CALGARY, Alberta — Brad Marchand is not known for keeping his thoughts to himself. The Bruins winger almost always has a quote or a quip or a point to make. But when he received a call from Steve Yzerman, executive director of Team Canada, Marchand couldn’t form so much as a word.
“I didn’t know what to say when he called,” Marchand said Monday after a rousing game of ball hockey at Team Canada’s orientation camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park. “He said it was Steve Yzerman, and I just kind of paused. I didn’t know what to say.”
It wasn’t a phone call Marchand ever expected to receive.
“I don’t think I can really explain it,” he said. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be here and be part of the selection camp, to be looked at. I was very shocked when I saw my name was on the list and I got the call, but I’m very honored and I plan on doing whatever I can to make sure I give myself the best possible opportunity.”
To help determine their final roster for the Sochi Olympics — which Marchand is something of a long shot to make — the management team and coaches will be watching the Canadian players over the first few months of the NHL season.
That could lead to added pressure.
“I definitely think it’s going to be in the back of my mind, and I think that can push you to play the wrong way,” Marchand said. “Me and [Patrice Bergeron] talked about it — we’re just going to try to help each other out and push each other in the right direction, and hopefully things go well.”
Bergeron, of course, was on the 2010 Canadian Olympic team that won gold in Vancouver. His Boston linemate was there for him Monday at the orientation camp, with the duo paired together, along with the Oilers’ Jordan Eberle, in their ball hockey drills.
(Marchand’s evaluation of his ball hockey skills: “I’m not the best ball hockey player, that’s for sure. It was fun. I thought I had a pretty good running stride; I could get up and down the court a bit. But I have some things to work on.”)
But Marchand didn’t know many of his potential teammates in the dressing room, so he stuck by Bergeron’s side.
“It’s nice to feel comfortable by Bergy,” he said. “He definitely makes it easier for me out here.”
So, too, does the preparation he has done to get here. Marchand anticipated that the Canadians would be practicing on the ice in Calgary — they’re not, because of insurance issues — so he got back to work July 9, just two weeks after the Bruins season ended. One week later, he was on skates.
He didn’t want to be a step behind.
That goes for Team Canada’s orientation camp, and it goes equally for Bruins training camp.
“I think that a lot’s expected of our team,” said Marchand, who will be skating with a new winger this season after Tyler Seguin was shipped to Dallas. “Especially after winning a few years ago, it just seems like fans expect that now and they don’t want any less.
“It almost seemed like after we won the third round, the fans didn’t seem as excited because they expected us to do it. It just shows there’s a lot of pressure on our team and we know that. It makes us push that much harder.”
It has been only two months since the Stanley Cup Final ended in shocking fashion, with the Bruins losing to the Blackhawks. But the Team Canada camp has given some of the stars of that series a chance for a reunion — even if some of the Bruins would rather not face them. “It’s a tough thing and there’s a lot of talk between the two teams,” said the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, who played with Marchand in the world juniors and with Bergeron in the Vancouver Olympics. “The series could have gone either way. I have to say Boston is one of the toughest teams I’ve ever faced in the playoffs. You kind of feel guilty in a way and you can’t rub it in their face too hard. You kind of tiptoe around it.”
His hat in the rings
Most of the Team Canada coaching staff has remained the same from Vancouver. The newcomer? Bruins coach Claude Julien, who is replacing Jacques Lemaire on the staff. Julien has been involved with Canadian coaching staffs before, but never with the Olympic team. “I’ve been in the program a few years, but it wasn’t the Olympics and now it’s the Olympics,” Julien said. “Not too many people get that opportunity, and I’m going to take advantage of it. I was actually flattered when I was asked to be part of the group. It’s an honor, and especially this country, which prides itself so much on this game.” . . . Former Bruin Joe Thornton canceled his trip to orientation camp because his 2-month-old son was in the hospital.
The Bruins announced that individual home game tickets for the 2013-14 season will go on sale on Friday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at bostonbruins.com, on the team’s mobile app, or at the TD Garden box office.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.