BOSTON –After getting his first-ever call-up to the NHL level with the Boston Bruins last season, 22-year-old defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk finally got a taste of what the ultimate goal is like.
And now that the most mentally challenging day of training camp is over with — the physical testings which was held on Friday — Bodnarchuk is glad to put that behind him and be carrying on with the rest of training camp.
“It’s good to get the fitness testing done yesterday was a huge relief. To get through the first day, you could say it’s sort of nerve-racking.” the 128th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft said after the first day of on-ice workouts. “So training-camp started and it feels great.”
The physical aspect of the fitness test wasn’t much of a concern for the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Bodnarchuk, but rather the emotional toll that can drain some players.
“It’s just a mentally draining day in that you only get that one test throughout the year to sort of make an impression on what kind of shape you’re in.” added Bodnarchuk. “I know a lot of the guys don’t really look forward to that day all summer, but that’s out of the way and it went well.”
Even before he was a teenager, Bodnarchuk has been working out ever summer with the same trainer – and coincidentally, with his best friend since childhood, teammate Brad Marchand.
“I’ve had the same trainer for about nine years in the offseason, ever since I was a young kid.” said Bodnarchuk. I”ve [also] been training with Brad Marchand in the summer ever since.
“We take the Boston program that John Whitesides gives us and sort of intermingle it with what our trainer does and suit it to how we can best be suited to come into camp specifically for us.” he added. “We push each other and it’s good to have that support system.”
Bodnarchuk was rewarded with a one-year deal earlier this summer after being a key blue-liner in the AHL Providence Bruins system. He won’t ‘wow’ the fans with on the offensive-side (5-10-15 in 70 GP in ’09-10) be his defensive responsibilities earned him a plus-7 rating which ranked him second on the team.
He reached every young players’ dream by making it to the NHL – on Apr. 3, 2010 against the Toronto Maple Leafs – when B’s defenseman Mark Stuart hit the shelf once again with an infected finger. Bodnarchuk played in Boston’s final five regular season games of ’09-10 (zero points, minus-2) and getting a brief taste of what the NHL-life is all about, makes an even more confident and determined Bodnarchuk this year.
“Absolutely.” he said. “Getting that little taste at the end of the year….the games I got in and being able to be here during the playoffs and see the lifestyle and just playing in the NHL and reaching my ultimate goal – it was being everything I thought it was, and more – made me that much more hungry.
“But at the same time it helped my confidence big time. I had a little bit of jitters at the start of the first couple of games, but after I settled in I really felt comfortable.”he said. “And know that I can play at this level and it gave me that confidence to know that hopefully one day I’ll be a full-time player in the NHL.”
With the Bruins top-6 defensemen re-signed and back from last season, bouncing one of the ‘vets’ could prove difficult for the Nova Scotia, native. But with the hard work and determination from last year, plus the hungriness and willingness this year, Bodnarchuk will definitely be in the pipeline for more NHL appearances this season.