Fernandez, who played only four regular-season games for the Bruins last season before a knee injury forced him to sit out the rest of the year, will start in net during the B’s preseason game against the Montreal Canadiens in Halifax.
“There’s no sense in waiting to get back out on the ice,” Fernandez said after this morning’s first on-ice session.
His coach agrees.
"What went through my mind was, let’s not prolong this any longer, let’s get him into action right away and give him a chance to get himself back into game shape and used to playing games again," said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We sort of thought the first game would be a good time for him, and then [Tim Thomas
], Tuukka [Rask] and [Kevin] Nastiuk will all have an opportunity to play some games."
After being out for so long, Fernandez said there is a lot of nervousness, but he hopes playing in the first game will help it go away quickly.
“There will be a lot of adrenaline running through my veins…but I’ve been through this before, so hopefully I can get through that,” he said. “It will be nice to get the nerves out of the way right off the bat.”
Playing in the game will be one of the first steps in leaving last season behind and becoming a part of this year’s team.
“There’s no sense in looking back anymore, so now that the season has started, I hope I can just move forward,” Fernandez said. “You obviously can’t look back at the missed ice time, so I’ve got to take advantage of this practice time leading up to the season as much as possible.”
But he’ll have to vie for playing time with two rookie goaltenders and three others, including Tim Thomas
“Tim played in a lot of games last year, so he doesn’t necessarily need a heavy workload at this point,” Fernandez said. “Also, there are some younger guys they want to get a look at. But hopefully I can go out there, get my feet wet and then just start working on getting better every day.”
That will be much easier now that he’s finally able to fully use his body, without having to worry about protecting his knee.
Still, Fernandez says he’s going to take it one game at a time.
“I’m going to focus on what I can do now to get better and go from there,” he explained. “If I start to look at the big picture and start worrying about giving up goals, then I’ll get away from my main goal, which is to get my game back as quickly as possible.”
That includes any time during Monday’s preseason game – and the games to follow – as well.
“I’m going to try my best to keep my eyes off the scoreboard,” Fernandez said.