Boris Valabik wasn’t the biggest name involved in the February 18 trade that sent Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler to Atlanta for Rich Peverley
|Valabik. Click here for the full Prospect Report (PDF). |
When he takes the ice for the Providence Bruins, though, he is easily one of the biggest players on the ice. At 6’7” and 245 pounds, it’s hard to miss the giant Slovakian.
“I think a lot of times my reach is playing a big role on the ice, and I’m trying to use it to my best advantage,” Valabik said. “Obviously, being a physical defenseman, size never hurts.”
Valabik is known by some Bruins fans for fighting fellow Slovakian big man Zdeno Chara
, as well as Shawn Thornton
, in December 2008 when Valabik was with the Thrashers. Valabik has a lot of respect for his fellow countryman.
“I’d be lying if I said I’m not paying attention to [Chara]. He’s a guy that a lot of guys look up to, it’s not just me,” Valabik said. “I’m not saying I’m ever going to be Zdeno, but I’m going to work hard and I’m going do my best to be the best player I can be.”
Valabik, a native of Nitra, Slovakia, hopes to one day be on the TD Garden ice alongside Chara. For now, he’s been skating with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. His first game in Providence was the Whale Bowl, an outdoor game held at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
“[The Whale Bowl] was fun. It’s something I’m glad I did, but at the same time I don’t think I ever want to do it again,” Valabik said. “It was freezing cold. At times it was pretty miserable. I’m glad I didn’t have to think about it too much because I didn’t have time to think about it, that the day I got traded we were playing that outdoor game, and I didn’t know before.”
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli commented that while Valabik has room to improve, the B’s are willing to be patient.
“He’s a big Slovakian defenseman who played in Kitchener (OHL) and has been playing in their minor league system and had played some games with the Thrashers,” Chiarelli said at a press conference announcing the trade. “He’s still a project but he’s a guy we’re willing to work with.”
“I don’t think you can ever be satisfied with what you can do,” Valabik said. “I try [to work on] everything.”---Mike Brown