Defenseman Joe Corvo admittedly was a bit anxious after being traded to the Boston Bruins from Carolina in July, as he was coming into a dressing room that hadn't experienced much turnover and obviously was a tight-knit group, having won the Stanley Cup.
But captain Zdeno Chara made sure Corvo knew he was now a Bruin.
"The first day I met him and before training camp even started, he told me the Bruins tried to get me at the trade deadline last season and he was sorry they didn't," Corvo said recently. "But he said, we're going to do everything we can to get you a Stanley Cup. So him saying that to me means a lot. It says a lot about his character and all the guys in the room. Everybody is pulling in the right direction and on the same level. We're a team."
Corvo immediately fit into the Bruins dressing room, a place where, new teammate Andrew Ference has pointed out numerous times, everyone can be themselves. Like Ference, Corvo is covered in tattoos, but his fellow tattoo connoisseur wasn't the only one who welcomed Corvo with open arms.
"The greatest thing about this dressing room is that everyone appreciates each guy for who they are and allows them to be who they are," Ference said. "We let him [Corvo] know right away that he was welcome here and he has just as much say as the next guy even if he is the new guy."
Corvo has felt welcomed since he arrived and after being in some less-than-desirable situations with his previous teams, he again is enjoying coming to the rink each day.
"The guys are close and they're loose because they just won a championship," Corvo said. "So there's not that intense atmosphere and guys are having fun. I've been on teams where it's not like that. It's not stressful here though and this is the perfect situation for me to be in because it's just a new situation with a great opportunity. I feel like it's a perfect fit."
The Bruins feel like Corvo is not only a perfect fit for the power play, where he scored five of his 11 goals for Carolina last season, but also a perfect fit in their overall system. Corvo came into the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings in the 2002-03 season as a high-flying, offensive-minded defenseman. But after nine seasons and stops in Ottawa, Carolina, Washington and Carolina again, he has rounded into a solid two-way defenseman, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien.
"I think Joe is one of those guys that I find has gotten better with experience. He's really toned down his game a little bit and knows his strengths and weaknesses," Julien said. "I think he plays within his strengths. He skates well, he moves the puck well, he'll carry it when he has to carry it, he competes hard, he's a battler, he's got a great shot and he'll help our power play.
"There's not much for us to complain about this guy. He's got the right attitude and I think that with time he's going to fit in even better. I like the way he's blended in, not just on but also off the ice. We feel comfortable with him."
While Corvo will be expected to contribute when the Bruins are at even-strength, he knows what his bread and butter is -- and one of the main reasons he's in Boston. But Corvo can't make the power play click by himself, and in his mind he doesn't have to. He said the Bruins have plenty of the necessary skill for a successful power play. The key is keeping it simple.
"I had the same role and for most of the season, we were up there in most goals scored on power play," Corvo said of the Hurricanes last season. "There's not a whole heck of a lot of things you can do on the power play. It's pretty cut and dry. It's basically how much skill you're bringing into the equation. I think here there's a tremendous amount of skill and the sky is the limit in terms of how successful we can be.
"Sometimes when guys feel like they have a certain amount of talent on the power play they feel like they can finesse it into the net and be cute every time. But that's not the case. You just have to have that simple mentality going into it every time. First and foremost, you better shoot and things happen from there."
One of the criticisms of Tomas Kaberle, who bolted to Carolina via free agency and whom Corvo essentially is replacing on the blue line, was that Kaberle didn't shoot enough. That won't be a problem with Corvo.
"My goal first and foremost is to try and get to the middle as quick as possible and then make reads as to what opens up from there," Corvo said. "If it's a shot, then I'll take it; if it's a pass, I make the pass."
With the regular season set to begin Thursday night, Corvo is ready to let them fly from the blue line and help the Bruins defend the Cup.
"I really can't wait to get out there and play for real," Corvo said. "I'm really excited to be part of such a skilled team and a great bunch of guys. This is going to be a lot of fun."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.