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“I think everybody’s smart enough to look at the way the playoffs were won _ a bounce here, a bounce there, a goal, the little differences between us talking about a first round exit or a Stanley Cup (championship),” Ference said. “That’s just the way hockey is. It’s tight like that every year.”

The Bruins won the Cup on June 15, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7. That didn’t leave much time for them to rest up and work on their conditioning.

But coach Claude Julien was pleased with his players’ performance on fitness tests conducted Friday, a week after rookies reported and a day before the entire team practices.

“When you’ve only got a couple of months off,” he said, “I don’t think they had time to get out of shape too much.”

Most players probably took two weeks off after the season, Ference said. Marchand said he began preparing for training camp about July 3.

“If I’m sitting around for too long, I feel lazy and I don’t feel good,” he said. “So, I have to stay active.”

He won’t have much time to rest once the season starts on Oct. 6 with a home game against the Flyers, the first team with a chance to beat the Bruins.

But as the games progress, the motivation to beat the champs will give way to knocking off the top teams in the current season, Ference said.

“The first little bit you’ll carry around the tag, I think, as defending champs, but that only lasts for probably a couple of weeks until the standings start to get settled out,” he said, “and then everybody guns for the top teams.”

The Bruins would like to remain in that group, so Julien wants them to focus on the upcoming season, not the last one.

“The summer’s been a great summer. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “But, for us, it’s time to turn the page and get back to work.”