Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be taking over the Bruins diary this year from his teammate Milan Lucic. Coming off a strong postseason, Johnny signed a two year contract this offseason to remain with the Bruins. Here the avid Red Sox fan talks about what to expect this season after a disappointing end to last year, his initial impression of rookie Tyler Seguin and what keeps him motivated. (as told to Louise K. Cornetta)
The way we lost in the playoffs [to the Philadelphia Flyers] was disappointing. To be up 3-0 [in the series and in the first period of Game 7], it was a tough ending. I thought about it at least once a week. The loss kind of sticks with you. I felt good about the way I played but I wasn't really concerned about that. I know I tried to leave it all out there on the ice. But now we look to this season and I can tell you this team will be all about excitement and fun. The same goes for what I expect of myself, to be fun and exciting! I want to keep playing this year the way I ended off last year. I hope I don't miss a beat.
We're going to be awesome this year. We're going to be great. We have some new faces and some younger guys on this team. There is a lot of enthusiasm around this team. It's fun to be here when there is a lot of excitement going around the dressing room. Tyler Seguin [No. 2 overall pick in the recent draft] is one of the new faces. I've seen him on the ice. He looks like he can make some plays and score and any team needs that.
So what did I do this summer? Well, I did try and enjoy summer. One of the things I did is I went on vacation. I went to Atlantis with Milan Lucic. Another thing I did was bought a house. I also golfed a lot. I made sure to stay in shape by working out every day. Well, okay, not every day, but five times a week and I skated probably two times a week.
Something else that happened this summer was I got a new contract [two year deal]. The Bruins contacted my agent and we talked for a week or two. Then we met in the middle. It was actually pretty easy and pretty nice to have that little bit of security but it's not too secure yet. I still need to make the team and work as hard as possible. I'm not taken it as a given that I'm making this team. Anybody can take a spot from you at any time. You've just got to be ready. That's the business -- anybody can take your spot just like that. It absolutely helps motivate me. I've been trying to break into this league for a long time. I know how hard it is to get here. I don't want anybody to take it away from me.
I know what life in the minors is like. The biggest difference between life there and here is flying instead of busing everywhere. Also, the pregame meals are a tiny bit better here -- by that I mean a lot better! Longest bus ride I ever took was when I traveled from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to Portland, Oregon, which was a twenty hour trip. What we did to occupy the time is we had a poker game going in the back. We had a roulette table as well in the back. It was like a little casino going on back there. We didn't bet much, but it helped pass the time. We watched movies. We slept at nighttime until the sun came up. It was more like you tried to sleep. When I was a rookie, I had to sleep underneath the seats. As you can imagine, that wasn't very comfortable.
It's not all bad in the minors. I won the Eddie Shore Award for the 2008-09 season. For those that don't know, it's for being the top defenseman in the minor leagues. It actually meant a lot to me. I had been playing in the minors for quite a while and I saw the previous winners and the kind of players they were. At the beginning of the year, it was a goal for me to be a contender for that award, because I knew it was in me. When I got it, that meant I reached an accomplishment.
Since we're talking about defensemen, I got a chance to catch up recently with Hall of Famer Ray Bourque at a golf tournament. He's someone I've met a few times. This time he was congratulating me on the new contract. Then it was mostly chit-chat, like what I did this summer. Any time you can get any type of advice or be able to talk to someone who played at his caliber, it's always good day.
We open the season in Prague, Czech Republic. It's going to be nice to go over there and see Ireland and Prague. I've been to Slovakia once when I was in the Junior Leagues. It's a beautiful place and I can't wait to see it and go and play there. While I'm over there I'll try and take some picture to share with you the next time.
So what do you need to know about me? I'd say I'm the guy that's always smiling in the dressing room. That's my personality on the team. I don't have a nickname or anything, not really. If you think of something good, let me know. I like to play Xbox a lot. My favorite game is Modern Warfare 2. I love to play golf. I'm not very good at it, but it's improving. I've played the guitar since I was eight. I play acoustic guitar. Whatever I want to learn, I just learn it, doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. I guess I'm a mixture of a bunch of stuff.