Next season is right around the corner

BOSTON -- The exact date for the start of the 2013-2014 Boston Bruins training camp is not set yet, but it will fall sometime in the first week of September.

With only nine weeks separating the Bruins loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and the start of next season, there's not a lot of time for players to rest and properly prepare for camp.

It's actually a couple of weeks shorter than when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. The only thing the Bruins have going for them this time around is the fact that there will be less celebrating this summer.

"Partying is a lot more fun than feeling really disappointed the last couple of days," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who added with a laugh, "We're going to win [next season] because the partying isn't too hard on us."

While the Blackhawks will enjoy the summer with the Stanley Cup, the Bruins will heal their wounds and rest their aching bodies in an attempt to regroup for another successful season.

"Well, the main concern would be the health of the players," said team president Cam Neely. "And fortunately, aside from a few guys, which you've all heard about, we weren't as banged up as you possibly could be, with the shortened season and the compressed schedule and then really the battle you go through in the playoffs. Certainly there's a strong learning curve for the guys from 2011 to this year, there won't be as much celebration during the offseason as there was in 2011, so the guys will do a really good job of resting, recovering, their therapy and obviously keeping themselves in great shape and getting into training camp. And I know our coaching staff will do a really great job during training camp and exhibition games to manage their schedules as best as possible, so we're as fresh as we can be for the regular season."

Bruins forward Milan Lucic understands now what is expected with a short summer before camp begins. He and his teammates dealt with that proverbial Stanley Cup "hangover" two seasons ago, and not everyone was prepared once the lockout ended last January.

This time around, the Bruins plan on being focused and ready for September.

"It's definitely a different feeling because two years ago we won and this year we didn't," Lucic said. "We talked about being hungry, and the focus on making yourself better is definitely there more now because you didn't win. For myself, I know I'm going to be putting a lot of time and preparation into my offseason to get myself mentally and physically ready for a full 82-game schedule with a new division. With more travel, going to every city now, your rest is real important."

Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who did not play overseas during the lockout, knows that when a team reaches the finals, the benefit of an extended break is not possible.

"They're tough to deal with because you've got to juggle with taking enough time off to recuperate and then having enough time to train for the next season. Especially with the summer being shorter than the last break, it's going to be tough to do," Marchand said. "We definitely need to sit down and focus on what our needs are this summer, whether it's rest or a little more training."

Despite all the injuries the Bruins dealt with this postseason and the fact that the puck didn't bounce their way, the idea of losing out on a chance to hoist their second Stanley Cup in a three-year span will be tough to accept in the coming months.

Still, Bruins coach Claude Julien ended the season by praising his players for the way they responded to adversity all season, even though they came up a bit short of their ultimate goal.

"You've got to give those guys a lot of credit for the way they battled," Julien said. "They're as disappointed as we are right now, and you realize that you get so many chances to accomplish what we tried to accomplish here. I think, knowing our players and what we'll have here next year, that you'll have a bunch of guys here that are going to remember how it felt, and they're going to be hungry to get another crack at it."

It won't be long before they get that chance.