BostonBruins.com - When Jarome Iginla arrived to the Bruins' practice facility at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday in Wilmington, MA, he put on his equipment, laced up his skates and pulled a black jersey over his head with the spoked-B on the front.
"It feels really good," said Iginla, who was there taking part in the B's "Captain's Practices" before training camp officially begins in 15 days on September 11.
"It felt good and it's great to be here at the facility and get a chance to meet some of the guys, and just starting it up again."
The new Bruin joined David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask and Dennis Seidenberg out on the ice, as they ran through shooting, passing and battling drills. Iginla helped lead the group through a few sequences, and whether it was a smile while standing next to 'Seides' at the blueline, or a laugh while talking with Rask before the goalie skated off the ice, you could see him being acclimated into the group.
"I've met some of them over the years," said the winger, naming Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Gregory Campbell among those he's known throughout his illustrious 16 seasons in the NHL.
But whether the B's know him or not, they reached out to welcome their new teammate, sending him some texts over the summer.
"The guys are great. Right when I signed they were very welcoming and I appreciated that texts and calls I got from the guys," Iginla told the small group of gathered reporters. "But it's great to be here now and to start mixing in and getting to know them more."
Coming to Boston early also allows Iginla to get to know the area and comfortably transition his family.
"Summer was shorter this year, but it felt good to be short. I want to be back at it," he said.
"My family and I came - kids start school tomorrow so I wanted to get here early and get as many kinks out as far as knowing the practice route drive or learning a bit about Boston downtown, and also having some fun and just relaxing here."
"So it is nice to be here a couple of weeks before camp and just to feel comfortable. And when camp goes, hopefully you just get all of the kinks out and feel that much better as a player, but also as a family that we're all settled and ready to roll."
Iginla isn't just simply coming to Boston; he's looking forward to the full experience for his family, how he can help his new team, and what he can give to the B's faithful.
'Iggy' grew up just outside Edmonton, Alberta, when Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were helped the Oilers to their Stanley Cups. He didn't get to hear about "The Original Six" as much, until he began his own NHL career.
"Getting the chance to be in the East and be in a great sports city like Boston and the history and tradition, I think it is pretty cool and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity," he said.
"[I'm] looking forward to playing and having fun out there, and being a part of the Bruins and playing with the guys."
"It's still summer, it's still August, but it's also some of the best times of year with the anticipation of a new season and getting ready - and it feels good."
I think hockey fans can agree with that.
Iginla's anticipation also comes from being highly motivated and energized heading into the upcoming campaign. The winger had 11 straight seasons of 30 or more goals before putting up 14 goals and 33 points in 44 games during the 2012-13 season with Calgary and Pittsburgh. Motivation is always there, yes, but he's looking to consistently produce and be a vital part of a contending team.
"I'd like to have a great year for the Bruins and just play really well and have fun and ultimately, win," Iginla said, on the expectations for himself coming into the season.
"I know a lot of the guys here, getting that close last year, a lot of them have already won but you talk to them and you talk to guys who won, and you just want to get back there and win again," he added.
"So I'd love to be a part of that. That's why I signed a one-year deal. You know, it works out for everybody and I'd love to be here longer. As a family, we haven't been here long but it looks fun [for the family] and the kids are excited about their school and would love to be here for a while and be part of success here for a while."