On Thursday, February 26th, the Boston Bruins left the Anaheim Ducks beaten and bruised in the aftermath of a resounding 6-2 victory for the Black & Gold.
As Ducks defenseman Steve Montador left the visitor’s locker room and strolled past the Bruins end of the hallway, he caught up with Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ference
, and Stephane Yelle -- current Bruins who just happened to be former teammates Montador's dating back to their time during the 2003-04 season in Calgary.
“Maybe we’ll see you in the Finals,” said Montador, in passing.
“Well, maybe," replied Montador’s group of cronies with a quip. "Are you getting traded?”
Montador admits that he’s still not sure whether it was a playful jab at Montador's former team based on the night’s performance, or a foretelling of what was to come.
“Sure enough, a week later, here I am.”
Indeed, just six days later, on March 4th, in the first of two trades involving Boston on trade deadline day, Montador became a Bruin as the B's acquired the defenseman from Anaheim in exchange for forward Petteri Nokelainen.
The transition period for the mobile defensemen has been a learning experience, but having played with some of his teammates sure has helped.
Said Montador, “There’s definitely more of a comfort level having familiarity with some of the players here.”
“Quite frankly, the rest of the players and the coaching staff has been that much more accommodating, helping me get accustomed to the system and expectations.”
When getting accustomed, his vast knowledge of a myriad of defensive systems that he learned in Anaheim -- which prepared him for any given situation on the West Coast -- has allowed him to adapt to Boston’s system. And on a team that has looked to fill some gaps in order to prepare a more solid playoff package dialed to go deep in the playoffs, Montador knows his role.
“I feel my role is keeping things simple, move pucks up and down the ice and play solid in the defensive zone. If I can help be a piece of the puzzle, then I’m excited to do that,” he said.
In what has been a tough sequence of games recently in which the Bruins have struggled to pocket points that seemingly came effortlessly in the first half of the season, the newcomer pinpoints what the team needs to successfully do to come out on top night in and night out through the remainder of the regular season.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s a matter of sticking to the type of game we like to play, which is a fast, ‘in your face’ style of game for 60 minutes.”
Montador has sampled the taste of the Stanley Cup finals when the Flames came up on the short end in 2004. His current team though, he contests, has what it takes to do more than just sample postseason play.
“We’ve got depth at every position. When you look at that, we’ve got size, we’ve got speed, we’ve got goaltending,” said Montador. “There’s no specific ingredient, but we seem to have quite a few that seem to be working."
And who knows, If the Bruins can successfully mix those ingredients together, then maybe we actually will see Montador playing in late spring.