There has been a lot of speculation on how Benoit Pouliot
would fit in with the Boston Bruins, but both the team and new forward seem to be happy #67 is wearing a B on his chest.
After coming over from the Montreal Canadiens, Pouliot didn’t quite know what to expect when he walked into a new locker room, rink and stadium. The 25-year-old has only been skating with the Black & Gold with September, but is now comfortable in his new sweater.
“I was hoping it was going to be like this and it’s perfect right now,” said a Pouliot with a grin.
The left wing is happy that his transition has gone smoothly. Pouliot knows that figuring out the X’s-and-O’s of a completely new team is not an easy thing to do, but the Bruins have helped him along.
Pouliot skated with Chris Kelly
and Tyler Seguin
to start the season off and saw time with David Krejci
and Rich Peverley
on Thursday night. The 2005 first round draft pick has done a good job of feeling out his role on the team, especially considering how quickly he was thrown into the mix.
The recently acquired Bruin has been a physical presence in front of the opponent’s net and has used his speed to frustrate other teams. In Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs, Pouliot’s hustle with the puck drew a Toronto tripping penalty to give the B’s a power play on which Boston capitalized.
Right now, Pouliot knows he is giving the B’s these kinds of offensive opportunities through his hard work and at the same time is being patient about tallying goals and assists.
“The points will come and I’m not too worried about that,” explained the forward.
“We’re working hard and I’m trying to make my linemates have a little easier job to play.”
In turn, he feels the fans have helped his job become easier.
Coming over from the Bruins biggest rival, the former Montreal Canadien wasn’t sure how he would be welcomed by the city of Boston. After five games at the TD Garden, Pouliot had nothing but good things to say about his new home crowd.
“I think the fans have been great," he said. "I didn’t really know what to expect when I came here. We played here often when I was in Montreal.
“The fans are pretty wild. It’s fun to watch.”
Pouliot not only enjoys being in this new atmosphere, but says it motivates him to play even harder.
“It’s nice to have them behind our backs and then play well after that. We’ve just got to play good and they’ll keep coming like they’re doing now, too, so it’s good for both of us,” added the new Bruin.
Now that the left wing feels like he’s been here a while, he looks to contribute even more to the Black & Gold as they play their third home game in a row Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.
Although the Bruins rarely see the Pacific Division team over the course of a season, Pouliot knows what the Sharks are capable of. Benoit was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2005 and played with the new NHL franchise in St. Paul from 2006-2010. Having spent time in the Western Conference, the forward knows each season San Jose is a powerhouse as the Sharks have made the playoffs every year since 2004.
“Every year they’re contenders in the West,” he said.
The Sharks aim to have another run at the cup as they made two of the biggest off-season NHL transactions by acquiring defenseman Brent Burns and forward Martin Havlat from Minnesota. Although the California team has brought in some new faces, Pouliot reminds everyone that the Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and the rest of the long-time Sharks consistently find a way to compete.
“You have Burns from Minnesota and a bunch of new guys—Havlat and stuff—so it’s going to be a different look on the team, but at the same time it’s probably the same core that had in the past.”
Now that Pouliot has adjusted to playing in Boston and to the B’s systems, his next step is to help shut down a high powered Sharks offense that is coming off a huge 4-3 shootout win last night against the New Jersey Devils. ---John Griffin