Wilmington, MA --
After missing 41 regular season games over the past two years due to injury, and all of last season’s playoff run with a fractured tibia, Boston Bruins winger Chuck Kobasew is back in Black & Gold and looks forward to a healthy 2008-09.
“It’s just good to be back and see the guys and be skating with the group again,” said Kobasew. “It took a long time -- a lot longer than we thought it would. But I got some good training at the end of the summer and I feel good.”
Despite being a man of few words, Kobasew, who has been in the pros since 2002, understands that he is now one of the players that younger skaters are looking to for leadership.
Chuck feels up to the challenge.
“I think all of the older guys want to be leaders,” he said. “I’m not a real vocal guy, so I go out there, work hard, and try to lead by example."
Another lead by example guy, Stephane Yelle, who was a teammate of Kobasew’s while with the Flames, is another reason that Chuck is excited about the upcoming season.
“He’s won Cups, he’s a veteran guy and he’s the kind of guy we need in the locker room,” said Kobasew. “He does the little things, like block shots and those big draws, and that is good for all of us to learn from.”
“I’m not a real vocal guy, so I go out there, work hard, and try to lead by example." - Chuck Kobasew
Kobasew also thinks the crease looks to be well tended as well, what with all-star goalie Tim Thomas
returning and standout Manny Fernandez returning to the fold.
While he was with Calgary, Kobasew ran into Fernandez in the Western Conference plenty of times.
“Manny is very good,” said Kobasew. “Fundamentally, he is always taking his angles (correctly) and doesn’t give you a lot to shoot at.
“When I played against him when he was in Minnesota, he was always up there as one of the top guys in goals against, so it’s good to have two good goaltenders and a lot of great competition there.”
Finally, however, the forward believes that simply getting the entire team, including Patrice Bergeron
, on the ice will be the biggest hope for improving the team’s playoff standing and performance.
“He looks really good out there and he’s in great shape, so that’s good,” said Kobasew. “With Bergy being one of our best forwards, we missed him, and it’s exciting to have him back.
“I just think getting our lineup together is going to make a big difference, overall.”
Clearly, the return of a healthy Chuck Kobasew can't hurt, either.