BOSTON - While the Bruins' opening night roster for the 2014-15 season was still in flux on Tuesday morning, Ryan Spooner, Bobby Robins and Matt Fraser knew that their names would be there before the puck drops against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
GM Peter Chiarelli announced that news with certainty on Tuesday morning, though the final 23-man opening day roster would later be submitted by 5:00 p.m.
They all know that being on the roster for opening night is merely an opportunity, but one that they'll gladly take.
"I'm excited. You know, extremely proud, and ready to go," said Spooner. "I've got a lot of strides to make. Right now, I'm just trying to play well and stay here."
"I've been up and down; I thought I've played well and had some stretches where I didn't play well, so it's about being consistent with it, and that's what I'm trying to do."
"It's obviously exciting to be a part of it," said Fraser. "A lot of hard work has paid off so far, but at the end of the day, there's still a lot of hard work to put forward to make sure you're here at the end of the year, too."
The roster will still be in question for the first few days - and weeks - of the season. It's up to the players on that opening night roster to prove they deserve to stay.
"For myself, this is still very much training camp and that's how I have to approach every day and come to the rink with that kind of work ethic and that kind of determination," said Fraser.
For the 32-year-old Robins, being on an NHL roster is a dream that has been 13-plus years in the works, with several stops through the USHL, Hockey East (U-Mass Lowell), ECHL, AHL, Ireland and Austria.
He has spent the past three seasons being a leader on the P-Bruins, and ignited The Dunk with his energy.
"I'm getting a lot of messages on Facebook and everything that everybody is rooting for me," smiled Robins, overwhelmed by the support he's received. "And it will be great for them to all see me wearing the B, so it's pretty amazing."
"He's a great story," said Chiarelli. "In Providence, he was a great forechecker. As Claude said, he finishes all his checks, he's a hard player. Third line player there so he's got some skill."
"As far as the trend that fighting is disappearing, I know I made a comment at the end of the year about that trend - now, the speed of that trend or when that actually happens, I don’t know, it may be past my time."
"But it’s a hard game to play and you need those players that can finish checks and fend for themselves. And all along right through this camp he's shown that he's belonged, and it’s a good story."