Throughout the summer, core members of the Black & Gold were signed to contract extensions – and one by one, each preached his admiration for both Boston and his teammates.
“Being part of this team, it's like being part of a family,” Brad Marchand stated after signing a four-year extension through 2016-17. “I’m very excited to be with them all here for the next number of years. With the group of guys we have and with the opportunity we have ahead of us, we have such a great team and we’re going to be a very strong team for years to come.”
“This is a place where I’ve always wanted to be,” echoed Milan Lucic after inking his own long-term deal on Saturday. “They’ve done a great job developing players and developing all of us into allowing us to be the best we can be.
“We love the city, we love the fans. I speak for everyone here as we couldn’t be happier to be in this spot.”
When asked what effect other key B’s signings had on his own lengthy decision, Lucic noted that “it was very attractive. [Peter Chiarelli] keeping all the core guys, and guys that I’ve built really good relationships with here. That obviously makes you want to stay more.”
“We know what to expect from each other and we know what to expect from the team.”
While the 24-year-old Lucic has had the chance to be around Boston for the past six years, Tyler Seguin has only been here for two – but the 20-year-old didn’t even need that long to to admire the team and town.
“I started my career here, I fell in love with my first visit,” said Seguin upon signing a six-year extension through 2018-19 on September 11.
“I’m a Bruin and I’m happy to be a part of this group of guys. They’re my brothers. And I’m happy I can start a life here.”
“As soon as I signed, I got text messages from every single player on the team and that really exemplifies how close we are as a team,” he said after the deal. “It’s really great to have almost entirely the whole 2011 championship team back.
“That was one of the most attractive things about Boston, the fact that I really, really enjoy being around my teammates. I really want to play for my teammates and I’m really friends with all my teammates.”
“I don’t think you’ll find a closer team than we have,” said the center. “I think Gregory touched on it with the amount of texts he got once he signed. That’s the way our locker room is and you don’t find that everywhere.
As such, a list of players who have re-signed in the past few months - Kelly, Campbell, Lucic, Marchand, Seguin, Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille – is an easy indication of the team chemistry that led to the Stanley Cup in 2011, and that will carry the Black & Gold well into the future.
“That was a huge part of me wanting to come back,” said Kelly. “The fact that the Bruins are a definition of a team and have the opportunity to be successful for a lot of years.”
“Everyone checks their ego at the door … I think that’s a rare thing in pro sports with the amount of egos that are out there. That’s not the case in our locker room.”
Not only have they stuck together on the ice – but they continue to be a family off the ice as well.
That was made apparent by the support Milan Lucic received for his annual Rock & Jock charity softball game in August, where Johnny Boychuk was one of the B’s to show support.
"Anytime a teammate wants you to do something, you’re more than willing to do it,” said Boychuk, who was happy to have an excuse to be around his “brothers” for a night.
“It just shows what kind of guys we have in the locker room - we stick together no matter what.”