New contract long time coming, extra sweet for Boychuk

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New contract long time coming, extra sweet for Boychuk

BOSTON -- Johnny Boychuk spent five full seasons in the minor leagues.

When the defenseman was traded to the Bruins organization in the summer of 2008, he played one full season in Providence. And when he finally made it to Boston on a full-time basis during the 2009-10 season, he swore he would never go back to the minors.

All of that time in the AHL came into perspective following the Bruins' 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Boychuk sat in front of his stall and answered questions about his new, three-year contract extension that will pay him an average annual salary of 3.36 million and includes a limited no-trade clause.

And for a moment, he brought everyone back to what it was like in the minors.

"It was awful," said Boychuk on Tuesday night. "There's bus rides and you go back home and think about maybe getting a job for the summertime, and just be a normal person. When you have to work out and train really hard, it's tough when you're a minor-league player. People think you make a lot, but you don't. And you go home and you have to pay for a lot of things, especially training.

"When you look back at that, it's probably a blessing in disguise that it happened, because it toughens you up, playing in the minors, taking those bus rides, grinding it out.

"When you get your chance to come play in the NHL, you really get to appreciate it," added Boychuk. "And you make sure that you don't go back there."

Boychuk has made sure he isn't going back to Providence, or anywhere else for that matter. He wanted to stay in Boston, so there was no reason for him to test free agency after this season.

"I'm obviously happy," said Boychuk. "It wasn't a real big secret that I wanted to stay here. I'm just excited I guess.

"I knew that it was going to get done. I didn't know when it was going to get done, but I knew that it was going to get done here."

And the rest of the Bruins are also happy that he's not going anywhere.

"Hes a very good guy in the locker room," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "Hes very positive. Hes a happy guy and thats why you need him. When things go wrong you need guys to stay positive and cheer guys up.Its good to have him."

"I think we all like him, that's why he got extended with us," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We certainly didn't want to lose him. He's been a valuable asset. He's a great teammate. He plays hard every night. Whether he makes mistakes every once in a while like everybody else, he's very reliable.

"We like him, and his play and his demeanor and everything else just fits our group very well."

Boychuk said that he wasn't worried about a deal getting done, but it is nice to not get to a point where maybe, just maybe, that worry might creep in. It never got close to that. And everybody in the Bruins organization is happy about it.

"It's obviously nice to get it over with and not have to worry about it, especially being an unrestricted free agent," said Boychuk. "You want to stay here and they come and offer you a contract, it's a pretty easy decision when you're a Bruin. If you know what it is to be a Bruin, it's pretty special, and that's why I wanted to stay here."

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

For a Red Sox team that has been the best in baseball in September and had won 11 straight prior to last night, you have to admit: There are a lot of things that could go the other way with this team in the playoffs that wouldn't surprise you.

To wit:

-- Would it surprise you if David Price blew up again in the postseason? He has a 5.12 career postseason ERA and has never won a playoff start. Was last night a precursor? He looked like his old shaky October self with a chance to clinch the division in Yankee Stadium.

-- Would it surprise you if Clay Buchholz crapped his pants when it mattered most? This is your No. 3 starter, folks, or No. 4 at worst. He's getting the ball in the playoffs either way, and if I told you that two months ago you'd tell me the Sox are sunk. He looks good now, but we all know he is the ultimate tease.

-- Would it surprise you if John Farrell blows a game with a bone-headed decision from the bench? Of course not; he's been doing that for nearly four years. Yes, he did it all the way to a title in 2013, but the possibility remains very real. It's in the back of most everyone's mind.

-- Would it surprise you if Koji Uehara regresses and the eighth inning once again becomes a problem? Uehara certainly has the experience and has pitched well recently, but the fact is that it feels like his arm is attached by a noodle.

-- Would it surprise you if some of the Sox' youth shows its age? It shouldn't. Happens all the time. Would it surprise you if Craig Kimbrel can't find the plate in a big save situation? It shouldn't. He's shown glimpses of it all season and has never pitched past the division series in his career. Would it surprise you if Hanley Ramirez makes an important mistake at first? Or the Sox' hole at third becomes a factor? Nope and nope.

We could play this game all night.

Now, what do I think is going to happen? I think the Sox are going to pitch well, even Price, and the offense will remain a force. I have full faith in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Rick Porcello and the lineup in general. There's a feeling on this team that's hard to ignore, likely inspired by Ortiz, and I think they'll keep it going in the postseason. I agree with those who say the Sox have the most talent in the American League, so that's a great place to start. I don't know if that means the ALCS, the World Series or a championship. I just think they'll continue to play well into October.

But all of that is just a feeling, just a prediction -- and you know what those are good for. The point is this: If it goes the other way for the Sox, I think we already have the reasons why.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.

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