BOSTON, MA –
Not even the sun at South Beach in Miami was as hot as Zdeno Chara
’s 108.8 MPH slap shot in the hardest shot competition.
But while Chara, Tyler Seguin
and Tim Thomas
and the Bruins coaching staff was soaking up the fun, the rest of the Black & Gold kicked back for five days.
Left wing Milan Lucic
visited Florida, while center Patrice Bergeron
relaxed in Lake Placid – home of the 1980 Miracle on Ice – and enjoyed some pond skating.
Forward Brad Marchand
even took some time to hang out with Mickey Mouse in Disney World, but as Monday approached the team was ready to get back in action.
“It’s been a tough season so far and it’s only going to get tougher from here on in,” Lucic said. “If you look at our schedule with all the games coming up in February and March, it was nice to have those days off to kind of relax and unwind and get your mind off hockey. But at the end of it, you can’t wait to get back and that was enough time to get that rest.”
Despite the Bruins going 21-3-1 through November and December, it was clear that towards the end of the first half the B’s weren’t playing their best hockey.
The complete, 60-minute effort was sometimes absent, and the crisp execution was left somewhere at the TD Garden after a 9-0 win over Calgary Jan. 5 as the B's had a tough mid-January road trip.
But after the break, the Black & Gold are refreshed and ready to get back to their style of play.
“I don’t think we should look at it as pressure, I think we always want to be at our best and we want to get back on track obviously,” Bergeron said. “And hopefully the five days have been good for us and we can start right at it [Tuesday] night. Especially at home, we’re not going to be home often this month so we have to make sure we do the job.”
The B’s have built themselves on living in the moment, but it’s hard to ignore the 11-day, six game road trip that’s set for the mid-February.
Last year the team had a similar trip where they visited Canada and picked up wins against Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.
“We did a nice job going out there, again that’s when those new guys came in – [Tomas] Kaberle, [Rich] Peverley and [Chris] Kelly and it gave our team a chance to bond and build some more chemistry with those new guys,” Head Coach Claude Julien said.
“It was a really good time for us to be on that kind of trip. So hopefully the same thing happens as last year and we have this long road trip at the right time, more or less to prepare themselves for that long stretch in March and hopefully again many months to follow that.”
But now, the focus is on the Ottawa Senators and Marchand said he feels his team is ready for a good game, despite the rough stretch before the break.
“It’s a little frustrating when you’re not playing you’re best and you know you can be better, but that’s how hockey goes,” Marchand said. “You’re not going to be your best every night and you know that.
“We have to use [the rest] to our advantage and everyone looks like they rested up well. The guys were still sharp [Monday] when we got back so we have to make sure we have a good game [tonight]."--- Anthony Gulizia