WILMINGTON, MA — The numbers on the back of their helmets were pretty familiar as Bruins players donned their practice gear for an informal skate in Wilmington on Wednesday.
No. 49, Rich Peverley, said that seeing the faces under that headgear makes coming back to the Boston-area exciting for members of the Black & Gold.
"I think everyone feels good," said Peverley. "It’s nice to get back with your teammates.
"We have a close team so it’s nice to be with your friends. And it’s been a pretty good pace so far and I think we’re lucky we’re all able to be back here."
That's been a consistent turn of phrase for members of the Bruins this offseason, and the number of players who re-upped with the club shows just how important putting on a spoked-B is to Boston's boys of winter.
"It’s pretty awesome to play in the Garden and those fans are great," said David Krejci from his familiar stall across the locker room. "The city is awesome.
"You cannot really ask for anything better than that."
But Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli has worked to keep a consistency throughout the Bruins lineup and the players say that is gratifying, too.
"We’ve been through a lot together—obviously ups and downs—and I think we’ve learned from our mistakes and we can be better," said Peverley. "I think it’ll be a challenge for everybody in this room, but we’ve got a great group of guys for it."
And Peverley thinks that when the B's hit the ice for 2012-13 they'll present a formidable challenge for the rest of the NHL.
"I feel really good. Just having that little bit of extra time [during the offseason], you know, it’s good for your conditioning, but at the same time you want to be playing," said Peverley in reference to the B's early playoff exit last spring. "So, take advantage of the time, get a little bit stronger, work on areas that you need to work on.
"I think everyone’s going to be in good shape," added Peverley. "I’m not too worried about anyone."