BOSTON, MA — The last time BostonBruins.com checked in with Brad Marchand he was hitting the gym hard regularly in his native Nova Scotia.
Today when we caught up with the B's shift disturber, he was very content to be back in Boston and readying himself to play hockey.
"It’s been a long few months, and I really just can’t wait to get back on the ice, and playing for the fans again," said Marchand after an informal skate at Boston University's Agganis Arena.
"I’m very excited, there’s no question about that," he continued. "We can just worry about playing the game, and let the fans get back to enjoying it…and we can get back to the love of the game now."
Marchand joined seven teammates at Jack Parker Rink on Commonwealth Avenue and was thrilled to be back among his fellow Black & Gold.
"You really realize how close you are with your teammates," said Marchand. "It’s just really fun being around the guys every day, and being the room and on the road with them."
Those road games could come quickly, and Marchand was blunt about his early expectations on the 2012-13 season.
"I think the first few games are going to be a little sloppy, but everyone is going to be pushing as hard as they can every game," he said. "It’s going to mean so much more now that it’s such a short schedule.
"If you go on a bad run to start the year, you can easily push yourself out of playoff position, so everyone really has to bear down, and make sure every game counts."
Marchand tends to do that anyway, but feels as if this edition of the Bruins should be in for a pretty exciting campaign. However, he and his teammates understand that any prolonged lapse in concentration could be detrimental to Boston's chances in the postseason.
"At this point, everyone is a contender," said Marchand. "With a shortened schedule, if teams go on a bad run a lot during the year — and everyone goes through ups-and-downs — if you have a tough start, it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can push yourself out of a spot.
"We do have a good team, but we have to make sure we bring it every night."
And that's where Marchand's offseason training — and a fair bit of rest — should put him in good stead whenever training camp begins.
"I’m feeling pretty good," said the forward. "The biggest thing is we’ve been able to rest a lot throughout this time, and as good as working is for you during the season, a lot of rest is great too.
"I have been training hard, and trying to stay in shape, and I just can’t wait to play."
That's good because when the puck drops it stands to reason that shifts and patience will be short.
"Everyone is going to have to [bring the energy], but being a younger guy, they’re going to expect us to have a little bit of spunk, and be excited to be out there and play," said Marchand. "But a the same time, that’s everyone.
"Everyone is excited to be back, and everyone is going to be pushing a little extra hard, a little harder to show how much they appreciate the fans being back, and I really think that everyone is going to be flying out there.
"I was thinking about it last night, what it’s going to be like to step back in front of the fans again, and play in front of them," added Marchand. "It’s going to be a blast, and I can’t wait to hear the cheers of our crowd again, and hear that goal horn go off, and the Garden go crazy.
"It’s going to be a lot of fun."