BostonBruins.com - Tyler Randell just wants to play his game.
Fortunately, he’s part of an organization that really, really appreciates the type of game he plays.
Randell is a big, bruising winger. At 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, he may not quite be Milan Lucic or Shawn Thornton, but those are the Bruins he looks to model his game after.
“They’re big guys, they’re energy players, and they’re good at their roles,” said Randell. “They make simple plays, get pucks to the net and bury chances when they’re there.”
Opportunities for Randell weren't coming as easily for him this season in Providence; his offense was slow to develop. But now he’s at the point where he, too, can be burying those chances.
His first goal of the season came on February 5, in the form of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. He followed that up with a Gordie on March 9, with a four-point game in Providence's 9-3 win over Adirondack.
Since then, he has slowly been building confidence, the kind of confidence that comes from - as Shawn Thornton would likely tell you - good old-fashioned hard work.
The Bruins selected Randell in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, after he had spent two full seasons with the Belleville Bulls and the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League.
Randell finished out a five-season junior career before making the jump to Providence during the 2011-12 season.
It's been a process of perseverance for Randell, who split last season in 2012-13 between the P-Bruins and Boston's ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays.
As is often the case with players trying to break through to the next level, Randell has had his share of ups and downs, fighting to stay up with Providence and further develop his game.
Now in his third pro season, Randell has four goals and six assists for seven points in 36 games in 2013-14, with a plus-1 rating and 80 penalty minutes.
While he knows that the physical side of his game can’t be the only side of his game, he’s trying to establish some consistency and incorporate more offense to fill out his power forward role.
This season, the offense may have been slow to come, but Randell has fought through it to find a scoring touch, while maintaining that toughness and energy that make him such a valuable component of the team, along with fellow "crashers and bangers" Anthony Camara and Bobby Robins.
“I’m just trying to work on my game in my own zone — just being strong on the boards getting pucks out,” said Randell, of his main focus for improvement. “And obviously, the physical part — creating energy for the team and sticking up for teammates, and obviously taking the puck to the net when I can.”
Through his 36 games in Providence (as of March 19), Randell had logged 12 fighting majors on the season.
While he's seen improvement in his game, he knows that to be successful in the Bruins' system, you have to have a solid two-way game.
“They’re a very coachable group — they buy in to what a Boston Bruin looks like and what they need to be,” Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said of his squad. “And we again try to do all of those things down here that they do up there, in terms of accountability away from the puck and playing a 200-foot game.”
And playing hard to against - like Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell - takes a whole lot of hard work.
“It’s definitely my main goal, coming out and creating energy for the guys,” said Randell. “And if I do my job, and the rest will follow."
"So I kind of get that out of the way, get the guys going and then just play my game and focus on playing hockey - and go from there.”