By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON It was expected the Bruins would bring a veteran forward or two into training camp with the idea the right candidate might fill some of the leadership void created by Mark Recchis retirement.
Jay Pandolfo was among those with whom Bs GM Peter Chiarelli discussed potential training camp tryout invites, but the Bruins ultimately settled on longtime NHL veteran Chris Clark. The Bs newcomer arrived on Tuesday for captains practice and skated around with a No. 71 on the back of his helmet.
Clark, 35, has some history with the Bruins leadership group after playing with Andrew Ference on the Calgary Flames team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and hes also dropped the gloves with Shawn Thornton amid some vicious AHL team rivalries over the years.
I think we fought once in the AHL, but I dont really remember it or who won, said a smiling Clark. Maybe I dont really want to remember it.
Clark has played parts of 11 NHL seasons with the Flames, Capitals and Blue Jackets and was the former Caps captain after potting 30 goals and topping 50 points during the 2006-07 campaign in Washington. Injuries nagged at Clark over the last few seasons, but the winger was still able to produce 15 points in 53 games for a Columbus team adrift in the Western Conference last season.
Clark had several training camp offers over the summer, but took the opportunity to join the Stanley Cup champs and potentially join the veteran chorus steering the Boston leadership group. The winger would also fill a bottom six forward role and a spot on the penalty kill when utilized in the lineup, but the veteran leadership component appears to be as important as his performance on the ice.
Im always excited for camp, but Id rather be two weeks into camp, said Clark. I know who everybody is from playing against them, but Im looking forward to getting to know them on a personal level. I had a couple of camp offers, but nothing great.
I talked to Peter Chiarelli and they were looking for somebody like me. Whether it becomes me or not remains to be seen. Its up to me, but well see what happens. The off-the-ice stuff was definitely important for a potential role with the Bruins, but the on-ice stuff is pretty important too.
For now, however, Clark is simply a veteran player attempting to hook on with a hockey team and said it felt a bit like a kid on the first day at a new school. Hes looking to carve out a niche just like everybody else in Bs camp and wants to make a good impression in the preseason schedule, set to begin next Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.