- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- While general manager Peter Chiarelli gave winger Michael Ryder a public vote of confidence Sunday, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, speaking at Wednesday's media day, didn't rule out the possibility of Ryder being shipped to the minors.
"Hopefully we're not doing that,” Jacobs said of sending Ryder to Providence. “It's up to Pete. We sure don't want to see that happen. It's not unheard of in this organization, but we want to be a little more fiscally responsible than that. But if that's where you wind up, that's where you wind up. It's Peter's call, really.”
Ryder is coming off a disappointing season in which he had 18 goals and 33 points after registering 27 goals and 53 points in 2008-09 and costs the Bruins $4 million on the salary cap. With the Bruins hurting for cap space, there's been much speculation that Ryder would be traded or demoted to alleviate the crunch.
With the preseason showing the Bruins have numerous young prospects knocking on the door, and others such as Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron already busting through it, Jacobs realizes Chiarelli will need to cut salary to accommodate the youth movement. Demoting an underachieving player like Ryder, should he not have a good start to the season, could be the answer.
“He's got to win, that's what it's about,” Jacobs said. “But these people are already in your inventory. You're paying them one way or another. I think he's flushed with some very talented young players. I know that's the way I see it. I know that's the way he sees it, and he's got to give them exposure some way or another. How he brings them up is going to be difficult perhaps. “
When asked about possibly being the odd man out, Ryder said the best way he can prevent that is to do his job on the ice.
“I can’t control that,” Ryder said. “It’s management and people above us that decide that. I just need to go out and play hockey and try to do what I can do to help the team. I know I can still play this game and I want to be part of this team, so I’ll just have to go out and play and hope everything falls into place.”
Ryder said one of his big problems last season was thinking too much.
“I had my chances. They were still there but they just weren’t going in,” he said. “Looking back, I think I just need to start shooting more and not think about it. I’m a shooter and I need to just be myself. If they go in, things will start to fall in place, but you have to shoot for them to go in.”
Ryder also believes some added muscle will help his game as well and bring more confidence.
“When I was in Montreal I was like 200 pounds and I felt like that was a good weight for me so I just tried to work out harder and put on muscle to get stronger,” he said. “I didn’t get up to 200, I’m around 195, but I feel a lot stronger and when I’m on the ice I feel more confident that way. It will help me be more physical and win more battles.”
During the Bruins first preseason game against the Canadiens at Montreal, Ryder heard his friend and former teammate Carey Price get booed off the ice after allowing four goals on the first 11 Bruins shots. Ryder realizes a bad start may result in him receiving the same treatment from the Boston faithful, but says he wouldn’t hold such a reaction against the Garden fans.
“I don’t like to or really can’t think about that,” he said. “If they do, they do and the only way they will stop is if I score and we win, so that’s what we have to do. At least they care enough to boo and that’s why I like playing here.”