Bruins set to start another chase of Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins President Cam Neely didn’t watch the Chicago

Blackhawks raise their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters before

their season opener.

He’s eager to begin another run at the NHL championship and

attend a similar ceremony on his team’s ice next year.

”You have a hard time watching someone else win the Cup and

raise a banner,” Neely said Wednesday. ”So I didn’t watch it.

Hopefully we’ll be watching one in the near future here.”

The Bruins came close last season.

They were leading the Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 6 of the finals

before giving up two goals in the last 76 seconds, allowing the

Chicago players to skate with the Stanley Cup on Boston ice.

On Thursday night they begin pursuit of their second Cup in four

years when they open the season at home against the Tampa Bay

Lightning.

”I guess the keynote is to say we’re not going to play for

second place,” Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said. ”We’re here to

win. I think that the organization is in a good place to do that. I

think we’ve got the right combination of things. We have a strong

team that should compete, should be a winner.”

The Bruins return a team heavy on players who’ve been a part of

the organization for two lengthy playoff runs the past three

seasons.

They did add Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson to play right wing

on the top two lines. Reilly Smith, obtained with Eriksson in a

trade that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars, figures to be

part of the third line. Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski, who both

emerged as NHL-caliber defensemen in the playoffs, will begin the

season with the team. Chad Johnson is a newcomer as the backup to

goalie Tuukka Rask.

Boston went 6-1 in exhibition games, and coach Claude Julien is

confident his team is prepared to start the season.

”I think we’re in a good place right now,” Julien said. ”I

liked what I saw the last few days. (In) practice today, guys were

sharp; they were excited. I think we’re ready to go there. Even

though we had some new faces, what I saw in the preseason I really

liked. Those guys have adjusted well quickly. And, if anything,

they’re only going to get better. So I’m pretty happy with where we

are right now, knowing that it’ll only get better.”

The Bruins already are dealing with injuries. Forward Carl

Soderberg hasn’t skated since injuring his ankle in the preseason

finale last Friday. He is on injured reserve and will be

unavailable for the season opener. Top-line center David Krejci

skated Wednesday for the first time since back spasms kept him from

playing in that same game against the Winnipeg Jets. Krejci will be

a game-time decision to face the Lightning.

The Bruins nearly won the Stanley Cup despite numerous injuries

to center Patrice Bergeron in the Cup finals and a broken leg in

the Eastern Conference finals that ended center Gregory Campbell’s

season.

”You’ve got to get the right breaks, guys got to stay healthy

and you’ve got to get those lucky bounces,” left wing Brad

Marchand said. ”And, at the same time, you’ve got to have

everybody playing their best. It’s definitely very tough to do, but

I think the fans in Boston all expect it and our management and

coaching staff expect the same thing, so that’s what we expect as

well and we won’t be happy unless we reach those goals.”