BOSTON - Jarred Tinordi wanted to get started as quickly as he could.
While it would have been far faster to fly from Nashville to Boston over the weekend, COVID-19 protocols would have required him to quarantine for several days before joining his new club. As such, a 17-hour drive from the Music City proved to be the more prudent option as he looked to arrive as swiftly as possible.
"With the schedule and the way things kind of lined up, I think driving kind of made the most sense for me," said Tinordi, who passed the time by making some phone calls and listening to his favorite podcasts. "I split it up into two days and got here [on Sunday]. I had an off day to kind of get settled and then right into practice the next day."
Tinordi was claimed by the Bruins off waivers from the Predators on Saturday afternoon as the Black & Gold searched for some defensive depth with Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, and - at the time - Matt Grzelcyk all sidelined by injury. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder - a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2010 - brings size and strength to Boston's defense corps, something that had been lacking with both Lauzon and Miller out of the lineup.
"I didn't see it coming, honestly," Tinordi said of being placed on waivers by Nashville. "I found out about 30 minutes before they put me on that morning. It was a little bit of a shock, little bit of a whirlwind, kind of figuring things out…got the call at noon the next day that Boston picked me up.
"Right away I got excited. I've got family back in Nashville; I've got my wife and daughter there. It's tough leaving them but it's another opportunity, it's another opportunity to show what you can do in this league, especially joining a team like Boston.
"I don't think it could have been a better situation to come in here. I want to help this group and help this group win."
The 29-year-old made his Bruins debut on Wednesday night against the Capitals, teaming up with Connor Clifton on Boston's third pair. Tinordi played 16:41, including 1:37 on the penalty kill, and landed two hits, while appearing to settle into more of a groove after being on the ice for an overturned Washington goal midway through the first period.
"I thought the game last night was a fast-paced game," said Tinordi, the first player in Bruins history to don No. 84. "[The Capitals are] a good team. They clogged up the neutral zone on us pretty good. I think we have some things that we can do better and improve upon, but it was a tight game. You look at the shots on goal and into a shootout, it was tight, there wasn't a lot of room or a lot of chances either way [on Wednesday] night."
Video: Tinordi talks to media on Thursday afternoon
Tinordi, a veteran of 89 NHL games across six seasons with Montreal, Arizona, and Nashville, admitted that he had not seen much of the East Division so far this season with the schedule limited to division play only, forcing him to quickly get "caught up to speed with what the boys were doing" as he put it. Nevertheless, the blue liner said the transition has thus far been fairly smooth given the welcoming atmosphere around the Bruins' dressing room.
"The guys have been great, they've come right up to me away," said Tinordi, who played with Craig Smith last season in Nashville. "This is a tight group in here and I can see that right away as soon as I got here. Guys really care for each other and want to see each other succeed.
"I think that's kind of the key ingredient to a successful team. I'm just happy to be a part of it, be part of this group and do what I can to help this team win."
In Their Kitchen
Trent Frederic has made his presence felt this season, perhaps never more so than on Wednesday night when he mixed it up with Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin on two separate occasions. Early in the third period, the two got tangled up in the corner and when they emerged, Frederic dropped the gloves. Ovechkin did not oblige.
"I thought it was kind of natural," said Frederic. "When I dropped them, he went into the boards weird and when he got up, he wasn't happy about it. The read I got was I don't know if you want to fight me or not, so that's the reason why [the gloves] came off a little quick, just protecting myself at the same time."
Later in the final frame, the two found themselves battling once again. After Frederic delivered a couple of light cross-checks, Ovechkin speared Frederic in the midsection, which led to the NHL doling out a $5,000 fine to the Caps' star, the maximum allowed under the CBA.
"I was just playing hard," said Frederic, who noted that he was feeling no ill effects from the stickwork. "He's a good player. Anytime you can put a check on him you're trying to do that. Just playing him hard…that's the respect I give him by playing him hard…he's a big body. He plays hard. He finishes checks. He gives it out just as much as he takes it."
Frederic has begun to establish himself as a bit of an agitator through his first full NHL campaign, as he's found a way to get under the skin of countless opponents, including the likes of New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux and New Jersey Devils blue liner P.K. Subban. The 2016 first-round pick has two fights on the year, one against Lemieux and the other against Washington heavyweight Tom Wilson on Feb. 1 in D.C.
"Really, it's all about winning…when you work hard and you win you have fun," Frederic said when asked what he's taken away from his season thus far. "Most of my time with the Bruins, my first year…we won or at least got points in just about every game I was up. All the time I've been here it's been good…you're in the NHL so every shift and every chance you get is a gift and you've got to prove your next shift."
Video: Frederic talks to media after practice on Thursday
Taking the Day
Following his 27-save effort on Wednesday night, Tuukka Rask stayed off the ice for a maintenance day on Thursday, per Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. Rask was scheduled to be off on Friday night with Jaroslav Halak getting the start against the Capitals.
Also missing from Thursday's skate at Warrior Ice Arena were Charlie Coyle (COVID-19 protocols), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured hand), Ondrej Kase (upper-body), Kevan Miller (knee), and John Moore (undisclosed).
Pick Up the Pace
The Bruins have lost five of their last seven (2-4-1) after Wednesday's 2-1 shootout defeat to the Capitals, leaving Cassidy and his staff searching for ways to shore up their game. Cassidy believes the dip in Boston's play after a 10-1-2 start stems from a lack of pace, which the B's bench boss made sure to address during Thursday's practice.
"We're not playing at a high enough pace," said Cassidy. "If it was an easy answer, I'd give it to you. Some of it is personnel we've changed. We've got to get them playing at a higher pace than we're used to. We've got some new people in our lineup. We've emphasized getting bigger, so maybe you lose a little bit of pace. Some of it is just our play that I haven't stressed enough.
"You're trying to prepare for your opponents every night, trying to do certain things and maybe you lose track of the forest for the trees at times and say, 'Let's get going and get on top of them quicker.' I think it's a little bit of everything."
Video: Cassidy talks to media after Thursday practice skate
Thursday's Practice Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie - David Krejci - Craig Smith
Trent Frederic - Jack Studnicka - Jake DeBrusk
Anders Bjork - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Jakub Zboril - Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk - Brandon Carlo
Jarred Tinordi - Urho Vaakanainen
Steven Kampfer - Connor Clifton