As always, a new season comes with new expectations and a few new question marks — even for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. That said, here are five storylines to keep an eye on — in no particular order — as veterans report to camp today.
1) Rookie watch
Heading into last year, most of the rookie talk was centered around No. 2 pick Tyler Seguin and how he would look heading into his rookie year.
But another central storyline was who would get one of the last roster spots with Marc Savard out until December. Those spots would ultimately be gained by forwards Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron. Caron returned to Providence before Christmas time — returned to Boston around February for a couple of pit stops — but before long, defenseman Adam McQuaid also found himself to be a regular on the Bruins’ blue-line and Steven Kampfer also saw some ice time on D.
While the majority of last year’s roster returns for the 2011-12 season, this year’s lines are far from being etched in stone. Caron, who still has rookie status after only playing in 23 games in 2010-11, could potentially be in the Bruins lineup again on opening night with a good camp, while Matt Bartkowski is another potential rookie to watch on the blueline.
2) The new additions
Although it was a light summer in terms of additions for Peter Chiarelli and company, the Bruins have added a couple of veterans for the upcoming campaign. Benoit Pouliot comes to the Black and Gold after nearly two years with the arch rival Montreal Canadiens via free agency, while Joe Corvo, after spending last season in Carolina, came via trade and will look to help improve the abysmal Bruins power play from last year.
It is always interesting to see how the new veterans adjust to a new home, as was the case with Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell coming over from Florida last year. With Pouliot on the other side of the rivalry and Corvo coming from Carolina, this will be no different.
3) Handling the Cup hangover
This will obviously be talked about more and more during the regular season — depending on where the Bruins are in the standings — but it is also something to talk about during Training Camp too. The Bruins obviously have a huge target on their back after winning the Cup last year. Question is, whether or not it will effect them.
4) The third assistant captain
Zdeno Chara will still wear the ‘C’ and Patrice Bergeron will still be an assistant captain for 2011-12, but with Mark Recchi leaving his ‘A’ behind to retirement, the question is who will take his spot. Andrew Ference could be a logistical choice as could Horton, Campbell, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly, Shawn Thornton or even Rich Peverley, just to name a few.
5) The inter-squad scrimmage
With 53 players entering camp this year, the roster is divided into two groups — A and B. Both squads will take part in the intersquad scrimmage Tuesday night in Providence. This will be a good opportunity for youngsters like Caron, Kampfer, Bartkowski and to a lesser extent Seguin to prove themselves while veterans such as Chris Clark — invited on a tryout — will look to use this as an opportunity to try to crack the Bruins’ lineup.