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Talbot: Bruins can compete for Cup under Sweeney

by Evan Sporer /

NEW YORK -- When Don Sweeney was named general manager of the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, CEO Charlie Jacobs called it a new era in Bruins hockey during a press conference announcing the move.

Bruins forward Max Talbot knows what it's like to be on a team when a new general manager is hired. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when Ray Shero was named GM in 2006. Acquired by Boston prior to the 2015 Trade Deadline, Talbot said the Bruins are ready to compete for the Stanley Cup and it's an exciting time to be a Bruin with Sweeney at the helm.

"The situation I was in with Pittsburgh is a little different than the situation now because it was a GM from the outside," Talbot said. "Ray came and brought a totally new mentality. He rebuilt everything and he was from the outside so he really changed a lot of things.

"Now, Sweeney has been with the organization as a player and in management, so he's seen things and he knows the team. He knows the culture and stuff."

In Shero's second season as GM, the Penguins made it to the Stanley Cup Final. In his third, they won the Cup. Knowing how close the Bruins were to making the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, and knowing the Bruins are four years removed from winning the Cup, Talbot said the expectation is they will get right back to the playoffs.

"[Sweeney] knows what happened this year, and I'm sure he's going to have a vision," Talbot said. "It is always exciting. It's different when it's a new coach. It's a GM, so it's not maybe for a player as day-to-day and basic throughout the regular season, but it's exciting, and it's a new voice, a new vision, and we'll see where it goes."

Talbot said had the Bruins been able to squeak into the playoffs, they could have surprised some teams.

"I got there, and I really got a sense of hockey in the East, and the excitement around the team, and the city, and the organization" Talbot said. "Playing for an Original Six team, it's always exciting playing in a great hockey market. When I got to [Boston], I got a sense of a real veteran team.

" … It's unfortunate, and that was the disappointing part; that we missed the playoffs. But this team is going to answer back next year because they're a veteran team, they're a team that's used to winning and losing in not an option in Boston, so it's exciting for next season."

Talbot said the Bruins will need consistency in all areas of their game to get back to where they want to be, and one thing he's noticed while watching the playoffs is how much the pace of the game has sped up since he made his NHL debut in 2005.

"The game has become way faster from when I first started," Talbot said. "Every summer you're trying to get better as a professional athlete and I'm 31 years old, and I'm going to adjust the way I train a little bit.

"I used to take 15-20 pounds in the summer, get physically strong, and this and that, but this summer I feel like, 'I am strong enough, but I want to build more my speed' because I feel like the pace of the game has changed to more speed, and getting pucks deep, and using your legs to go get it."

When the 2015-16 season begins, Talbot said he's confident that under Sweeney's leadership, and with a veteran-laden roster, the Bruins will get back on track.

"It's a great situation because it's such a great locker room, and such a great team. It's a team that is mature and is there," Talbot said. "Missing the playoffs is a misstep this year, and we're ready again to win next year. It's not like we have to rebuild, so it's a good situation for sure."


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