MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins had just completed their morning skate in preparation for Game 4 of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series at Bell Centre when a giant media horde surrounded Bruins forward Matt Fraser at his locker.
“Just like Providence,” said Fraser, who was recalled from the Providence Bruins and could be in the lineup for Boston on Thursday night. He had not been told whether he’ll play, and coach Claude Julien said his lineup would be a game-time decision.
Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney called Fraser on Wednesday afternoon and informed him of his promotion.
“I don’t know if words can really explain it,” Fraser said. “As a kid, you play for the Stanley Cup a thousand times on the streets and on the outdoor rinks, but not in this environment. It’s exciting. I’m not trying to downplay that at all, but at the same time once you get out there you’ve got to find your groove and play your game.”
Fraser, 23, played 14 games for the Bruins this season, posting two goals. He recorded 20 goals and 10 assists for 30 points in 44 games for the P-Bruins of the AHL. Providence is in the midst of the Calder Cup playoffs and Fraser already had three goals and two assists.
When he was called up to Boston earlier this season, Fraser made a strong impression.
“We had a long look at him. He’s certainly a guy that can score after seeing what he’s done in Providence,” Julien said. “He’s been good enough and he’s done well enough to have him back here.”
When he was sent back to Providence, Fraser took it as an opportunity to hone his skills in order to return to Boston sooner than later.
“It’s never fun going down,” he said. “I’ve always said whether you’re going north or south on 95 it can really make your day a lot better, or a lot worse. This is definitely where you want to be. Different players take different time in the American League and you just take it as a blessing in disguise and work on your game and do what you can to get back here.”
Bruins players were happy to see him at the rink Thursday morning and they trust his abilities to contribute if given the opportunity. There’s no need to give him any advice, they said.
“At this point of the year, there’s not much to say,” said Bruins veteran Daniel Paille. “He knows what’s at stake and he knows what to do. He’s a solid player. He was good for us when he was up, so there’s not much that you have to say to him.”
Fraser said he's never experienced anything like the atmosphere at Bell Centre. When asked how he'll try to keep his emotions in check, he said with a smile, "Take some deep breaths. I’m not too sure. I guess I’ll figure that out at game time.”