BOSTON – In any circumstance, an opening night loss usually takes place due to teams being a step slow and a bit out of rhythm to start the season.
While that circumstance could have easily been used for the Bruins in their 2-1 loss to the Flyers on banner night at the TD Garden Thursday, the bigger result came with the opening ceremonies with the banner being raised and the other glamour that went along with it.
“I think as much of a challenge as it was, I still thought we came out fine in the first 10 minutes,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. “Somehow we kind of lost our step.”
The Bruins are certainly disappointed with the result from Thursday. But that didn’t mean that they did not appreciate the pregame festivities.
“I thought it was great,” Julien said. “It was well done and we felt that it was a nice touch to end the year.”
During the ceremony, all of last year’s squad, with the exception of new defenseman Joe Corvo – acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes during the summer – skated with the Stanley Cup one last time, and Mark Recchi was honored with the same jacket the Bruins passed around last year by Andrew Ference, who replaced Rex as one of the assistant captains for the upcoming year.
And obviously, the banner was raised by the 1972 championship squad, which included the likes of Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheevers and Johnny Bucyk, just to name a few.
“Everything was special,” Ference said about the pre-game festivities. “It’s part of our sports history here in Boston, and to put a close to last year was just a real honor.”
“It was a great ceremony before the game, but it was a tough finish tonight,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who scored the team’s only goal on the power play at 9:42 of the first period. “I thought we had a good start to the game with the first goal there, but we kind of let our guard down a little bit and lost our focus. We just have to bounce back from this and regroup.”
Now that all the festivities have finished, the Bruins can officially put last year’s season behind and move on to the next 81 games of the 2011-12 regular season.
“It was just a matter of time before this was all going to happen,” said Chara. “We did that and now we’re moving on.”
With Tampa Bay in town on Saturday night – a rematch from the conference finals five months ago – the Bruins have a formidable opponent waiting to get a little revenge after falling in seven last year.
And the Bruins know this is only part of the difficult road if they want to repeat.
“We won the Stanley Cup, but that doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen now,” said goalie Tim Thomas, who made 27 saves in the losing effort. “We know the stuff, but we have a night like tonight and hopefully you learn from it and get back on track. We need to get in the win column.”