BOSTON -- It’s been a dizzying couple of days for Swedish forward Carl Soderberg after jumping on an international flight to Boston, and hopping on the ice Wednesday morning in his first official act as a member of the Boston Bruins.
Soderberg is in the first year of a three-year deal with the Black and Gold, and was alternating line rushes with Gregory Campbell on the left wing skating with David Krejci and Jaromir Jagr. But the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Soderberg will not be in the starting lineup against the Buffalo Sabres despite reaching mythic proportions while spurning the advances of the Boston organization over the last six years.
Claude Julien wanted to give Soderberg a chance to catch his breath after his whirlwind trip, and to get a chance for both player and team to get acquainted with each other.
“He’ll do the warm-up tonight. He just [got] in last night and he’ll get a chance to practice with us tomorrow,” said Julien. “It’s as much for him as it is for us. There’s a change in time, and there’s the fatigue of travel and everything else. Not knowing much about our system he’s going to have a chance to watch tonight – and see some things. Hopefully he sees the right things."
“I think it’s to his benefit and to our benefit for him to sit and watch. It’s better than just throwing him out there and watching him ad-libbing. He’s a big, strong guy that’s a good skater. I saw some good things. We put him on the power play there at the end of practice and see how he handled the puck. We like what we see from him.”
The Swedish forward was simply happy to be in Boston and in his new NHL home, but also seemed to be taking things in while dealing with a whole new environment apart from his native country. Given that Soderberg was skating in a potential top six spot and hopping on quickly with a power play formation at the end, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get a good look from the Bruins sooner rather than later.
“The last two seasons have been the greatest in my career, so I wanted to try this,” said Soderberg, who potted 31 goals and notched 60 points in a breakout Swedish Elite League season with Linkoping. “I was in the second league [in Sweden], so I wanted to try the first league first. I had some great seasons when I was younger, but then I had an eye injury…so maybe that’s why. I’ll practice today and practice tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be in on Friday.”
“I don’t know [about the adjustment to North American ice surfaces]. We’ll have to see.”
What does he think of the Bruins when he’s watched them?
“Great team,” said Soderberg. “They work hard, and they’re big players.”
The Bruins know they have the latter quality in Soderberg, and are hoping he’ll bring some of the former in his play as well. Nobody will get to see what he can bring to the table on Wednesday, but there should be ample time to see exactly what the Big Swede can bring to the table in the next couple of weeks.