with Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney, before signing a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Bruins at the end of August, making the Black & Gold his 10th NHL team.
"I'm obviously very familiar with this area," said Moore, who suited up for Harvard from 1999-2003 and ranks 11th on the program's all-time scoring list.
"I've lived here a lot over the years, as well. I'm psyched to be a part of this group. It's a dream come true in a lot of ways to be here in Boston and to play for the B's. I'm really excited to get going."
The 36-year-old pulled on the Spoked-B for the first time on Tuesday morning, joining a number of his teammates for a captain's practice. Fellow free-agent signings Riley Nash and Anton Khudobin (he's back), prospects Brandon Carlo , Danton Heinen , and Rob O'Gara, and Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller were among those attending their first sessions of the season.
"It's kind of like the first day of school where you come in and meet guys," said Moore. "It's starting to [sink in]. When I signed, it hadn't quite really…now it's getting there."
Moore said he spoke with a number of teams throughout the free agency process, but tried to remain patient and find the right situation. The draw of playing for the Bruins, a team with a rich history and cemented culture, was a major selling point.
"I've been around the city long enough to know the mentality of Boston and Boston sports," said Moore. "I really have a lot of respect and pride in that kind of mentality. To be a part of that culture is a lot of fun."
The Thornhill, Ontario, native tallied six goals and nine assists in 80 games for the New York Rangers last season. Moore is also an experienced face-off man and penalty killer, who said he is prepared to play either center or wing.
"Hopefully some leadership," said Moore, when asked what he can bring to the Bruins. "We talked about versatility and trying to fill different things at different times - faceoffs and killing penalties - I pride myself on being a well-rounded player. Hopefully that adds an element to the team.
"You want to be yourself. You hope that fits with the team and the group that you're going into. Me and Don had plenty of talks about being a good fit here."
No matter what role Moore takes on, he is looking forward to playing in coach Claude Julien's system.
"There's always consistency to the way the Bruins play with their systems," said Moore. "They're always a well-organized team. It's had success for a long time. The last couple years they've been right there. The teams around the league in and out of the playoffs are very good.
"The margins are very small. Hopefully that's something I can help make a little bit of a margin there. I'm excited to do that."
Moore has played 765 games in the National Hockey League, but despite the number of miles on his body, he is not too concerned with his tires lacking any tread.
"I feel great. I think maybe one feather in my cap, taking a year off has helped longevity-wise," Moore said of not playing in 2012-13 to help care for his wife, who was battling cancer. "Physically, somehow, I feel really great. Hopefully that's a good thing."
The task of having to evolve to keep up with the latest trends across the league is something Moore enjoys.
"I love the challenge of trying to constantly improve, get better and better," said Moore. "The game's always getting better every year and you have to stay ahead of it. As an athlete, there's different ways you approach it and for me those are two of the things I enjoy about it."