Bruins trying to avoid unavoidable 'Cup hangover'

Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson and Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas react after...

Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson and Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas react after Senators defenseman David Rundblad scored in the third period of their NHL pre-season hockey game in Boston, Massachusetts September 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:43 PM ET

BOSTON - The new sign hangs over the door leading to the ice from the Boston Bruins dressing room.

"Demolish the bridges behind you ... then there is no choice but to build again."

No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champion since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings, each having fallen short in the quest for a Cup defence, all victimized by what is generally characterized as "the Stanley Cup hangover."

The Bruins didn't win a Cup without being prepared. They won't win two in a row without being prepared.

General manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien spent a portion of their busy summer talking to other Cup-winning managers and coaches about what they experienced with "The Hangover."

"Whether they're managers, coaches or players, the common denominator is that it shows itself in some shape or form like a level or period of fatigue, physical or mental fatigue. So we've done a number of things and we will do a number of things to try and address those things when we see them and we identify them," said Chiarelli.

"But it's unavoidable is what I'm told. I hate harping on it because sometimes I think it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy but all the people I've talked to have said that it does show itself up in some shape or form. We've had discussions amongst the group and we're just going to have to be on top of it."

It was a short summer for the Bruins, but long on celebrations.

"If you go to a party and stay until four, or for two or three days, after a while you get tired of it, right?" said Julien in the wake of the Bruins' 2-1 loss to the Flyers. "The bottles of champagne are empty, so it's time to go home. I think that's how we feel right now. We've had a great time with it this summer, we've had some great experiences, but basically we would like to re-do this and we know there's a lot of work ... we need to turn the page."

Making life difficult for the champs is the fact they are champs. They've made enemies.

The Bruins made a move to demolish the bridges between this and last season, to get some closure, with their banner-raising ceremony Thursday before their game with the Philadelphia Flyers, who they eliminated last spring in the second round.

No matter what you do, an opponent is going to take it, bend it and use it to their own purposes.

Such was the case Thursday night.

Such will be the case in more than a few nights to come.

Since they won the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, the Bruins decided to have the players skate out onto the ice as part of the banner-raising ceremony and heft the Cup for the fans.

The Flyers didn't particularly like that move -- without wanting to be quoted, a couple thought it was over the top -- and star forward Claude Giroux, the feeling of getting swept by the Bruins last spring still obviously fresh, said: "Coming to a game here, especially the first game of the season when they are raising the banner, it's a slap in the face and it's motivation for a little payback even though it's the first game of the season."

That's the type of thing the Bruins are going to be up against all season.

Now here come the Tampa Bay Lightning for a meeting with the Bruins Saturday night. The Bruins beat the Bolts in seven games last spring to advance to the final, so the Lightning will be up for this one, too.

The Bruins can't build those new bridges fast enough.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


Videos

Photos