MIDDLETON — When the Bruins arrive at training camp in less than a month, they’ll find a slightly altered roster from the one that lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games. They’ll be missing Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley and Andrew Ference. They’ll have added Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson.
And that just might mean they’re a better team than they were last season.
“From what I’m told, it should be a seamless transition with the guys we’re bringing in,” said Shawn Thornton, who was hosting his fourth Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament at Ferncroft Country Club Monday.
“I like where our team is at, and on paper it looks great, but paper is one thing and we have to perform still. But I’m excited about the upcoming year.”
Thornton said the Axelsson brothers (former Bruin P.J. and Anton, who plays in Sweden) texted him to say how much the Bruins are going to love Eriksson after the trade with Dallas that brought him to Boston and sent Seguin to the Stars.
Daniel Paille, who attended the tournament along with goalie Tuukka Rask, called the emotion of the trade “bittersweet.” But, he said, it’s time to look forward and think about the players coming to the team — about Eriksson and Iginla and all the positives that could result.
“We really look competitive again,” added Rask. “Obviously it hurts to lose the guys we did, but that’s the sad business side of it sometimes. I think the replacements we got are as good if not better. I think we’re in a good spot.
“You have to play as a team and all kind of stuff has to happen, but if you look at the roster, I can’t see a reason why we couldn’t be better.”
Close to home
The golf tournament was held by the Shawn Thornton Foundation, which is dedicated to helping find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. It was inspired by Thornton’s grandmother, who died five years ago after suffering from the disease for 14 years.
“It hits close to home,” Thornton said. “We were really tight and it was awful towards the end. I walked out of there in tears sometimes after visiting her in the home. So we got this started. It’s been getting bigger and bigger every year. This year is probably the biggest.”
In addition to some of his Bruins teammates, Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman (whose best friend, coincidentally, is the daughter of Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli) showed up at the tournament.
“This is home, so I’m happy to be involved in the community,” Thornton said. “I don’t think it’s that tough to be involved around here.”
Thornton, 36, who is in the last year of his contract with the Bruins, said, “I’m going to play until they rip the skates off me and tell me I can’t anymore. I’m aware of how old I am, but I definitely don’t feel it.
“I’ll show up, try to do everything in my power to continue to be in good shape and be ready to go for the start of the season and contribute in a positive way. I hate losing more than anyone. Last year stung and that’ll stick with me for sure.”
Thornton offered a positive report on injured fourth-line center Gregory Campbell, who famously finished out his shift on a broken leg against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals. “He looks pretty good,” Thornton said. “He was up walking around. He says he’s been working out, and he looks good. I’m hoping he’s ready to go for the start of camp.” . . . Rask has yet to make a big purchase after signing his new eight-year contract (as he said, “I haven’t seen a penny yet”) but the goaltender is ready to get back to work in September. “In every season you kind of start from scratch and you have to prove yourself again at some level,” he said. “But obviously it helps that you have a long contract and you can kind of just focus on your job.”