Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/13/13
Day One is in the books for the 2013-14 Boston Bruins and the new faces have passed their first Black and Gold initiation test. It didn’t involve a pop quiz about the dearly departed Pooh Bear jerseys or Claude Julien’s favorite brand of coffee. It was the easiest one of course. It involved 300 meter shuttle runs and conditioning tests on an exercise bike and then convincing the assembled media they are damned glad to be in Boston. There will be hairier tests that will push the leadership toughness and commitment of Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson but both individuals have proven in the past that they’re up to those kinds of challenges. “It’s actually a privilege and an honor to have these guys. They’re experienced. They’re great players and great personalities. We’re all looking forward to getting to know them better” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara acting as the Black and Gold welcoming committee. “Having players of that caliber can always help spread the leadership in the room and that’s always been the case. "This is not a one-man show. We’ve always treated this as a leadership group and always made decisions together. Then those decisions are stronger and more direct. To have players that have already served [as a team captain] and are leaders can only help.” Bringing the 27-year-old Eriksson and 36-year-old Iginla into the Bruins fold may take some transition time but they should be perfect fits. The B’s weren’t on the ice Wednesday morning but they announced their practice groups including Eriksson in with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand and Iginla in with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. The Swedish import by way of Dallas will slide into Tyler Seguin’s spot alongside Bergeron and Marchand and his heady two-way style of play should be a perfect compliment to Boston’s dynamic duo. Similarly Iginla is a big strong skilled right wing with a deadly shot that boasts many of the same qualities as Nathan Horton did for three years in Boston but the future Hall of Famer brings them in a much more consistent package. That’s actually the name of the game in the acquisitions of both Iginla and Eriksson: consistency. Whereas Horton would disappear for long stretches during the regular season despite his playoff feats of strength Iginla has posted 30-plus goals in each of his last 12 full regular seasons. Seguin was fast skilled and explosive but never put it all together like the Bruins expected from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Eriksson isn’t flashy and won’t wow anybody with his physical skills but he plays a smart productive and consistently mature brand of hockey. There won’t be long learning curves for either Iginla or Eriksson and that’s exactly what the Bruins are looking for with the 3-4 years of elite play they can squeeze out of Zdeno Chara. Those 3-4 years represent the window the Bruins organization has to compete for Stanley Cups before they need to reshuffle the decks so making moves to compete in the short term is exactly what Boston needed to accomplish. “We’re going to have to prove it again” said Chara when asked if he thinks the Bruins can improve on a season that saw them fall just two wins short of another Stanley Cup. “It’s not going to be said before the season starts ‘Okay the Boston Bruins are going to be in the Stanley Cup Final again.’ We’re going to have to prove it and we’re going to have to deserve it.” Beyond the on-ice qualities of both players the leadership component is another underrated aspect to Iginla’s addition to the Bruins.
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