BOSTON - The regular season is right around the corner as the Bruins hosted their annual Media Day on Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena. Boston is set to take on the Dallas Stars in its first test of the 2019-20 campaign on Thursday, but not before members of the team and front office spoke to reporters about the excitement for the upcoming season.
"It's tough," said Brad Marchand, who was asked about recovering from the loss in the Stanley Cup Final last June. "Obviously with what happened, I don't think we'll ever get over that, but I think we're excited about this season and what it's going to bring. We have the majority of the guys back and added a couple good players, so we're just looking forward to the next step and getting things going again."
One of six 100-point scorers in the NHL last season, Marchand was asked about the pressure that comes with hitting the triple-digit mark. The 100 points recorded last season was 15 more than his previous high of 85.
"I think that when we go into the season, we're not concerned about personal stats," said Marchand. "It's part of it, obviously, but I'll take 20 points if it means we're in the playoffs. When you have a good team and have a good group, everyone benefits from that. We expect to have a good year again this year. I think personal stats come with having a good team."
When it comes to recreating the special chemistry that the locker room possessed last season, Bruins players are not concerned. With minimal turnover to the roster, players are excited to hit the ground running and jump into the season.
"I think we felt that [chemistry] right away when we got back here," said Marchand. "When you have as many returning guys as you do, it's a lot easier to get in and feel comfortable with everyone right away."
Echoing Marchand's comments was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who is coming off a playoff run that included a .934 save percentage paired with a 2.02 goals against average.
"I think we have pretty much the same guys here, so I don't think it's a recreation," said Rask when asked about duplicating the chemistry from last season. "It's just recognizing what we did last year and how we did it. We have to kind of try to recapture that.
"We still have the same core group of guys and veteran leadership here that lead by example on and off the ice. I don't think it's going to be an issue for us."
Video: Coyle looks ahead to the 2019-20 season at Media Day
Krejci in Question
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney provided updates on multiple injured players on Tuesday, including center David Krejci.
"It's to be determined still," said Sweeney when asked about Krejci's status for Thursday's season-opener. "He worked his way back out there for practice, and hopefully he'll continue to do the same, so we'll evaluate him every day. He's a possible."
Sweeney also provided updates on other injured players on Boston's roster, including Kevan Miller, John Moore and Joakim Nordstrom. Nordstrom was placed on injured reserve.
"Joakim Nordstrom is not going to start with us - an injury we've been looking at, been working his way back in. And obviously, Krech is still working his way back. We started with no Miller and Moore, and then he got hurt, so that's one of the primary concerns in the organization where we're going to be health-wise. Next man up in those situations. Bruce [Cassidy] and the team's done a really good job."
Peter Cehlarik, the Bruins' third-round draft pick from the 2013 NHL Draft, cleared waivers on Tuesday and was assigned to Providence, as was defenseman Jakub Zboril.
"He cleared, yes," Sweeney said of Cehlarik. "He will head to Providence and start down there, and again, playing a role in last year, playing a lot of minutes for us up here. We're happy that he got through. He's probably upset that he's not going back to the National Hockey League right now, but he adds to the depth of our group, and he's an important player."
Video: Krejci discusses his health status for Opening Night
After recording 16 points in 24 playoff games for the Bruins last season, Charlie Coyle - an unrestricted free agent following the 2019-20 campaign - is a player that Boston will look to extend. Other players needing contract extensions soon include defenseman Torey Krug and forward Jake DeBrusk.
"They're all ongoing," said Sweeney, when asked about contract negotiations with the aforementioned players. "You will not hear through us where those deals are at and that's really out of respect for every deal that you negotiate.
"We have discussions that need to take place and the other side will hopefully respect that as well. We are in discussions with the players we've discussed, because they are a part of our group right now and a very important part of our group. And if things work out and we find that common ground, they probably will be for a long time."
Bruins chairman Jeremy Jacobs was in attendance at media day, along with CEO Charlie Jacobs, and the two provided updates on the status of the club's ownership group, as well as the renovations to TD Garden.
"There was a trust made recently that put the Bruin asset into a beneficiary, so when I croak, it will be the next generation," Jeremy Jacobs said with a chuckle. "Nothing has changed as far as positions and authority and responsibility. I still will be in the same position."
Charlie Jacobs provided an update on the renovations after touring TD Garden and The Hub on Causeway on Tuesday morning.
"I'll tell you what. It is vastly different," said Charlie Jacobs. "A number of us up here took a tour this morning to gauge where we're going to be in terms of opening day on the 12th. There's a lot of work to still be done, but it is transformational.
"Our aspirations when we began the project was to have the best in-arena experience in North America for our event-goers and hopefully the feedback will reflect that when we achieve it.
"As for the journey, this has taken a long time... But, again, all through it, it really is going to be transformational for not only TD Garden, but I think the West End community and the North End community."
Video: Mr. Jacobs Talks Hockey with Insider Eric Russo