– Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk
admits he didn’t have his best year last season with Providence, after he finished with just one goal and 15 assists in 75 games.
But rather than getting frustrated with his performance, he set his sights on working hard in the offseason and as a result, he landed himself back in the Boston Bruins locker room.
The team announced Monday that Bodnarchuk was recalled from Providence, and he joined the team for Monday’s practice at TD Garden.
“[Saturday] my coach called me and kind of warned me and said it wasn’t for sure, but Sunday morning I got a call from [assistant general manager] Don Sweeney that said I’d be coming up,” Bodnarchuk said.
“[It’s] very exciting – it’s been along time since the last time I got up here. It wasn’t the greatest year for me last year so I put in a lot of hard work and I’m glad to be back here, but still have a long ways to go.”
Bodnarchuk is in his fourth season with the Providence, and the last time Bodnarchuk played for Boston was during the 2009-10 season, when he was called up for a five-game stint from April 3-11 and logged a total of 36:37 on the ice.
“Bodnarchuk’s done a pretty good job with us the few times he’s been up,” Head Coach Claude Julien said. “He’s a pretty stable, safe-type of defenseman moving the puck.
"His mobility is very good so he was a guy our group thought should come to us and make that road trip with us.”
The trip, which starts Wednesday with a game against Montreal, is an 11-day, six-game voyage and Bodnarchuk is excited to use the time and bond with the team.
“It’s always easier to get bonded on the road,” Bodnarchuk said. “You get to mingle with the guys and I think that will help my comfort level a little more. But, I already feel comfortable.
"Comparing it to the first time I got called up, I definitely don’t have the same nerves – I feel confident where my games at.”
The team hasn’t changed much since 2009 when Bodnarchuk was here, and also has some familiar friends with fellow Canadians Brad Marchand
and Adam McQuaid
-- both former teammates in Providence.
Beyond the AHL, Bodnarchuk and Marchand have an extensive history, dating back to their younger years growing up together and playing junior hockey for the Halifax Mooseheads. The pair was drafted on the same day, and they also roomed together when they were P-Bruins.
When Brad Marchand
was asked exactly how long he’s known his teammate for, a smirk came to his face.
“Too long,” Marchand joked. “Thirteen years or something like that.”
But in all seriousness, Marchand said he is happy to see Bodnarchuk get back to the NHL.
“He’s staying positive – he trains very hard and he was very dedicated,” Marchand said. “He was having a really good this year and he’s been a tough player.
"Now he’s up here, he’s excited and hopefully he can take advantage of the situation.”
In 47 games with Providence this season, Bodnarchuk has 15 points (4-11-15), which is just five less than he had all last season. Also, he spent just 30 minutes in the box, after picking up 90 penalty minutes last season.
Not only is Bodnarchuk having a better campaign, but he also feels confident that he will be able to transition easily to the Boston system, which is similar to what’s played in Providence.
“I think it will make the transition easier, and hopefully help me out in my game,” Bodnarchuk said. “The systems are the same so you sort of stick with the same rhythm and play the way you are.
"More than anything, things are just a little bit crisper, but it’s just [about] staying simple and learning everything I can while I’m up here.”--- Anthony Gulizia