As TSN reported the story on Sunday afternoon, a very relieved Manny Fernandez said that he was thrilled to be a member of the Boston Bruins.
"I was prepared for it," he told TSN shortly after his trade to Boston. "And I am pretty psyched."
The new Bruins goalie has echoed the same sentiments since, and said he had been disappointed when earlier rumors about being dealt to the Black & Gold fell through.
"I thought we had lost (the chance) when it came to draft day," said Fernandez Sunday via phone from Canada. "We heard that Boston (had strong interest), but when the deal fell apart I thought that would be the last time that I heard (about) them.
"But the important thing for me is that today is a great day.
"I am looking forward to turning the page," he said.
|John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker. |
The page that need be turned was last season in Minnesota -- he suffered a knee injury and lost his starting job to Niklas Backstrom.
"That was the…clincher, I think," said Fernandez of his eventual departure from the Wild. "When I first got hurt, for him to play that well all the way through to the playoffs…I thought my job was in jeopardy.
"And I understand that hockey is a business and as a hockey player these days I think you have to prepare yourself mentally for that kind of change."
Fernandez had been a part of similar changes earlier in his career and, in fact, had outlasted fellow netminders Jamie McClennan and Dwayne Roloson over the last six seasons to enter the 2006-07 campaign as Minnesota's de facto number one.
But his injury, coupled with the outstanding play of Backstrom (with whom Fernandez shared the Jennings Trophy, for lowest team goals-against-average), prematurely ended his tenure with the Wild.
Asked if it would be strange to move on, especially since he was one of the original members of Minnesota's expansion club, Ferenandez was philosophical.
"Of course," said Manny. "You don't get traded everyday.
"In my case, all I can say is that this was something that I was looking forward to.
"(Sometimes) you come to a point in your career where I think you need to experience something else…and as I have said Boston, from what I see on paper, is a great team and I think we can accomplish a lot more than last year," he said. "It's a good challenge and it's something that me and my family were looking forward to."
Fernandez, like many people in the Boston organization, is excited about what new coach Claude Julien can bring to the table and feels as if his own development in Minnesota will fit in nicely with his new organization.
"He's always been sound defensively," said Manny of Coach Julien's style. "He's always believed in defense.
"(And in Minnesota) it was always defense first and then you go from there."
There will be no surprises health wise, either.
"I sprained my MCL," said Fernandez of last January's injury. "And the big issue was trying to get that ligament (back in shape) as soon as possible.
"It was not a big injury to start with, but it was just frustrating because we tried to push it too hard.
"So, this summer I am taking a lot more time off and just relaxing (it)…I think it feels a lot better."
So no worries going forward, Manny?
"I saw another doctor in Montreal and he said my knee was going to be 100%," said Fernandez.
For his part, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli sounded content to have landed Fernandez.
"Manny is a goalie who has been part of a winning duo and has also led the charge himself," said Chiarelli on Sunday afternoon. "He's a guy we had our eye on for a while.
"We made some overtures (to Minnesota) at the draft and we able to obtain him early (Sunday) morning."
His assets are numerous according to Chiarelli.
"He's got some size. He is quick post to post. He's experienced…he's very competitive and yet he's technically very sound, also. There are a lot elements to what (he can) bring (to a team) that attracted us to him."
Chiarelli, like Fernandez is sure that his medical issue is behind his new goalie.
"That was my understanding," said Chiarelli. "We basically exchanged medical reports and our doctors spoke with their doctors and we were satisfied.
"He was schedule to be cleared (to play) this week, actually…had it been the season, subject to his conditioning he would have been cleared to play."
And the Bruins GM feels that Fernandez will be able to tackle a whole lot of work.
"I would say 55-60 (games)," said Peter. "We feel he can (do that)."
"I would envision that in an ideal world…but if it's him and (Tim or Hannu) pushing each other, I'd be happy with that, too."
No matter what the circumstance, Fernandez, is now ready to don the Spoked-B and skate for an Original Six team. His previous NHL totals are excellent what with 293 games played, a 125-113-24-8 record as well as a .913 save percentage and 2.47 GAA , Manny looks to do what is necessary to come to Boston ready to shine.
"I am willing to work as hard as I can this summer to be prepared for camp," he said