Bruins rookies about to witness another first
MONTREAL — For all the accomplishments from the talented Bruins rookie class, there’s always room to add more firsts.
Through 40 games, we’ve seen Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly and Matt Grzlecyk tally their first career goal(s). Additionally, DeBrusk, McAvoy and Kuraly also notched their first career fight(s) with McAvoy also adding his first career Gordie Howe hat trick.
Sans Bjork, who is down in Providence looking for a confidence boost, the talented rookies are about to add another first on Saturday night — their first taste of the Bruins-Canadians rivalry.
They may not know a whole lot about the history of the rivalry aside from watching the great moments like too many men and Nathan Horton’s Game 7 overtime clincher in 2011. But they are looking forward to introducing themselves to the rivalry.
“It’s kind of hard not to know about this rivalry,” DeBrusk said after the Bruins practiced for the first time since the bye week Friday at the Bell Centre. “It’s the biggest [rivalry] in hockey, you know, Original Six rivalry Boston and Montreal. You know, playoff series and the history. I know it’s a big deal and I’m just looking to soak it in and take every moment as it is, but you know, at the same time play the game and try to help the team win.”
Some of the talented Bruins rookies got to soak in previous rivalries before the beginning of their NHL careers. Medicine Hat and Calgary were DeBrusk’s two rivalries during his junior hockey career with Swift Current and Red Deer of the WHL.
Both Heinen and McAvoy were front and center in a pair of collegiate rivalries. The former was a standout at Denver University for two years that included several battles with Colorado College. The latter had intense matchups with Boston College as part of the Comm Ave. rivalry during his two-year stint at Boston University.
McAvoy also had the honor of representing his country at the World Juniors last year at the Bell Centre. The ex-Terrier was one of the best performers during the two-week tournament and sparked the Americans gold medal run that ended with a shootout win over their hated rivals from up north.
All those pre-NHL rivalries don’t compare with Boston-Montreal. They’ll find out first hand Saturday night as McAvoy and company touch the ice.
“It’s probably one of the best rivalries in sports. I’m very excited [to be a part of it],” the even-keeled McAvoy said.
“I’ve been able to play in rivalry games of that sort — with the BC-BU rivalry and the USA rivalry with other countries — but I’m excited to have this one on the list too. We’re going to be ready in here, and it’s a meaningful game. But I think we need to realize that it’s nothing more than just another game.”
Another game in the Bruins-Habs rivalry that has its share of storylines — from Claude Julien coaching against his former team for the first time in his second tenure to the talented B’s rookie class notching another first.