SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Ken Casey, songwriter, vocalist and bass player for the Dropkick Murphys, has been busy preparing for the release of his band's latest album on Friday. But he still keeps pretty close tabs on his Boston Bruins.
"I've been to five or six games so far, but normally it is 15 or 16 by now," Casey said in a late-December visit to the NHL Network Studios to promote "11 Short Stories of Glory and Pain," the ninth album by Dropkick Murphys, out on Born & Bred Records.
Casey, a lifelong resident of the Boston area, acknowledges that the Bruins, a team for which he has season tickets, are a bit of a work in progress. But he sees a bright future if things go according to plan.
"It's definitely a little different," he says of the Bruins, who have gotten younger and faster in the past couple of seasons. "On an individual level, some of the talent I like in a 'whoa-this-kid-is-good' way. [David] Pastrnak turning into a legit kind of superstar, if you ask me, is fun to watch. It's great to see [Patrice] Bergeron and [Brad] Marchand finally get the credit they deserve this summer with how the World Cup went [for Team Canada]. Tuukka [Rask] is hot, but our old guys are getting older and our young guys, other than Pastrnak, aren't there yet. I like [David] Backes, but I don't think we win the Stanley Cup without a few other pieces to the puzzle."
Video: Bassist, singer and songwriter Ken Casey on the show
Pastrnak, 20, leads the Bruins with 19 goals. Marchand and Bergeron played key roles as first-line members of Team Canada that won the championship at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in September. Marchand, 28, has a team-high 31 points. Backes, 32, was signed as a free agent this summer and has 19 points in 33 games. He has been out with a concussion since Dec. 29.
"I still enjoy watching the product," Casey said. "You are trying to be a faster, more dynamic team that scores goals and get away from the traditional Bruins banging style, and if you are going to do that, you have to put the puck in the net. Having said that I do thoroughly enjoy watching the team. Watching [Brandon] Carlo play with [Zdeno] Chara, it feels like you are looking at a young version of [Chara] sometimes."
Carlo, a 20-year-old defenseman, is in his first year with the Bruins and plays 21:58 a night, second only to the 23:16 of the 39-year-old Chara, his oft-times partner.
The Bruins are 20-16-4, third in the Atlantic Division.
Casey will have to follow the Bruins from afar with a European tour starting Jan. 20 and running through Feb. 11. The Dropkick Murphys will be on tour with Slap Shot, another punk band out of Boston with some serious hockey cred.
Video: Ken Casey answers one timers on NHL Now
Casey is OK with following the team on the internet for more than three weeks because of the opportunity to play the new songs to old fans. He said the band worked hard on the new album and tried a new recording routine, leaving Boston for the first time to do an album, during the three weeks of day-to-day work on the album to get a different sound that he thinks is even more focused.
"I think we pride ourselves on the fact that you know what you can expect from the Dropkick Murphys, but we went away for the first time ever and recorded it; in El Paso, Texas," Casey said. "I don't know, I feel like there is some kind of more fierceness, more focus. There's something that happens when after a 12-hour day, you're not going, 'OK, see you guys tomorrow.' No, you are going to dinner and talking about what you did and then you are going to go back after dinner and work on it more. You can't help but go to a different level."
He's excited to see how it is received.
"That's the payoff for me, what makes it all worthwhile, when there is that frenzy for new music," he said. "We still have people calling for new music, so we are very lucky."