Marchand diary: On offseason, expectations for 2011-12 and more

Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand will be keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his first entry, Brad talks about his favorite memories since winning the Stanley Cup, what his expectations are for his second full season, and explains what went wrong with his Stanley Cup tattoo. -- As told to Louise K. Cornetta

A year ago, I came in to Bruins camp and had no idea if I was even going to be on the team. I was very nervous about training camp. Every day was a battle. I was battling just to make the team, the 13-man roster [at forward], just to be that extra guy. It's a completely different situation for me right now. It's also nice not to be one of the rookies on this team anymore. As a rookie you have to do stuff like pick up the pucks after practice, be the last one off the plane, last ones on the plane, pay for dinner and stuff like that. Tyler [Seguin] and I had to do a lot of that all last season. He and I are very close. We get along very well. He's a lot of fun to be around. We're a couple of young guys who clicked early on, especially being rookies last year together. We have a lot of fun together. I think he's a great kid.

It's awesome to be back on the ice and playing some preseason games. I love getting back here, the start to the season, the feeling you get when you're back in your first game. You're always very excited. Friday against the Islanders felt just like the playoffs again. I was very happy. I had a goal, which is always nice to get a few points early in the preseason. It helps get your confidence up. It felt good and hopefully they keep coming. I played on a line with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and [Rich] Peverley. It's awesome playing with them. I love playing with Bergy. We play very well together and just seem to find each other on the ice. Pev's fit in great. He seems to complement us really well and vice versa. It was a lot of fun and we had great chemistry Friday night.

It was good to see Z [Zdeno Chara] back out there after he hurt his knee. [Editor’s note: Chara was hit in the knee with a puck during practice earlier in the week]. He's huge for us. He's our captain, our leader. When he's on the ice, we all follow him. Same goes in the dressing room, he's our leader. It was a little nerve-wracking when he went off the ice there. But he's fine now and we're happy to have him out there. Another guy who is about ready to be back is Horty [Nathan Horton]. What happened to him with his concussion [during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals] was very disturbing. We were obviously very worried about what happened to him in the playoffs. He's been practicing with us and seems great. I think we're being very cautious right now just to make sure he has that little extra time. But he looks great and he's looking very good on the ice. I'm very happy that everything is going good with him.

We have some new rules with no boarding and no hits to the head. I think having these new rules just makes guys more aware. If making dangerous hits results in big suspensions, then that's just another reason you don't want that to happen. You want to give yourself the best opportunity to play and be in the games. You have to kind of watch what you do a little more now. But I definitely think these are great rules to put into place.

I can't do this first diary without mentioning winning the Stanley Cup. The biggest memory I have of winning the Cup is the last minute of Game 7. I was on the bench and everyone was celebrating. We knew we were going to win. We had it in the bag. We were running back and forth, giving each other hugs and hugging the trainers and coaches. The excitement on the guys' faces counting down the last minute was unbelievable. A lot of people who know hockey know these are the hardest playoff series to go through of any sport. It is so grueling on the body and the mind. It's two months of just battling day in and day out. Guys are injured. People don't realize guys are willing to sacrifice their bodies and the pain they're willing to go through just to have that opportunity to win. It's crazy. It really takes a toll on your body, but it's definitely worth it in the end.

People say I had a good playoffs. I don't know how I was able to lift my game. Playoff time, I just love it so much. It's when you want to play. It's when you want to be on the ice, especially playing for the Stanley Cup. It's what we wanted our whole lives. It's what we've always dreamed about. Having that opportunity, you're willing to have to do anything to win. It got to me and I was excited to play every game.

After we won, we obviously went a little excessive the first couple of weeks. That's all it was though, a week or two of fun. Now it's time to get back to business. We accomplished our dream and our lifelong goal. We went a little overboard. We'll know better for next time. One of my favorite memories after we won was Cup day in Boston was pretty amazing. I was in awe when we were on the parade and I saw the amount of people who came out. That was unbelievable. It's kind of weird now how much the media has followed our every move since we won. It's a little frustrating at times. People seem to want to try and knock you down after you have the opportunity to win and become successful. I guess that's how it goes and you have to watch what you do a little more.

The fans of Boston are unbelievable. Everywhere we go, they're so happy and proud of us. They let us know how much our winning the Stanley Cup means to them. A lot of people come up to me and say they can now die happy because we won. It shows how much people have been waiting for this moment. It's pretty special being around here right now. The best fan encounter I've had since winning just happened the other day. I thought this was funny. A pregnant woman came up to me. She had this Bruins shirt she had been wearing for two weeks trying to get all of the guys to sign it. I thought that was pretty cool. She was like eight months pregnant.

Let me clear something up. After we won, a bunch of us got tattoos here in the dressing room of the Garden. Mine originally was misspelled. Instead of saying Stanley Cup Champions it said Stanley Cup Champians. I don't even know how that happened. After I got it, I came in the room and someone was like it says champians ... with an a. So I went back and the tattoo guy fixed it after that. It's fixed now. It never said Starley either, not sure how that rumor got started. It’s Stanley. They obviously knew how to spell Stanley Cup. The only thing that was wrong with it was an a and he turned it into an o for champions.

Now we're in the middle of camp. My expectation coming in was that I want to improve, which is probably the same as all the other guys. I want to improve my game wherever I can, continue to grow and improve on each season. All I want to do is to continue to get better. We have a great team again this year. We have a great opportunity to be able to go far in the playoffs. Obviously, we want to win and hope to win, but we have a lot of work to do. I haven't set any goals for myself this year. I just want to improve on last year and get better. I want to make sure I bring my energy level every game and make sure I'm consistent.

I wasn't really worried about getting a contract done before training camp started. [Editor's note: Marchand signed a two-year, $5 million deal.] Both parties really wanted to be done before camp and not have to worry about it the first day of camp. We were able to get something done before and we're both happy with it. How can I not be happy? They were very generous. You know what was funny? [Dennis] Seidenberg was the first guy to text me congratulations. Except, he texted me five minutes after I signed. So I have no idea how he heard so fast. It was kind of weird. I didn't celebrate the signing really. I just went out to dinner with a couple of the guys. It's not really a time to celebrate right now. I'm not even going to really splurge on anything. Well, I did buy a house this summer. So now maybe I can pay it off.

Opening night is October 6. The banner raising is going to be pretty cool. But I am really excited to see the crowd, it's going to be wild. The way they were in the playoffs last year was just unbelievable. I expect them to be even louder that night. It's going to be a lot of fun to see the crowd that night. The only way to top last year is to try and do it again. Obviously, we were very fortunate last year to win in my first year. I guess, the only way to follow it up is to win another. So, I guess that's the goal again this year.

Everyone always seems to like to know if we root for the other Boston sports teams. I definitely believe in supporting all the Boston teams. Obviously the Patriots are a great team again this year. We're watching closely right now as the Red Sox battle. They're in a tight spot right now but they'll prevail. They will make the playoffs.