BOSTON (CBS) – As he stood at his TD Garden stall answering questions about his four-point night after the Bruins’ 8-0 romp over Toronto Monday night, one veteran sports writer who has covered Brian Rolston during both his stints in Boston asked if somewhere maybe former teammates P.J. Axelsson and Martin Lapointe were wishing they could be in Rolston’s skates.
The perfectly coiffed, shiny-smiled Rolston chuckled and responded in the affirmative. After all, he was rescued from the laughingstock that is the New York Islanders and now has a chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Upon landing back in Boston in a trade-deadline deal Feb. 27, Rolston hadn’t been playing much and was visibly out of shape. In his first nine games back with the team he skated for from 2000-2004, he recorded just one assist.
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But after tallying one goal and three assists against the Leafs, Rolston now has a three-game points streak with a remarkable 2-5-7 totals over that span.
“Obviously, I felt when I came over I wasn’t in the shape I needed to be in. And obviously you feel your way out and what they expect of me and what this team is all about,” said the 39-year-old Rolston. “And it takes you time to kind of get comfortable. Our line has put up some points the last couple games and that’s a great thing. And I think we have great chemistry as a line as well.”
Due to injuries to others, Rolston had to fill in on Boston’s top two lines through much of the first few games after the trades. He’s since settled in with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot the last couple games and they’ve started to provide the type of third-line production Boston hasn’t gotten for any number of consecutive games since the days of Michael Ryder with Kelly and Rich Peverley.
Now this is no time to get carried away with Rolston’s recent performances. It’s only three games. But he’s shown an ever-important knack for getting his shot – which Kelly recalls once dented his shin bad in an old Ottawa-Minnesota – through to the net, something that’ll help the Bruins’ power play gain some semblance of respectability.
And the Bruins can count on him to be responsible in his own end, kill penalties and use the veteran guile that most of their call-ups from Providence lack. Rolston admitted that Boston acquired him to be a “depth player” but stressed that he’s not going to let that label stop him from trying to put points on the sheet as part of his best all-around game.
When Peverley comes back from injury, Rolston’s probably the leading candidate to sit out. He’ll be back where he was on Long Island in terms of the lineup. But at least he’ll be on the sidelines because of the depth of Boston’s roster, and he’ll know that when called upon he can still make his mark.
All Rolston wanted during his time with the Islanders was a chance to strut his stuff a little more.
“I knew that I did and I know that I do,” said Rolston when asked about knowing that he could perform well. “And that can be the most frustrating thing as a player. And to get this opportunity here to play, it means a lot to me and obviously you build confidence as a player when they show confidence in you.”
As long as they don’t have to cast him in too large of a role, the Bruins can continue to be confident in Rolston.