BOSTON, Mass. -- Growing up, South Windsor's Chris Clark might have been a Hartford Whalers fan, but these days the Connecticut native is looking to earn a Black & Gold jersey. And as he competes for a spot on the Boston Bruins, the forward is thrilled to be happy, healthy and home in New England.
"I’m feeling pretty good coming into camp which is the first camp in the last couple of years where I wasn’t rehabbing during the summer," said Clark following Sunday's practice. "It was a full summer of really getting ready for camp and doing everything necessary to be here. So I feel pretty good coming in."
The Bruins are feeling pretty good about Clark's being here, as well.
"To me, whenever we played against him, I always found him to be a hard player to play against," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "You talked about a guy that comes to play hard every night. He’s certainly one of those players and in a lot of ways he reminds me of a [Patrice] Bergeron who comes to the rink and is all business.
"A great guy, obviously well respected from his teammates, he’s been a captain in different places he’s been. And just from getting to know him a little more you can see why. That’s why he reminds me of Bergy a little bit. A guy you can have fun with who’s a good teammate, enjoys coming to the rink, but when he’s on the ice it’s all about business. And I’m very interested in seeing what he’s going to be able to show us in these preseason games and then see if he can’t earn himself a spot here.
"When you look back at his career I don’t think anybody is going to argue the fact that he’s got some Bruin qualities in him. And he might be a good fit for us," he said.
Clark sees that, too.
"This is always a fun team to play against, because [they play] the way I like to play," said Clark. "The game gets rough and guys pushing around and all that stuff.
"To be a part of that now and hopefully during the season, I think it’s going to be a good fit -- hopefully."
The former Clarkson University standout, who has made stops in Calgary, Washington and Columbus is ready to rekindle his usual role with Boston.
"I think to come out and obviously play the way I can play and not go outside of that," explained Clark. "Be consistent, be a good team guy and leader and stuff like that and I think hopefully in the end it’ll show that I should be here."
Clark said he is thrilled for the opportunity to show his stuff to the Bruins and earn a Black & Gold sweater.
"That would be awesome," he said. "Yesterday, I put the jersey on for the first time for the pictures and the media stuff so that was pretty special.
"Even though I wasn’t a diehard Bruins fan growing up, it was all over the place. They always had great teams, so they were [a team] that I definitely did follow as well.
"Growing up, South Windsor was only ten minutes outside of Hartford, so all the newspapers and the media and the news were all about the Whalers and stuff. Once they moved out, I gravitated a little toward the Bruins, but I [still have] 'Brass Bonanza' at the back of my head sometimes," he said.
Doesn't everyone from Connecticut? But there's a piece of memorabilia that might just turn prophetic for Clark.
"I can probably still grab a poster from my child bedroom that’s a Craig Janney poster," said Clark of former Bruins forward from Enfield, Connecticut -- just a few miles up Route 5 from Clark's hometown.
"So it’s in there somewhere and I should bring it in someday."