BOSTON - They don't hand out byes to the defending champions.
Nor do they give any other advantages to the Boston Bruins just because they hoisted the Stanley Cup 10 months ago.
Aside from a memorable parade, a glitzy ring and the fact their names have been chiselled into Hockey's Holy Grail for all to see, the Bruins' title march last spring means absolutely nothing this time around.
And the Boston players know it.
"Everyone is back at zero," Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron told reporters after the team's morning skate Thursday. "It's all about Game 1 now.
"We need to focus on that, and not about what's in the past."
That's especially true for young Tyler Seguin, who is not interested in the ancient history that was the 2011 playoffs.
Instead, the 20-year-old plans on writing his own when the Bruins and Washington Capitals face off in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference matchup Thursday night at the TD Garden, a clash which marks Boston's official defence of its title.
Selected second overall in the 2010 draft with one of the picks acquired from Toronto in the Phil Kessel deal, Seguin was up and down like a yo-yo between the press box and the lineup during Boston's march to the Cup.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was not shy about showing Seguin some tough love, attempting to set the table for the kid from Brampton, Ont., to learn to be as responsible in his own end as he was in the offensive zone.
This time it's different. This time Seguin, coming off a 67-point season, is a top-six forward who is seen as a key cog in Boston's attempt to repeat.
"There's no thought of, 'Maybe I won't even play tonight,' " Seguin said.
"It's a night and day difference. That whole ride that we went on and seeing everything that I saw both on the ice and off the ice makes me a lot more comfortable."
Meanwhile Julien confirmed that defenceman Adam McQuaid would not be in the lineup for the opener. McQuaid injured his left eye after absorbing a hit by Caps forward Jason Chimera on March 29.