BOSTON (CBS) — Prior to this season, Johnny Boychuk had 400 games of NHL experience — regular season and playoffs — under his belt. Of those 400 games, 396 came as a member of the Bruins and more than half of them were played at the TD Garden.
On Thursday night, he’ll once again skate on TD Garden ice, but he’ll be doing so as a visiting player for the very first time.
It’s a situation that the former Boston fan favorite believes will be rather odd.
“It’s definitely different. It’s going to be a little bit weird,” Boychuk, now a member of the Islanders, told the large group of media members at his locker after the morning skate. “You’re used to practicing with them and being around them all the time, and now you’re playing with them a couple of weeks after. It’s just different sitting on the bench and being on the other side, it’s definitely different.”
Boychuk, who was traded by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli shortly before the regular season due to the team being tight against the salary cap, said it was nice to catch up with his former teammates at the Garden on Thursday morning. But he knows once the puck is dropped, it will be all business.
“When you’re going into the corner with Looch, it’s going to be different. I’m going to have to finish my check on him and vice-versa,” Boychuk said of Milan Lucic. “If he’s coming down and he can hit me, I know he’s going to, even though we’re best friends. It’s going to be different, but after the game, we’re friends.”
And even though Boychuk certainly didn’t want to get traded from the Bruins, he harbors no ill will toward Chiarelli or the Bruins organization.
“It’s tough to be angry because he was in a situation where he had to make a move,” Boychuk said of Chiarelli. “It’s part of the business nowadays with the cap that, I mean, how can I be angry at him when they gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL and gave me the opportunity to be a regular player in this league? So you can’t be angry at him, because they gave me the opportunity to be here.”
Instead of harping on the end of his days in Boston, Boychuk has plenty of positive memories left over.
“Obviously winning a lot and winning the Stanley Cup, being in playoffs, being together with the team — everything, actually. You can just remember every memory and it’s usually a good one,” he said.
Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers begins 30 minutes prior to every game!
On Thursday afternoon, 98.5 The Sports Hub Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti talked about Boychuk’s return to Boston and revisited the trade.
It’s their opinion that if the Bruins had drafted well and signed better contracts then Johnny Boychuk would still be here, so the salary cap constraints is a poor excuse in their mind.
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