There was the fact that he didn’t know many people, although (assistant coach) Geoff Ward and head coach Claude Julien have coached him before, “but that’s pretty much it” confessed Ryder, who also got to hang his skates in the Bruins locker room, not the visitor’s one.
But the biggest difference was probably that the black-and-gold-clad fans that turned out to watch that morning’s sessions were cheering for Ryder’s team, not booing.
And there were no Montreal Canadiens jerseys.
“I saw one, one Ryder Montreal jersey,” the Hab-turned-Bruin corrected with a laugh. “It’s a little different, and it’ll take a couple days to get adjusted.
“But it’s good to be here, and I’m just excited to get started.”
After a rough last season, much of which was spent on the Canadien bench, Ryder has good reason to be excited. Ever since he signed with the Bruins over the summer, Ryder looked forward to a very different season in 2008-09.
“I’d see the way [the Bruins] played in the playoffs, and I liked their style, and I thought that the way they played would be a really good fit for me,” Ryder said. “I had a couple of other options, but I thought this was the best one.”
After his first official practice as a Bruin, Ryder had his praises returned from the other side of the locker room.
) said out there today, which I like to hear, ‘I don’t want to have the puck, I want to give it to you and then go to the net,’” explained Ryder. “I think he’s going to be really good, and I’m excited.”
Savard has a playmaking style might take some time to get used to, but Ryder is certainly ready.
“I’m going to have to get used to someone who’s willing to pass a lot,” he said. “A couple of times he caught me off-guard, but it shouldn’t take that long to get back into the game, playing with him and [Milan] Lucic.”
And there was even more praise for Lucic, Ryder’s other linemate on Saturday morning.
“He hits hard,” Ryder said simply, adding that he noticed that last season during Habs-Bruins games. “He’s young, so he’s got a good career ahead of him. I think he intimidates guys and opens up the ice a lot more for his teammates.”
Head coach Claude Julien warned that the lines for practice were just tests, and that they could – and probably will – change as the season progresses, but the newly-formed Lucic-Savard-Ryder line is looking to make an impression and stay together.
“I’m hoping [chemistry] comes pretty quick, or else there’ll be a line change,” said Savard. “So we just need to try and gel early.”
While they only have one more day of practice before the first exhibition contest (ironically enough, against the Habs), there are eight games to work with during the preseason. But as for what the lineup and playing time will look like for the games, Ryder said he had “no idea yet.
“I guess they’ll just let us know tomorrow or Monday.”
Julien may not have known what the lines would look like on opening night, but he did let the press in on what he felt the Bruins gained by signing Ryder.
“He’s hard to knock down, and he’s also a guy that, when you’ve got him on his game, he gives you more than that,” said Julien. “He can be extremely reliable.
“I remember the first year I had him in Montreal, and he was one of three rookies, and they ended up being our best players that year. He’s very capable of being a solid two-way player.”