Montreal Canadiens' Michael Ryder, right, checks Carolina Hurricanes' Scott Walker during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press)
“I’m just excited to be a part of this. It’s something new for me this year, and I’m happy to go into a team that’s shown a lot of interest. I’m excited to start there and can’t wait for the season to begin.”
And with that, via conference call, former Montreal Canadien Michael Ryder began his career with the Boston Bruins.
Following a day full of praise from his new GM and his once and future coach, Ryder sounded perfectly content with his decision to join the Black & Gold.
“I’m excited,” he said of his signing with Boston. “I saw what they did in the playoffs and I liked what I saw.
“I felt it would be a good fit and I thought I could help them move in the right direction.
“I wanted to be a part of that,” said Ryder.
The previous evening, Peter Chiarelli listed the reasons that the B’s had worked so hard to land Ryder.
“He has a terrific shot, is very strong on the puck, plays a gritty game and he’s someone that we’ve targeted for a while and we’re fortunate to get him,” said the GM. “It was a long drawn out process starting shortly after noon and it was something that you have to be patient with.
“Cam Neely helped out and Claude helped out.
“Claude has a long history with Michael starting out in Juniors going to the American Hockey League and to Montreal,” he said.
On Ryder’s call, Julien spoke at length about Boston’s new winger.
“He’s gotten better in all the areas,” said Julien of the player he’s watched since junior hockey. “One of the things that Michael does well and has always done well is that he’s very good at winning battles along the boards, stepping out into the slot area, protecting the puck, and shooting the puck.
“He’s a guy that can be very physical as well. He’s capable of throwing his weight around, and that’s why he’s probably a good fit for us.
Julien also spoke specifically about where he thought Ryder would help his club the most.
“One thing we did last year, we worked really hard in the offensive zone,” he said. “We did create some chances, but many nights I thought the difference in the game was our lack of finish, and that’s where Michael comes in.
“He’s pretty good at finishing on his opportunities, and hopefully that will increase our goal output.”
“I think I can fit in pretty (well) with their style of play,” said Ryder, “like going to the corners.
“I don’t mind the physical part of the game, and I like shooting the puck in the net. They said they wanted somebody to do that, and I think I fit that role pretty (well).”
But there was more to his decision.
“I just think, fit-wise and (with) all the opportunities that they said they’re going to give me, I’m just excited to be going to a team that was that interested in me and wants me in a certain role that I hadn’t been in last year.