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.

Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice


Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while officially in the Dead Zone of the NHL offseason.

*A great sight to see is Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo taking the ice in a summer league in Minnesota after a health scare at the end of last season.

*Nolan Patrick might be fresh off abdominal surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be rushed if he plays for the Flyers.

*Here’s an offseason power ranking of the offseason moves for the NHL teams, and the Bruins rank 28th out of 31 teams with the organization being “stuck” in the estimation of this writer. I don’t disagree that they’re kind of paralyzed right now until David Pastrnak signs an extension, with other things being held up because of that. The Paul Postma and Kenny Agostino signings were about as small time as you can get on July 1. But the Bruins’ goal for this summer wasn’t to win in the offseason moves department, but instead continue to let their interesting mix of young players and established veterans grow into an effective mix. Winning the offseason power rankings really isn’t the thing for the Black and Gold, and that’s perfectly okay given their situation.

*There’s a wide gap between the Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar with salary arbitration looming.

*It’s a good thing that Barstool Sports is here to ask the really tough questions, like whether Jaromir Jagr is being treated unfairly by NHL teams because of his hair.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Johnny Gaudreau really high on the window for the Calgary Flames to compete over the next three years with the young, talented group they have in place.  

*Nico Hischier is looking to be a playmaking force for the New Jersey Devils right off the bat after being the No. 1 overall pick in Jersey.

*A slew of soon-to-be college sophomores starred in development camps across the NHL and showed what they learned at the NCAA level.

*Classy tweet from the Arizona Coyotes wishing war hero and distinguished statesman John McCain well in his battle with brain cancer.

*Players that are on AHL contracts will be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics this season. While the loss of NHL participation would be a difficult blow to the Olympics and fans, part of me is happy that some of these AHL guys will get to experience playing for their country when they might not have been able to otherwise.  

*For something completely different: Paul Pierce sees some very good things with first-round pick Jayson Tatum, but he’ll need to see “killer instinct” from the Celtics rookie for him to live up to the Pierce comparisons.


AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics


AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

Players on American Hockey League contracts will be eligible to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President and CEO David Andrews confirmed through a league spokesman Wednesday that teams were informed they could loan players on AHL contracts to national teams for the purposes of participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs saying players could only be loaned for Olympic participation from Feb. 5-26.

The Olympic men's hockey tournament runs from Feb. 9-25. Like the NHL, which is not having its players participate for the first time since 1994, the AHL does not have an Olympic break in its schedule.

The AHL's decision does not affect players assigned to that league on NHL one- or two-way contracts. No final decision has been made about those players.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that the league had told its 31 teams that AHL players could be loaned to play in the Olympics. It was an AHL memo sent at the direction of that league's board of governors.

When the NHL announced in April that it wouldn't be sending players to South Korea after participating in five consecutive Olympics, Andrews said the AHL was prepared for Canada, the United States and other national federations to request players.

"I would guess we're going to lose a fair number of players," Andrews said in April. "Not just to Canada and the U.S., but we're going to lose some players to other teams, as well. But we're used to that. Every team in our league has usually got two or three guys who are on recalls to the NHL, so it's not going to really change our competitive integrity or anything else."

The U.S. and Canada are expected to rely heavily on players in European professional leagues and college and major junior hockey to fill out Olympic rosters without NHL players.