Anders Bjork picking up offensive slack
Anders Bjork has been quite the mystery to the Boston Bruins. One minute he looks like he can be another one of the Bruins’ young guns making a huge impact. The next minute, he is struggling for ice time.
Bjork’s roller-coaster ride continued into his second season as he notched a mere three points in 20 games with Boston. The Bruins assigned him to Providence on Nov. 29 for the second time in his young career.
But sometimes, those demotions can serve a wake-up call, and Bjork is slowly finding his stride. Though he’s only found the back of the net once, the 22-year-old is finding his playmaking stride with eight assists during his first eight games back in Providence.
“Working on consistency is something I’ve been trying to improve on,” Bjork said about his mindset following his second career demotion. “Night in and night out l just want to play the same way and build that trust with the coaching staff.”
Bjork seemed to had found his game during his first stint last season, collecting two goals and two assists in nine games before getting a recall a short time later. But a season-ending shoulder injury in February put a halt on Bjork’s development.
Though he’s still trying to find his role in the professional ranks, Bjork’s production in his second Providence stint is coming at a good time. He’s already had three two-point nights, while five of his nine points have been either game-winning or game-tying goals. Twice, he has assisted on go-ahead goals, including a secondary assist on Kyle Cumiskey’s game-tying goal with eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime against the Bridgeport Soundtigers on Dec. 14.
Bjork’s lone goal came in a 5-0 win at the Toronto Marlins on Dec. 5, a power-play tally late in the second that put the P-Bruins up 4-0.
Coupled with his timely assists, Bjork has produced in a relatively large way for Providence.
Of course, as with every player that has trips back and forth to Boston and Providence, there always certain spots that can improve, and according to coach Jay Leach, sometimes it can be about keeping things simple.
“I would say [Bjork] was trying to complicate a few things with the puck,” Leach said following the loss to Bridgeport. “In previous games, he’s had speed and pucks have found their way to the net. With his assets, [the game] can get a little confusing for him. We’re trying to get him to play an up-and-down game and use his speed to penetrate more.”
“[I’ve been working on] my attack mindset and just getting back to making more offensive plays,” Bjork said about his offensive approach. ” Using my speed to take the puck wide and take it to the net whether it be in the rush or out of the corner. It’s something that I feel like I have already improved on a bit and something I expect to keep working on.”
While there’s little doubt that Bjork could very well see his way back into the Boston lineup, the question remains: how will he play upon his return. But given his improvement both on the scoresheet and his overall playmaking abilities, Bjork could very much be ready to make an impact for the big club. When he receives that next trip up I-95 is anyone’s guess, but there’s a strong chance that it’ll be sooner rather than later.
Maybe the Hockey Gods will bring him a Christmas gift — early or late — and allow the ex-Notre Dame star to return home for the Winter Classic.