Tardif gets his NHL debut after paying his AHL dues


Tardif gets his NHL debut after paying his AHL dues

TORONTO Jamie Tardif waited seven seasons for a chance to hear his name called as part of an NHL lineup, but he wont have to wait any longer.

The 28-year-old Tardif will suit up for the Bruins for his first NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre after 449 games in the ECHL and the AHL while taking Daniel Pailles place in the lineup.

For a kid that grew up in Welland, Ontario thats about as good as it gets all the way around and validation for the countless bus rides and years spent slogging through the minor leagues.

Providence coach Bruce Cassidy told me on the bus while I was playing in a card game with the rest of the guys, so it was really nice to share with my teammates. Then I got a call from assistant general manager Don Sweeney, said Tardif. I was hoping this day would come. I was hoping the day was going to come a couple of years ago, but Im very thankful for the chance from Boston.

I always tried to stay positive. Boston is a good fit for my style of play which is gritty and going hard to the net. I think the lockout actually helped me. The coaches were there almost every practice. Claude Julien, Don Sweeney and Peter Chiarelli were at just about every game, so getting off to a great start definitely helped my chances of getting called up quite a bit.

Claude Julien had nothing but good things to say about Tardif, who is second in the AHL and leading the Bruins with 21 goals scored on the season and represented the P-Bruins at the AHL All-Star game. The 6-foot, 205-pounder certainly has the ability to finish offensive plays, and can handle some of the job requirements while skating on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Lane MacDermid.

Hes proven that hes a goal-scorer at the American Hockey League level and that hes somebody that can finish off plays, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. He can also do all of the little things like play at both ends of the ice and pay attention to detail. Hes up with us because hes deserved it with his play down in Providence.

Bruins teammates like Johnny Boychuk have a special appreciation for a career AHLer like Tardif finally getting his NHL shot. The Bruins defenseman played 374 AHL games in the Colorado and Boston organizations before finally get his permanent shot in Boston, and knows what the term paying your dues is all about.

Thats a tough go if it. Over 400 games in the minors? That is tough, said Boychuk. Its great to see him get a call-up. Thats something you really want to see after going through all of those crappy bus rides and crappy schedules.

Your mindset is just dont get sent down. You dont want to back to those long weekend bus rides to places like Norfolk, or other places way out there. You dont miss the bus at all, thats for sure.

Its unknown whether it will be one game or 10 games for Tardif, but hes got a chance to make an impression around the NHL. Thats all the journeyman forward could have ever asked for.

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game: