WILMINGTON, Mass. The Belleville Bulls goalie pads worn by Malcolm Subban have some yellow and gold in them, but they appear much more like old school Vancouver Canucks equipment than new-age Boston Bruins gear.
Even so, the flecks of black and yellow allowed the middle Subban brother to blend in with his Bruins brethren as he worked out for the first time with fellow Bs prospects on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
The 18-year-old Subban had a familiar look to him in terms of style and energy between the pipes, but everything he experienced on the Bs practice ice was a whole new world.
It was nice to get your foot in the door, to meet everybody and to see what it will be like as a member of the Boston Bruins, said Subban addressing a big group of reporters around the practice locker normally filled by Tuukka Rask. Id say there was nervousness and rust. Its the first time out there in a while and there were a lot of people cheering in the stands.
So it was nice to get that under my belt. I know a few of the guys, and its an easy place to fit in. Its been a great bonding experience so far.
While most of the other five goalies in camp were the picture of quiet, efficient motion while making standard saves, Subban showed off uncommon movement as he challenged shooters swooping in on him.
The scouting reports lauding his athleticism and competitiveness were dead on, and truth be told the quick movements and athletic challenges post-to-post were more than a little reminiscent of a certain two-time Vezina Trophy winner from Boston.
Any parallel to Tim Thomas is a long way down the road, however, and his first official day of work for the Bs went off without a hitch.
The athleticism you see right away, and how quick he is in the net, said assistant GM Don Sweeney. The next thing hell understand is that the shooters will be much better at the next level as well. Our goalie coach Bob Essensa will go to work with him on some things that hes seen in his game.
But he competes for every puck and every save even in this environment. Most goalies dont like to be scored on and hes no different in that regard. But the athleticism and the push across the net is very impressive.
The one hiccup in Subbans first afternoon in a Bruins jersey?
During shootout drills forward prospect Ryan Spooner continuously baffled the young goaltender with a dizzying array of double-moves, and showed Subban exactly what he can expect when he becomes an NHL player three or four years down the road.
Right now, though, it all gets chalked as a learning experience for Subban on his path to becoming Bostons goaltender of the future.