Acquired by Boston at the trade deadline in March from Colorado, the veteran was immediately thrust into a race for the playoffs.
“Last year was kind of quick, you know, 18 games that you come in here and it’s a playoff rush and playoff race and everything is a little hectic,” Talbot said following the final informal practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday before the start of training camp on Sept. 17.
“I’m happy to be here now — kind of like a white page in front of me, I can write my own story with the Bruins and kind of start fresh, learning to know the guys a little better, the room, the prospects, the staff, so it’s exciting for me right now.”
Talbot didn’t have much time to carve out a solid role for himself last season or even settle into the city, but he certainly made an impact in the room amid a tense time of year.
His personality and constant chatter keep the atmosphere light, and his work ethic keeps those around him focused and motivated.
“I got in here in the middle of the race and everybody in this dressing room’s common goal was to make the playoffs,” Talbot said. “And unfortunately we weren’t able to do so, but this room is great, you know. Everybody is very welcoming.”
“I feel we’ve got kind of an ‘old soul’ locker room here. It’s a locker room that won before and that is still very hungry to win it again.”
“So guys are hungry this year, too. You know, still disappointed from last year — we still have that in the back of our mind — and we’re ready to go.”
When Talbot arrived to Boston, he brought with him 648 games of NHL experience and 84 playoff games. He also brought the experience of his 2009 Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh — and scoring the Cup-winning goal in Game 7 against Detroit.
He knows what it takes to get to the postseason.
The Bruins fell just shy last season, as their 96 points in any other year would have catapulted them into the playoffs. But with five months now having passed, the focus isn’t so much on missing the mark last season — it’s on making sure that they don't miss the mark again.
“You don’t want to put yourself in that situation, where you’re in a middle of a race with a couple other teams and it’s a tough situation to be in," said Talbot. "So I think this year we learned from last year’s experience and we’ll try to put ourselves in a better position, so that in March and April we’re in the playoffs.”
In the 18 games played in Black and Gold, Talbot mostly played a bottom-six role, but was also utilized by Head Coach Claude Julien in trustworthy, defensive situations. He notched his first point as a Bruin by assisting on a Brad Marchand overtime-winner.
The Bruins’ 2015-16 roster around the core of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci will be fairly different than what Talbot came into last season.
The offseason changes and uncertainty of line combinations have Talbot excited for the camp competition and seeing where he is going to fit in.
“Yeah, a lot of depth, too, I think we’ve got a lot of depth on forward up front and it’s always good,” he said. “There’s a couple of different [directions] we could go in and I think it’s exciting for everybody. There’s nothing set in stone and guys will kind of go on the ice and fight for their spots and that creates some healthy competition for all of the lines, I’m sure.”
Entering his 11th NHL season, Talbot has taken part in his share of training camps. On Wednesday, he took a moment to reflect back on his first rookie camp, passing the puck with Mario Lemieux. He eventually made his mark in Pittsburgh with the Penguins, and will be hoping to do the same with the Bruins.
After three seasons in Philadelphia and Colorado, he’s excited that he ended up in Boston, where he can already feel the new-season hype around the city.
“It’s something that I love, playing in a big market,” said Talbot. “Kind of missed it a little bit in Colorado - kind of a little bit smoother, which is not bad, it was a great situation to play in - but I missed the little bit of the hype and excitement and you know, the 40 media after the games that actually watch every little thing you did on the ice and you kind of go back home and think about it, and you want to make a difference, too.”
“You want to be on the ice and playing your heart out for your team.”
Talbot thoroughly enjoys the spotlight on the team. Interviews come easily to him (in fact, when Talbot’s media availability on Wednesday began, he greeted reporters with, “What’s up guys? I missed you.”) and he doesn’t shy away from the attention on the Spoked-B.
“You do enjoy it. You enjoy the hype about it - you enjoy walking around the downtown area in Boston and people just recognizing you and saying, ‘Let’s Go Bruins!’" he said. "So it’s fun and you’re proud to wear an Original Six jersey as well and be wearing the ‘B,’ so it’s definitely something that is cool to be a part of.”