GLENDALE, AZ. --- It goes without saying that a game between the Bruins and
Dallas Stars has become synonymous with fireworks and fisticuffs.
Three years ago, an early season meeting of the B's and Stars at TD Garden turned into
an all-our war against Sean Avery and Steve Ott. The hate-filled 60 minutes also featured Shane Hnidys most memorable moment as a Bs player as he tuned up Matti
Niskanen during a line brawl on the ice, and Marc Savard throwing punches at Avery in
defense of a young Milan Lucic.
That game really ushered in the Bs current team personality as a club not to be
trifled with, and handed the current cast of Bruins players their first evidence that dialing
up the physicality brings out the best in them.
Last season, when the B's were accused in some circles of notplaying with enough heart, toughness or chutzpah, they engaged in three fights withinthe first four seconds of a game against the Stars.
Gregory Campbell and Ott -- who had taken a run at Campbell during Campbell's days with the Florida Panthers -- renewed pleasantries, but it didnt stop there.
Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Krys Barch and busted up the then-Dallas
enforcers face with a punishing right hand. And Adam McQuaid crushed Brian
Sutherby in the third bout.
Andrew Ference and Adam Burish followed up with another fight four minutes
later, and once again the Bruins and Stars had renewed a unique bad blood relationship.
Its rare that kind of hatred crosses over to the opposite conference, but thats what has
happened in Dallas and Boston.
It doesnt seem to matter that the two teams only play once a season, and the expectation
is Saturday night could be another bloodbath.
Another ode to Slap Shot is not what Claude Julien is thinking, however.
With some of the old Stars players no longer in Dallas and new coach Glenn Gulutzan
in place, the Bs coach doesnt think the Stars will be pulling any shenanigans. But then
again the Stars still have the agitating Ott on their roster, and wont be shying away from
things should they get a little nasty on the ice.
It doesnt matter. They have a different coach and different players, and they probably
have a different approach, said Julien. Were going to go in there and play our game.
"And what youve seen over the years is that whatever they throw at us, were going to be
The other factor in this years BruinsStars matchup: it will be Michael Ryders first
game against his former team. Ryder leads the Stars with 14 goals scored this season
and has been reunited with his old buddy from Montreal, Mike Ribeiro, in Dallas. The
reunion has brought the best out of both players, and theres also Ryders history of
playing well against his former team, the Habs, during his years in Boston.
In other words, a highly talented player that sometimes struggles to maintain focus and
motivation gets up for games against former teams. There should be a little extra for
Ryder against a Bruins team that didnt bring him back after he helped win a Cup in
Hes a good man and hes having some success playing with his old liney Mike
Ribeiro, said Thornton, who formed a solid friendship with Ryder during their
time in Boston. He was a good guy, good teammates and obviously he helped us get a
ring so Im happy for him having some success there.
But certainly not too much success for Ryder against the Bruins on Saturday night if
Thornton has his way