NEWARK, N.J. -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi will have at least seven family members in the crowd at Prudential Center on Saturday to witness the 21-year-old Maryland native make his NHL debut against the New Jersey Devils.
One of the family members is his dad, former NHL player Mark Tinordi, who is leading the family caravan up from Millersville, Md.
"I think he's pretty excited," Jarred Tinordi said Saturday morning. "Obviously he has brought me up in hockey. This is a big moment for me, but it's a big moment for him too."
Tinordi, Montreal's first-round pick in 2010, got the call from Canadiens management shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday night. He said the timing surprised him, but he called his dad immediately.
The 6-foot-6 defenseman practiced with the Canadiens in Montreal on Friday and said he struggled to fall asleep in the team hotel that night. He also admitted to having butterflies Saturday morning, but he's hoping to get a decent rest in the afternoon so he's ready for the game.
"[Josh] Gorges said to me today, 'You don't remember a lot of games but you always remember your first one,' " said Tinordi, who has 11 points in 55 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. "I'm just trying to soak up this experience and enjoy it."
That's the advice he's getting from a lot of his teammates.
"In his career he'll have a lot of NHL games, so the first one, just enjoy it," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban told NHL.com. "I remember mine when I played in Philly and it was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it."
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said his goal is to put Tinordi in situations that make him comfortable, so he will play some minutes on the penalty kill, a role he had in Hamilton.
"It's an exciting day and an important day for him, his close family and his friends," Therrien said. "He deserves to be with us. He played really well when he was in Hamilton and we just ask him to keep it simple. We ask him to be solid defensively. We ask him to make sure he's concentrating on making a good first pass. And, we want to put him in a position where he's going to be comfortable."