BOSTON — You’ve were given to be beautiful chilly hearted — like Edmonton-in-February-level chilly — now not to root for guys like Nick Foligno and A.J. Greer.
Foligno is a 34-year-old energy ahead, a former 30-goal, 70-point scorer and captain within the National Hockey League who struggled in his first season with the Bruins (2-11-13 in 64 video games) a yr in the past. He was once positioned on waivers final week, cleared them, and as an alternative of being despatched to Providence rejoined the large membership in time for his or her season opener in Washington final week.
Greer’s tale is much more compelling. As one of the crucial NHL’s main advocates of psychological well being (he is mentioned his personal struggles overtly), he took a circuitous trail to the Bruins, beginning at Boston University prior to leaving for the Quebec Major Junior League, then bouncing between the minors and massive league with the Avalanche, Islanders and Devils prior to signing a unfastened agent contract with the Black-and-Gold this summer time.
In Saturday’s house opener at TD Garden, each the previous veteran left wing on the fourth line and the scrappy younger proper winger on the 3rd line performed crucial roles in Boston’s 6-3 win over Arizona.
Foligno tipped in Connor Clifton’s blast from some degree on a this-is-how-you-draw-it-up play in entrance of Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka in the second one duration, whilst Greer produced a couple of 3rd duration tallies, together with an empty netter to seal the deal. Each additionally contributed an lend a hand.
“It’s nice to contribute,” Foligno mentioned after the sport. “I like what all our lines are doing. That’s been the most fun; every time (that) every line is stepping over the boards, the identity that we have is exactly what we preached in training camp. It’s been fun to be a part of.”
Greer is humble when speaking about himself, acutely aware of his personal faults and the adversity he is been in a position to triumph over to get up to now.
Part of that, he mentioned, was once that spotting shortcomings in his recreation, like “being lazy in the D zone”, and having coaches within the American League who cared about him “not only as a player, but as a person”. He discovered the self-discipline he wanted there, and they are bearing fruit now.
“I’ve built my game up to a certain level where I’ve matured and understood what it means to play in all three zones and be reliable and have success,” Greer mentioned after his forty ninth NHL contest. “It wasn’t easy … but I’ve really built my game up and got it to the point last year where I felt comfortable and ready for the NHL when the opportunity came.”
“You root for guys like that,” Foligno mentioned of Greer, “guys who understand how hard and how privileged they are to be here. He’s a guy that I don’t think takes one day for granted.”
It was once a excellent evening all advised for the bottom six forwards, who produced a mixed 4 objectives and 5 assists — and that is the reason now not together with a target that was once taken clear of Foligno’s linemate, rookie proper wing Jakub Zboril.
“I thought those guys tilted the ice when they were out there,” head trainer Jim Montgomery mentioned of his 3rd and fourth strains.
Being positioned on waivers final week hasn’t modified Foligno’s mindset; he mentioned he is satisfied to be right here, in Boston, contributing on the other hand imaginable.
“I have confidence in who I am as a player, and I understand the business side of it,” he mentioned. “I trust what I can do when healthy, and I’m excited about putting that out there. I’m only worried about trying to help this team — and I care deeply about this team.”
Two video games in and the Bruins have 11 objectives by way of 10 other gamers already and a 2-0 file as well. Should the bottom six stay generating offensively whilst the group awaits the go back of Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk from damage, the win column will have to keep growing.
Phil Stacey, the Executive Sports Editor of The Salem News, covers the Boston Bruins for CNHI Sports Boston. Contact him at email@example.com and apply him on Twitter @PhilStacey_SN