On Saturday, the Boston Bruins called up Justin Florek from their AHL affiliated Providence Bruins, for their game against the Winnipeg Jets. During the game, Florek was slotted into the Bruins “Merlot” Line (their fourth line) with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. While on that line, Florek was a big part of Torey Krug’s goal, by simply screening the Jets goalie, Ondre Pavalec, during the second period.
During the interviews after the game, Florek was asked about the information that has been imparted by those who have gone up and returned to Providence. He responded that it was helpful knowing that those who had previously been called up had been effective. And that left a positive mentality when a recall came for another player.
Florek ended up having 14 shifts for a total ice time of 10:14, which was a pretty good introduction to the NHL. And without blinking, Florek was back in Providence on Sunday playing against the Worcester Sharks with the rest of the Bruins, and his confidence was definitely amped.
Although Florek is tall at 6’5”, it was clear that he was standing a little extra tall on Sunday, as he radiated confidence when the game began. And what a game it turned out to be. Many games are close, some are barn burners and Sunday’s game was a blow out in favor of the Providence Bruins, with the end result that the Bruins won 8-2 and Florek added two points to his totals and a plus 1 to his plus/minus.
After the game he spoke with The Pink Puck, who asked him how his experience with the Boston Bruins affected his play in Providence on Sunday.
“Mostly it was confidence just knowing that you can play at the NHL level and playing at the AHL level and just having a little more confidence out there,” Florek responded. “You know, be a little stronger on the puck, because that was one of the things up there just being strong on the puck so just translating that to my game down here was a big part of today.”
On Sunday afternoon, Florek was still waiting to hear if he would be traveling with the Boston Bruins on the three-game road trip to play against the teams in California. However, as he told The Pink Puck, “I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
It must have worked, because on Monday he was indeed recalled to travel with the team, where he will play against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. Though in truth, it was his impressive play that earned him another look during the road trip.
Another of Florek’s teammates who was feeling confident was goalie Malcolm Subban, who during Friday’s game against the Worcester Sharks had a shut out. That confidence clearly transferred to the next game he played on Sunday, as there were some instances where the Sharks were putting a lot of shots on net and Subban came up big. But perhaps the most amazing save was when Subban came all the way out passed the hash marks almost to the tops of the face off circles where he made an impressive poke check.
When asked about what was going through his mind, he commented on the aggressive play that the Shark was making, and pointed out that if the player had turned a different way, it would have been a much different story.
Subban looks at the first minute of play and stopping that first puck as his first milestone in a game, and then works each period as it comes to him. And while the score of Sunday’s game may have looked like the Sharks weren’t putting much on the Bruins’ net, in the end the shots were almost even and some of those shots could have easily gone in without the confidence of Subban between the pipes.
Confidence affects players in all positions on a hockey team, and when Sunday’s game was over, there were quite a few players on the Providence Bruins feeling confidence, as eight players had multi-point games. When the number of recalls to Boston are factored in, what Providence has been doing of late proves the confidence that they are channeling as they work their way up in the statistics.