"Yeah, I wondered about it. I know eventually I could always play somewhere. It was just a matter of where and when, not if I will play or not." -- Newest Bruin Miroslav Satan on his return the Bruins
While his new teammates were packing up and jumping on a bus back to the team's hotel in midtown Manhattan, the 35-year-old was working with coaches on everything from speed drills to passing exercises.
The extra work isn't customary on the morning of a game for a veteran like Satan, but when you haven't played an NHL game in nearly six months and you're still 7-to-10 days from getting in the lineup; it's part of the territory.
The last time Satan participated in an NHL game was June 12, 2009. He was part of the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. He finished the regular season with 17 goals and 19 assists in 65 games and the postseason with the Stanley Cup raised above his head in victory.
Yet he couldn't find an offer he liked during the offseason and first half of the 2009-10 season.
"It was tough," Satan said of missing the NHL. "I enjoyed my time at home and all the free time I had. It was kind of nice after all the years of hockey."
One reason Satan enjoyed his time at home this summer -- and is probably exaggerating about his free time -- was the birth of his daughter, Viktoria, in July. Satan calls Long Island home -- he spent three seasons with the Islanders and worked out there during his hiatus -- and said his new child helped his stay patient when waiting for offers.
"Over the years, you are always busy, and this time I had lots of time to spend at home," Satan said. "You try to enjoy it."
The house husband put aside his lifestyle of diaper changes and soap operas when he signed with the Bruins on Jan. 3. It's the second team he's joined in the last week, as Satan was chosen to represent Slovakia at the 2010 Olympics earlier this week despite the fact he was unemployed at the time of his selection.
Not bad for a guy who considered the possibility that he played his last game in the NHL.
"Yeah, I wondered about it," Satan admitted. "I know eventually I could always play somewhere. It was just a matter of where and when, not if I will play or not."
Satan is targeting his Bruins debut either Jan. 9 at home against the New York Rangers or Jan. 13 on the road against the Anaheim Ducks. While he was signed to give the team's sagging offense a boost -- their 105 goals are more than only two teams -- Bruins coach Claude Julien sounds as though he hopes Satan's presence will motivate some of his underperforming players.
"There are some individual players that have not quite played to their potential, they've been OK, and you know how I feel about OK; it's never good enough," Julien said without naming names. "They can get a little better as individuals. If those things happen, I think you'll see us climb in the standings, you'll see us do much better."