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Ryder's Rebound

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
ATLANTA -- After a summer where many hockey pundits had his name on top of the list of salary cap casualties, Michael Ryder has regained his position of strength in the B's lineup.

Boston Bruins left wing Mark Recchi, right, celebrates with teammate Michael Ryder after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. Boston won 4-3. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
"Yeah, you know,  definitely I wanted to rebound from last year, especially with the offensive touch," said Ryder. "That’s my main goal this season, to make sure I get off to a good start and I think things evolved from there."

This afternoon, after the club's morning skate, Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien talked about Ryder's revamped offense and noted that the winger has drawn plenty of penalties, too.

"When you look at some of the penalties he’s had taken on him, a lot of it has been his moving his feet and getting around players," said Julien. "I think I remember last time at home against Atlanta he got by their player and they dragged him down.

"When Mike;s feet are moving and he’s on top of his game he’s capable of that and the one thing he always had strength in was coming out of the corner with the puck and bringing it to the slot area well.

"A lot of times guys were hooking on to him and he created some of those penalties so those are things that certainly indicate that he’s on his game a lot more than he was probably last year at this time."

Last season, Ryder, who is a two-time 30 goal scorer, had 18-15-33 totals in 82 games. This season, through just 35 games, Ryder is 11-12-23 and admits to putting more effort into certain aspects of his game following what was an admittedly down 2009-10 campaign.

"Just probably working harder in different areas, you know? And touching on things [like] tring to relax here, not thinking too much and stuff like that," he said. "The whole team did [struggle] to score goals last year and this year I think we’re finding different ways to score.

"The puck is actually going in for me too, so that’s a good thing."

It's a very good thing for Ryder and the Bruins, especially going into a tough Eastern Conference battle versus Atlanta.

"Well, after last game it’s gonna be...a battle that’s for sure," said Ryder.  "These guys are having a great year, too, and they definitely want to came back here, in their home rink, and set the tone."

But Ryder and the Bruins aren't too interested in giving up the momentum they garnered in Florida.

"I think this road trip is huge for us to start off after Christmas," said Ryder. "We have five games and we got two behind us now, two big wins, and we gotta make sure we keep pushing forward."
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