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Malcom Subban Gets First Call to Boston

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. - On Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, following a few hours of pre-practice drills and a standard team skate with a shootout tacked on the end, Malcom Subban took a seat in his stall, took a minute to catch his breath, and took down a protein drink.

Just another day's work for the goaltender.

Only, this was after his first official NHL practice with the big club, following his first NHL recall on Friday morning.

"Just try to take a professional approach and get myself ready for practice and practice hard and try hard every shot," said Subban, of his approach to the callup. "And just be ready in case anything happens. When you're up here, anything can happen, so I'm just trying to stay focused right now and practice hard."

In his second year pro, Subban was taking in the experience of being in the Bruins' dressing room, seating next to Tuukka Rask's equipment, though his stay could due short.

General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced the recall in conjunction with another roster transaction that sent Boston's backup Niklas Svedberg to the Providence Bruins on a conditioning loan.

Svedberg hadn't played in NHL game action since Jan. 8. With Rask on a recent tear coinciding with the Bruins' confident play, the backup served his role, and kept himself ready. But Rask's 9-1-4 record in his last 14 starts proves the groove that he's in isn't likely ending anytime soon.

Svedberg has a 5-5-0 record this season, with 12 appearances, a 2.22 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

"The main reason was to give Sveddy some games here. He's only played two in the last month or so," Head Coach Claude Julien said following Friday's practice. "It's important - we have a pretty tough stretch coming up. We need him to be at his best and so we need him to get some games in, so that's the main purpose."

"And right now as we speak, it's supposed to be just a weekend thing, which could change along the way. So that's the reasoning behind it."

"Obviously the plan is for me to just stay the weekend and we'll see what happens," Subban echoed.

Though the stint will likely be brief for both Svedberg in Providence, and Subban with Boston, both will take advantage of the situations.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity and I'm honored to be here right now and pretty excited I got the call," said a smiling Subban, sitting in the Bruins' locker room for the first time since training camp. "Pretty big surprise but I'm happy right now."

"Anytime a player gets called up, especially if it's your first one, you're really excited and just trying in as much as you can," he added. "It's a little different from exhibition and training camp, so I'm just trying to stay focused right now and practice as well as I can."

Naturally, being with the big club means Subban is itching to get his first NHL start. Since that may not be a possibility this time around, the 21-year-old is looking to just absorb as much as he can.

"You get your first callup, you're so overwhelmed by everything you know, but you just try to stay focused and do as much as you can and try and practice hard," he said. "So that's what I'm doing right now."

Subban is in the midst of being named CCM/AHL Player of the Week (announced on Jan. 28) after allowing just three goals on 91 shots in three starts last week, going 2-1-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage.

"For sure, obviously Player of the Week's a huge honor and I'm just going to try and build off that and I'm going to keep going up from here," said Subban.

He has played in 22 games for the P-Bruins this season, posting a 9-10-2 record, with a 2.47 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

"I feel there's been some ups and downs, like with every player," Subban said. "For the most part, I definitely feel more positives than negatives. I feel like last couple weeks I've really stepped up my game and I feel more comfortable in the net."

The callup may have come as a result from Svedberg needing to get games in before a long Feburary road trip and busy month of March when he'll need to, like Julien said, be at his best, but Subban is still grateful for the chance.

It also serves as a nice reward for the netminder, with his strong play as of late.

"I like to think that," said Subban. "And just try and use it as motivation now and just keep playing hard when I get the opportunity."

"And practice hard."

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