Boston, MA – As the Boston Bruins head coach prepared to leave the TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday night, Claude Julien expressed nothing but excitement as he talked about the Black & Gold’s newest forward, former Montreal Canadien Michael Ryder.
“I know him extremely well,” said a smiling Julien. “I had him, not only in juniors (and the NHL), but also in the American Hockey League in Hamilton.
“Every year that I have had him…he’s had success.
“And he’s a guy who’s capable of scoring goals, which is something that we need,” he said.
Julien characterizes his new winger as a complete player.
“He is good down low, strong on the puck and has a great release and a good shot,” he said. “He is capable of being physical and I think our style of play fits him to a ‘t’.
“There’s no doubt he’ll be a good fit for our hockey club.”
Beyond his physical gifts, Julien praised his once and future player’s tenacity.
"Michael’s got a real good work ethic – always has,” said the B’s bench boss. “He works hard and he makes things happen.
“He caught on to that pretty quickly and that’s why he’s had a couple of thirty goal seasons.”
The versatile forward can be used on special teams, as well.
“He is a power play guy,” said Julien. “Even in Junior and the American League I used him to kill some penalties at times.
“He’s a player who can do more than just scoring goals…you can’t ask for much more.”
Asked about Ryder’s uncharacteristic stats from last season, Julien seemed unconcerned.
“Last year was a tough year for him and he probably didn’t quite ‘fit’ as he did in the past,” said Julien. “So this is an opportunity to come to a team that, I think, will definitely use his type of player to its advantage…our scoring chances were there last year and our finish wasn’t that good.
“And he’s normally a guy who finishes well.”
As straightforward a guy as there is in hockey, Julien simply could not mask his pleasure at the B’s latest signing.
“There is no doubt that our organization is pretty happy to have him,” said the B’s head coach. “Again, you always try and find players that fit into what you want to do and we were pretty clear at the end of the year that we wanted to improve our offensive numbers.