At the final horn at Madison Square Garden on Sunday Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (No. 21) traded bareknuckle shots with Rangers wing Brendan Lemieux (No. 48) in a brief Original Six throwback dustup.
It was over quickly, and no doubt provided a bit of oldtime NHL entertainment for the national viewing audience.
As for Bruins rookie Trent Frederic, whose perpetual smile only widens when there’s a whiff of a fight in the air, he sounded slightly disappointed that he hadn’t drawn the dance with the son of ex-NHL bad guy Claude Lemieux.
“Yeah, hopefully, I get another shot at … uh … uh … No. 48,” Frederic said. “I don’t have enough goals for him, I guess, so we’ll see.”
Ritchie has six goals while Frederic, his offensive beginning to blossom, scored his second of the season for a 2-0 lead in the first period. Frederic’s remark implied that Lemieux would prefer to take on bigger fish.
Meanwhile, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy increasingly likes how Frederic’s game is developing.
“Yeah, he’s starting to annoy people. He’s a big body that can back it up,” said Cassidy, who saw Frederic a month ago go toe-to-toe with Caps behemoth Tom Wilson. “We’re seeing growth in his game. He’s getting some points … he’s around the puck a lot more and he’s shooting more.”
Born in St. Louis, the 23-year-old Frederic was a first-round pick (29th) in 2016, just before entering the University of Wisconsin. He played two years with the Badgers before turning pro, then spent two-plus seasons with the AHL Bruins.
“It’s a good thing for our team,” Cassidy said. “As advertised … when he was drafted, we knew he’d be a big body who could play inside, obviously needed some developing and now you are seeing a bit of the edge to his game. He’s certainly vocal now, getting people’s attention and willing to back it up.”
Frederic is 6-feet-2-inches and around 205 pounds, and is a natural center with oversized hands. He has yet to play center with the varsity. He lined up again Sunday with fellow rookie Jack Studnicka at center and Jake DeBrusk on right wing — all three of whom are Boston draftees who served time with the WannaBs.
“Not every game’s perfect,” said Frederic, asked postgame if he can sense his game is emerging. “There’s a lot of bumps in the road, but the guys have been great and the coaching staff is great — they’ve been supportive of me in the good games and the bad. Hopefully just keep playing hard and help the team win games.”
At this stage, added Frederic, “it’s all about creating space” on the ice and figuring out how he best fits into the team.
“Every guy’s different, and how they succeed in this league,” he said, “And it’s just about figuring out your recipe, I guess.”
Bergeron dominates at dot
Patrice Bergeron won 10 of his 13 faceoffs and improved his overall win rate at the dot to 63.0 percent (257 wins) for the season. Only Detroit’s Luke Glendening has been better (67.9 percent) among NHLers who have taken a minimum 300 faceoffs this season.
Glendening, upon signing as a free agent with the Red Wings out of Michigan in the spring of 2012, played three games for Cassidy’s Providence Bruins that spring, then spent the next season-plus elsewhere in the minors before making it full-time to the Winged Wheels roster.
Tinordi not here yet
Defenseman Jarred Tinordi, claimed on waivers by the Bruins on Saturday, is due to arrive in the Hub of Hockey this week. The Bruins are off Monday, which means Tinordi will not skate with the club until Tuesday at the earliest, provided that is within COVID protocols … Of the wounded troops, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk likely has the best chance of returning for the next game Wednesday, with Zdeno Chara and the Caps in town for a two-game set (Game 2 on Friday).