Jarred Tinordi returns as Bruins look to finish off Caps
More than two decades ago, Jarred Tinordi watched his father take the ice for his second run at a Stanley Cup as a member of the Washington Capitals. Donning their flying eagle look of the late ’90s, Mark Tinordi and the Caps ran into the buzzsaw known as the Detroit Red Wings, ultimately falling victim in four games in the summer of 1998.
Like his father, who also appeared in a Cup Final with the old Minnesota North Stars during the 1990-91 campaign, Jarred made a similar tour around the league. He’s on his fourth squad after GM Don Sweeney claimed him off waivers from Nashville. But he has no love lost for his father’s former squad.
Tinordi made an immediate impact upon his arrival to Boston. In just his second game with his new club, the 2010 first-round selection of the Montreal Canadiens made his presence known in his bout with Tom Wilson shortly after the enigmatic Caps forward delivered a cheap shot to Brandon Carlo. The Bruins came together for Carlo to secure a 5-1 victory on that early March night.
The veteran defenseman found himself in and out of Boston’s lineup following the trade deadline. He missed nearly a month of action because of an upper-body injury after a hit from behind by Garnet Hathaway during Boston’s 7-3 win over Washington on April 18.
Tinordi suited up once more, tallying his lone assist of the year in a 2-1 loss to the Caps in the regular-season finale.
The Bruins entered another next-man-up scenario after Jeremy Lauzon sustained a hand injury in Game 1. They lost another defenseman in Friday’s 4-1 win in Game 4 after Dmitri Orlov’s high hit to Kevan Miller.
Once again, Bruce Cassidy and the coaching staff had a decision to make. Would they tab the more experienced Tinordi for a clinching Game 5 scenario? Or would they decide to go with a solid but inexperienced Urho Vaakaninen.
In the end, Cassidy chose Tinordi.
“Help us win,” Cassidy said of his expectations for Tinordi. “How do you do that? Be clean with the puck, good first pass, play solid 1-on-1 defense; he’s going to be a part of the penalty kill — he was good at that when he was here — and be physical when the situation dictates.”
Though different in stature and structure, Tinordi and Miller provide a similar blue-collar physical style of play whenever they’re in the lineup. They’ve both meshed well skating with a younger blue-liner like Lauzon, Connor Clifton or even Jeremy Zboril. Because of this, Cassidy doesn’t need to tinker his back-end assignments, thus keeping the Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy and Mike Reilly-Brandon Carlo pairs intact.
As they did following Wilson’s hit on Carlo, the Bruins showcased leadership by example after Orlov’s collision with Miller in Game 4. Though he’d prefer entering the lineup under a more ideal circumstance, Tinordi is eager to fill in for Miller.
“I’m excited,” Tinordi said. “I mean, it’s tough to see players go down on the ice. You never want to see that and you never want to get in under those circumstances. But we’re here right now. We have a big game tonight and I’m ready to go.”
Tinordi wore a full face shield in the aftermath of Hathaway’s hit. As his face healed, Tinordi ditched the shield. And now the Bruins hope to ditch the Caps for the season.
“I think it’s time for it to come off,” Tinordi said of the shield. “I’ve had it on for a while now, so I’m ready to get it off. It’s a little bit easier to breathe without it.”
The Bruins and Caps provided little breathing room throughout this first-round contest. But the series transitioned from a surely heavy matchup between two passionate teams to one of bitterness after Game 4.
The last thing Tinordi and company want to provide Peter Laviolette’s bunch: hope. The Bruins could use some much-needed rest with an early series win before a potential second-round matchup with the Islanders or Penguins. And a victory in DC will get Tinordi one step closer to etching his family namesake on Lord’s Stanley Cup.
“My whole career he’s been helping out and giving me good advice,” Tinordi said of his relationship with his father. “He was a guy as a player who went to two Cup Finals, so he has the playoff experience. And if I have to lean on him for something he’s been there for me, and he’s been great this whole time.”
Tinordi has two families to lean on: his own and the tight-knit Bruins locker room. Between them, he’ll have plenty of assistance as he enters his 10th career postseason contest.