With day two of training camp underway, it is clear that the Bruins most recent acquisitions are fitting in just fine in Boston. Jarome Iginla has brought his dedication and his natural leadership skills to the team. Loui Eriksson has brought a quiet aura of excellence. They already fit into the drills as if they wore the Black and Gold for years. They’ve made a serious impression on the Bruins ‘old-guard’, and that only helps push the Bruins towards another great season.
“It’s actually a privilege and an honor to have these guys. They’re experienced. They’re great players and great personalities. We’re all looking forward to getting to know them better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Having players of that caliber can always help spread the leadership in the room, and that’s always been the case. This is not a one-man show. We’ve always treated this as a leadership group, and always made decisions together. Then those decisions are stronger, and more direct. To have players that have already served [as a team captain] and are leaders can only help.”
Coach Claude Julien feels the same way. “I say it often, ‘you don’t need a letter to be a leader.’ There are a lot more leaders in that locker room than you see with letters on their jerseys,” said Claude Julien. “When it comes time to meeting with players as a core group, there are more than just a captain and three assistants, which we had last year.”
“There are a lot more than that. The same goes for, as you said, Loui [Eriksson], and obviously Iggy [Jarome Iginla] being a captain for so many years. I’m sure when you get to a certain stage in your career, you don’t really care about that. It might excite certain players; other players don’t care. It doesn’t stop them from doing their jobs.”
Even with Iginla’s leadership presence, I can’t see them throwing the ‘A’ on his jersey right off the bat. That also applies for Eriksson. If I had my way, I’d give the ‘A’ to a proven Bruins leader like Shawn Thornton. (If you’re not a fan of giving a letter to a player that doesn’t play enough minutes, then please accept Johnny Boychuk as a perfectly decent substitute.)
In the end the Bruins gave up two players who had an awful lot of peaks and valleys these last few seasons. Don’t get me wrong, Horton became the Bostonian word for ‘clutch’, and when Seguin was on his ‘A’ game, that kid could dance with the puck. There was just either a series of injuries(Horton), or a lack of consistency (Seguin) that hampered their performance. In exchange for those players, the Boston Bruins gained two consistent scorers with a strong work ethic. It’s clear that the Bruins going into this seasons got themselves some serious upgrades.
Even with these upgrades to the team, the Bruins will have to make a case for their right to be in the playoffs. “We’re going to have to prove it again,” referred Chara to their past Stanley Cup win and their second trip to the Finals in three years. “It’s not going to be said before the season starts, ‘Okay, the Boston Bruins are going to be in the Stanley Cup Final again.’ We’re going to have to prove it, and we’re going to have to deserve it.