NEW YORK Lane MacDermid was drafted by the Bruins as an overage player because he was fearless when challenging other players physically, and seemingly unfazed by the big moments in junior hockey.
MacDermid showed flashes of those some attributes during Bruins training camp over the last two years, and did it again in his NHL debut Sunday afternoon when he scrapped with noted tough guy Mike Rupp on his first shift of the day.
The MacDermid scrap was one of three hockey fights on the day for a Bruins team looking to fight their big, bad team identity against the first place New York Rangers, but it ended up falling just short in a 4-3 loss to the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden.
MacDermid has been averaging 20 fights per season at the AHL level over the past three years and knew it was go time when Rupp started jostling with him at the face-off circle.
I said that I would fight if the opportunity was there and I got challenged, said MacDermid. Sometimes its in the back of my head whether I should or I shouldnt fight. I kind of got it out of the way and then just thought about playing after that.
Coach Claude Julien was impressed with the subtleties of MacDermids game: he had a good feel for getting on and off the ice for line changes, played good two-way shifts when he was out there and acquired himself with a lot of left-handed jabs when fellow Windsor Spitfires alum Rupp came looking for a fight.
I was hoping he was going to just play. I didnt think Rupp would go after a young guy, but he started whacking him and slashing him, said Julien. The kid stood up for himself. He did a great job and he handled himself well. For his first game he did some good things out there.
He wasnt hesitant. He was making some good decisions and good line changes: things that are very important in this league. He handled himself well for his very first game.
MacDermid finished with 5:26 of ice time on eight shifts in his NHL debut and didnt crack the scoresheet with anything else. But for a player the Bruins hope could someday become a Shawn Thornton-type player when hes fully developed, that was as good a start as any that he could have hoped for filling in for the injured Daniel Paille on the Bs Merlot Line.