TORONTO It probably wasnt the first NHL shift that 28-year-old rookie Jamie Tardif had envisioned, but it also meant that he was officially in the books.
Tardif was on the ice for all of about six seconds in the first period when Lane MacDermid and Mark Fraser dropped the gloves for the first of two competitive bouts in Bostons 1-0 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
Yeah, that first shift didnt go over so well, said Tardif, who estimated there were 20 family and friends in the ACC stands including a billet family he lived with for five years in Peterborough. But I got the bugs out and the jitters. I was fairly nervous the entire game, but thats pretty normal being in my hometown and my first NHL game. It was to be expected and Im just happy we got the win.
Perhaps it was the best introduction for a Toronto kid that was making his NHL debut after seven long minor league hockey seasons and 449 games in the AHL and ECHL before he saw how they do it in the big leagues.
Obviously I wasnt expecting to score in my first game, said Tardif. It helped calm me down a little bit that Im not an 18 or 19-year-old kid and I got more comfortable as the game went on.
Tardif did end up getting a little bit of time in the game and finished with a shot on net and a pair of hits in eight shifts and 5:03 of time in the game. The shot was a decent tester off a Johnny Boychuk pass that got the journeyman on the scoresheet, but he also showed some good grittiness levels skating on the fourth line.
It was Tardif that lined up Phil Kessel in the neutral zone in the second period and spun him around like a top, and that body contact led to Round 2 of MacDermid and Fraser in the Bs offensive end. The Providence Bruins forward knows its those kinds of plays that will help him fit in with a fourth line comprised of Gregory Campbell and MacDermid for the time being.
I happened to catch Kessel and then MacDermid came out of nowhere for that second fight, said Tardif. Its a part of the game. Its one of the things that I need to bring into the lineup.
Tardif just hopes he gets more chances to show what he can do in the Bruins lineup, but that will all depend on the health status of guys like Daniel Paille and Brad Marchand moving forward.