The Boston Bruins held their second annual "Town Hall" meeting for their season ticket holders last night at center ice of TD Banknorth Garden.
For those who don't know, the Town Hall meeting is a time for fans to ask their questions to the Bruins' brass and to hear the plan for the Bruins organization for the upcoming season and into the future right from the horse's mouth. Pretty bold move for a team that is fourth on the depth chart of sports in Championship New England.
On hand for the Bruins were Owner Jeremy Jacobs, General Manager Peter Chiarelli, Vice Presidents Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs, Coach Claude Julien, Captain Zdeno Chara, and Defenseman Aaron Ward.
About 1,000 people were in attendance and the questions that were asked ranged from the buyout of Glen Murray to, "What does Aaron Ward eat before games?"
What came out of it was this: Owner Jeremy Jacobs is happy with the direction the team is heading in. He is confident in his GM to put the proper players in place for Julien to field a competitive club.
The Bruins noted that since Chiarelli came on board the team went from an old organization to a young rejuvenated one. The Bruins have eight players on their roster who are under 25 years of age, which speaks to the Bruins' scouting department and the depth of talent in the organization. Keep in mind that this is also how the other New England teams won their championships.
The panel stressed all night that they are going to be a hard team to play against this season and Coach Julien is convinced that they are a better club already, heading into camp.
The Bruins had success last season, making the playoffs and going seven games with the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. The Bruins are going to use this experience to grow. They pointed to Game Six of the series, when the atmosphere in the TD Banknorth Garden was like it was when they played in the legendary Boston Garden. They are going to build off of that momentum into this season.
If anything, the playoffs last season lifted the black cloud that was hovering over the Bruins for the better part of 10 seasons.
So it looks as though the Bruins are saying all the right things and are starting to act like the championship organization that they once were. The Bruins' brass are amped to get going, the Bruins' coach is excited to get the players working. The players themselves are very optimistic about their team and know that they are going to be a tough team to play against night in and night out.
Note that, above the Bruins panel last night, the center scoreboard read, "We want it as bad as you!"
"This team and this organization earned a lot of respect last year," Julien said. "Having said that, teams are not going to take us lightly this year. So if anything, we have to be able to bring our game to the next level. When you make the playoffs, it's something to build on. But until you've won the Stanley Cup, there's always something you can improve on."