BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL season is nearly upon us.

The Boston Bruins will open their 2013 season against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on Saturday night, and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is raring to go.

Chara joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday, and while he’s focused on how his team performs on the ice, he knows they also have to be careful with what they do off the ice after the four-month lockout.

“It’s going to be very important that we’re all smart about the rest, nutrition, and all the things that come with playing a season, especially with the amount of games in the amount of days we have,” said Chara. “It will be crucial to be smart with what we do and how we do it.”

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So how long will it take for the Bruins to be on the top of their game?

“I think the sooner the better. We know it probably won’t happen overnight, but we try to always make steps forward,” said the B’s captain. “We just try to get better from game to game. It’s going to be the first real game for some guys in six or seven months, so we just have to play as a team.”

Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is expected to make his mark on the Bruins this season, and has gone to Chara, among other veteran teammates, for advice and insight.

So far, Chara has been impressed with Hamilton, both on and off the ice.

“He’s a smooth skater and sees the ice well. He’s willing to learn, which is the most important thing. He’s always trying to get better,” Chara said of the 19-year-old Hamilton. “That’s a great thing to have as a young player, especially a player like him that has been dominating the juniors; playing in some big games.”

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“Sometimes you cross guys that aren’t cocky, but think they know everything. He’s very humble; he’s such a good guy,” Chara added.


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