Boston, MA –
As they prepare to rematch the Senators this afternoon at TD Garden, the Bruins have the obstacles piling up against them.
is not one of them.
In fact, in the recent rash of injuries and inconsistency in the lineup, the centerman, who is fresh from Providence, has earned a reputation for reliability.
“I think his teammates like the way he’s come in and competed hard and made things happen,” said head coach Claude Julien. “He’s been good for us and we’ve been fortunate to have him through these tough times.”
Whifield registered his first point with the Bruins with an assist on Michael Ryder’s first period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday. Rather than celebrate, Whitfield said he’s ready for more.
“It’s nice to get that over with and don’t look back now,” he said. “Hopefully we can just keep it going.”
The 32 year-old Saskatchewan native is in his 12th professional season, having played with the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues before stepping out on the ice for the B’s.
“I’ve got to step in and play a big role,” Whitfield said. “My role has been broadened a little bit so I’ve got to step up now and produce a little bit more offensively.
“I’ve got a chance to play this many minutes that I am right now, I’ve got to contribute a little more than just taking faceoffs and chipping pucks out.”
Drafted by Boston as their fifth pick in 1996, Whitfield had never signed with them before this season. As the adage goes, “Better late than never.”
Whitfield, flanked by Michael Ryder and Miroslav Satan, was an offensive force against the Blue Jackets. In an otherwise unfortunate game, their line proved that the B’s still have some fire left in them.
Following the 5-1 loss, Julien emphasized the efforts made by the three players, two of which have only been in Boston for less than a month.
“I think a lot of it was, again, the individuals that were on that line just work so hard and they made things happen,” said Julien. “So that line was a nice surprise for us tonight.”
Whitfield, or “Whits” as his new teammates call him, is confident that the Bruins will prove they haven’t given up on the season. With him on their first line this afternoon, they have a good chance of doing just that.
“When you’re in a funk like this, you’ve got to continue to work hard and if we continue to do the little things right and work hard, we’re going to come out of it,” he said. “It’s inevitable.”