BOSTON — The champs are here.
While WWE superstar John Cena might overuse that reference, the same holds true for the Bruins as they begin their defense of Lord’s Stanley for the 2011-12 season.
On Friday, Bruins veterans reported to training camp for off-ice testing before they hit the ice for the first practice of the season Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the TD Garden. And its safe to say that they are eager to put last year behind already — even before they raise the banner on opening night — and focus on defending their title.
This year, they have a huge target on their backs as the defending champions.
And unlike the previous 12 champions, the Black and Gold are hoping they don’t suffer the same fate of the Stanley Cup hangover.
“The famous ‘Stanley Cup hangover’ talk is there,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We’re not different from anyone else. Teams are going to bring their best against you every night and we understand that part of it. We’re going to get ourselves ready [for the challenge] and respond properly.”
Although many players thoroughly enjoyed their summer of Stanley, they are doing their best to try to avoid the hangover during the off-season.
Forward Patrice Bergeron felt that his day with the Cup helped ease things a little bit.
“At some point you have to turn the page,” he said. “Honestly I felt like the day with the Cup helped me a lot in doing that. It was nice to share the Cup with my family and friends in doing that. But after that I felt like I needed to turn my focus on this year [and defending the Cup].”
Make no mistake, the Cup hangover is acknowledged from players and coaches alike in the organization. But at no point in the season will they use this as an excuse when they know they have that huge target on their backs.
Second year forward Tyler Seguin — who hopes to improve on his 22-point rookie season — believes his team has a great chance at repeating.
“Word being whispered around here is repeat,” said Seguin, who gained 10 pounds during the off-season. “I think we have the team to do it. There is the Cup hangover everyone talks about and we want to fight through it.”