BostonBruins.com — Bobby Robins smiles a lot.
But the P-Bruins beat cop was positively beaming after we asked his linemates Christian Hanson and Lane MacDermid about their trio's moniker — the Buzz Saw.
"Can’t share those secrets," said Hanson with a smirk. "I’d love to, but I don’t have the permission to talk about that. You’ll have to get it from Buzz Saw himself."
"Who's the Buzz Saw?" asked BostonBruins.com.
"I’d say that’s more of Bobby Robins," said MacDermid, also fighting a smile. "We call him the Buzz Saw, so he always shows that.
"'Buzz saw' is just mucking hard, and hitting guys, and being physical, that’s more of his type of thing."
Far from a traditional pro-hockey enforcer, Robins has a lot of "things."
A pugnacious, four-year letterman at UMass-Lowell — and an English major — the the AHL tough guy has plenty to say on his popular blog, and was happy to spin a yarn about his nickname Buzz Saw and how he, Hanson and MacDermid adopted the nickname.
"This all started last year when I was fired up one day, and was talking about getting in the forecheck hard, and I said let’s get the buzz saw going, let’s get the buzz saw forecheck going," said Robins. "It just kind of stuck around, and everyone started calling me the Buzz Saw.
"Everybody does it and they go, 'Bzz, bzz, bzz,' before the games, and say, 'All right let’s get the buzz saw going.'
"They started calling me that, and then all of a sudden our line — Hanson really caught on to it — and he started saying the buzz saw all the time, and somehow it became the Buzz Saw line."
Truth be told, all three players have a bit of "shift disturber" to them, and always have.
"It’s pretty simple," began Hanson. "It’s a formula that I know I’ve played for a while, and I think [Robins] and [MacDermid] have done as well.
"You get the puck deep, and once you get the puck deep you get in there and bang bodies.
"Once you start banging bodies, it creates a little more room and some space for you."
It also creates more space for other Providence Bruins.
"It’s very important," said offensively talented defenseman Torey Krug. "I can tell you from experience I wouldn’t want to go out there against those guys.
"They get the puck behind you, and every time you touch the puck you know that you’re going to get hit. They bring a certain mentality to the team, and they bring a certain mentality to whoever is on the ice.
"They know they’re going to get hit, and they’re always looking around when those guys are on the ice," he said.
As for the multifaceted approach of his forechecking line, MacDermid said he just likes to keep his game simple.
"Obviously, sometimes it’s a little tough," said MacDermid of finding a balance between providing a tough forecheck, dropping the gloves and contributing on the scoresheet.
"That’s part of being a professional athlete — being focused all the time.
"The offense isn’t really our major game, so that’s more of a plus when we do produce some offense. We just focus on the job that need to do," he said.
Last Sunday, when the P-Bruins took down the St. John's IceCaps, the line did produce plenty of offense for Providence as both Robins and MacDermid potted goals and Hanson added two assists.
"It felt good to have our line just really come together…and play our brand of hockey, and really dictate every shift we were out there against our opponents," said Robins. "We try and do that every night, and it felt like last game against St. John’s it clicked, and everything really came together.
"Luckily, we got some points out of it on our line, so everything really felt good."
But none of the three have decided to keep their gloves on for long as they try and embody the Boston Bruins mantra of being "harder to play against."
"I love it. Like I said when I came here, that’s the type of game I’m going to play, that hard-nosed hockey," said Hanson, who's the son of another hard-hitting former pro, Slap Shot's Dave Hanson.
"I’m not going to go out there and look to fight every game, but like I showed on Friday [versus Worcester's Sena Acolatse], if it comes up and it’s something that needs to be done, it’s something I’ll take care of.
"It’s a mentality that I love, and I’m glad to be a part of it," he said.
Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy is happy to have that part in place on his P-Bruins.
"I always considered a buzz saw more a smaller guy," mused Cassidy. "But they can be train wrecks out there…blowing up people in the forecheck.
"And I think Bobby did it there the other night to [St. John's Raymond] Sawada, one of their big, heavy wingers. He blew him up 15 seconds into the game and set the tempo for us, and guys feed off that.
"The other team goes, wow, wait a minute, these guys are here to play, they’re big boys, they’re here. It can definitely have an effect. I don’t think you intimidate a lot of people in this day and age, but you do get their attention, and I think that line does that."
Beyond the recent kudos, however, the original Buzz Saw says his trio has an important and consistent role on the team.
"We joke about it and everything and call it the Buzz Saw, but at the end of the day, it’s a hard-nosed forecheck, and when we’re out there, we mean business," he said. "That’s part of our job, it’s to get the team going, and get some big hits, and really get the momentum going, and get the skill players enough space to do their thing.
"That’s what a checking line does," added Robins. "It’s definitely something we joke around about, but we take it seriously and take a lot of pride in calling ourselves the Buzz Saw line."