|Michael Ryder expected to return to Bruins||09.13.10 at 12:50 pm ET|
BOLTON — The Bruins and friends teed off for their golf tournament at The International, meaning practically all of the players were available to chat Monday morning in Bolton. Though David Krejci gave WEEI.com some good tips on dealing with cab drivers in Prague, the most interesting player to speak may have been his winger in Michael Ryder.
“I’m anxious to get started this year. Last year was disappointing, especially the way it ended,” Ryder said. “I think especially regular season too I think will be a lot better. There are things we have to improve on this year and hopefully we can do that.”
It’s no secret that Ryder was among the players who took the brunt of criticism when the Bruins offense stalled for the entire season. As a result, and with him entering the final year of a three-year deal, many wondered whether Ryder and his $4 million cap hit would be back this season.
“It happens everywhere you go,” Ryder, who seemed genuinely unfazed by the offseason speculation said. “After the season there’s always going to people talking and saying things [regarding] who should go where, and whatever, but you’ve got to forget about it and concentrate on starting off the season.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli rained on the parade of angry fans who wanted Ryder gone when he said early in the offseason that the team would not be buying the final year of Ryder’s deal out. He pointed to an off-year for the winger, who said he “expected to be back” with the team. Ryder admits that coming off a 27-goal season in 2008-09, his 18-goal showing last season was a letdown and he accepts whatever negative chatter comes with it.
“The whole team didn’t score goals last year. We had a hard time putting the puck in the net in the regular season,” Ryder said. “When you’re looked at to score goals and the team’s not scoring, you’re one of the guys that’s under the gun. I kind of accept that and I’ve just got to try to find ways to make that happen.”
Ryder remains a possible victim of the salary cap. The team will be approximately $3.5 million over the $59.4 million mark once Marco Sturm returns from long-term injury status. Asked if he felt he considers each practice and game from here on out an “audition,” Ryder expressed confidence in his role with the Bruins.
“I know I’m still part of this team,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out and prove that I belong here.”
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