– When Brian Rolston
was just six years old, he skated alongside Tim Thomas
while the two grew up in Flint, Mich.
At that time, there was no telling if the two would end up in the NHL together – let alone playing for the same team.
But thanks to a trade with the New York Islanders before yesterday’s 3 p.m. deadline, Rolston is again reunited with the Bruins net-minder, as they will play together for the second time in their NHL careers.
Thomas and forward Patrice Bergeron
are the only two players that were on the Bruins when Rolston was here through the 1999-04 seasons.
“It was great, obviously a great bunch of guys here,” Rolston said, reflecting on his first morning skate with his new team. “They really seemed to embrace me, which makes it nice as a new face. I know a few guys – Patrice, it was his first year in the league when I was here. Obviously Tim Thomas
, we’ve gone way back a long way. It’s good to be a part of this team and a lot of fun.”
Rolston added that he’s just excited to be part of the team, regardless of he knows. As a 19-year NHL veteran, Rolston, 39, assumed that he would be traded considering his contract was expiring.
He wasn’t sure exactly where he would be going, but he said he is more than grateful to be coming to Boston.
“I couldn’t be happier this team picked me up,” Rolston said. “Like I said, it’s going to be, I think a great fit for me. I think there a defense-first minded hockey team, which I’ve pretty much played my whole career.”
Throughout his career, and especially with the Bruins, Rolston has established himself as a reliable special teams player. In his first stint with the Black & Gold, he had a total of 101 goals and 135 assists (236 points) in 338 games, and he set a franchise record with nine shorthanded goals in the 2001-02 season.
However, Head Coach Claude Julien said that he still wants to get a feel for the situation, rather than immediately throwing Rolston on the special teams unit against the Ottawa Senators.
“We give players time to kind of fit in and then we see where he’s going to help us best,” Julien said. “When it comes to power plays, he has a great shot, he’s a good skater and there’s a lot of assets there.
“[It’s] certainly something that we have to look at, but I don’t want to commit myself to something I wont be able to follow up here, because certain things happen and we felt it better to do it a different way. That will probably be a situation where you feel your way through it.”
Even so, Julien said he was excited to have Rolston and teammate Mike Mottau
, who was also acquired in the deal, in the lineup tonight and for the rest of the season.
“We talked about adding some depth and the depth that we got are experienced players. And depth doesn’t mean they don’t belong in our lineup, it just means we have a lot more options now,” Julien said.
“We’ve run into some injuries lately that’s been a challenge in itself to keep our lineup going in the right direction, so now there’s a little bit more breathing room as far as putting some guys in that have been around for a while.”--- Anthony Gulizia