BOSTON -- Up to 1,000 fans were allowed into TD Garden following the Bruins practice Tuesday morning to send the team off to Chicago in what resembled a college hockey or football pep rally.
"It is quite similar to some of the things I'd see at Michigan State," rookie defenseman and former Michigan State star Torey Krug said before boarding the team bus to the airport. "Before the season we'd hold big pep rallies and we'd assemble in big groups and talk to incoming freshmen. It does take me back a bit, and to see the fans here is awesome because this is an even bigger scale."
Winger Brad Marchand was also impressed with the turnout and pumped to get things going against the Blackhawks in Chicago, where the Stanley Cup finals will begin on Wednesday night.
"It's awesome!" Marchand said. "I wasn't really expecting this many people, but this is great and it gets you excited to get out there and get things going."
Marchand is expecting another raucous atmosphere at the United Center, which is known as "The Madhouse On Madison."
"They've got a great crowd," Marchand said of the Blackhawks' fans. "Their rink holds a ton of people and it's going to be a great atmosphere to play in."
Marchand said the Bruins will draw from their experience at the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, despite the fact that there are different circumstances.
"Different team, different rink and different situation," Marchand said. "But hopefully we can keep the same mentality and be a good road team. I think we can take things from that but realize the different situations. We were down 2-0 so hopefully that doesn't happen, but we gotta prepare for the worst and realize what's going to be happening when we get out there. But yeah, it's a completely different year and completely different team and hopefully it goes in our favor."