Should he wind up going that route, Bruins winger Michael Ryder is increasing his appeal on this summer’s free agent market.
And (we say this with tongue slightly in cheek) Elliotte Friedman has helped him.
Ryder, whose overtime goal made him the hero of Game 4, came up large for the B’s at the other end of the ice in the first period of Game 5 Saturday.
With goalie Tim Thomas pushed over to the left side of his net - and after Mike Cammalleri had just set up Tomas Plekanec for a great chance in front - Ryder was the last line of defence. Plekanec’s waist-high shot was looking good before Ryder whipped up his right glove, getting just enough of the puck to deflect it to the backboards.
That save, the biggest of the night, kept the game scoreless until Brad Marchand put the B’s on the board early in the third.
Meanwhile, one of Hockey Night in Canada’s finest showed how quick he is, too.
During the first intermission, the tireless and talented Friedman reported that in the off-season, Ryder is a goalie on his ball hockey team back home in Newfoundland. That team won the provincial championship last summer, he said, but Ryder could not accompany it to the nationals because he had to attend Boston’s training camp.
It was just the kind of interesting tidbit Friedman has become known for in his 17 years in the business.
It’s also the kind of stuff that can only help Ryder come July 1, right?
A hot and cold sniper who made $4 million in the final year of contract this season, Ryder is very unlikely to be back with the Bruins - and probably not going to get close to the same type of cash elsewhere.
But if he winds up doing better than expected because a team wants him as an emergency goalie well, Ryder might want to give Friedman a small piece of his pie.
STARTS AND STOPS: Getting the puck all alone a little more than six minutes from the final buzzer was a nice Passover present for Jeff Halpern, who is Jewish ... Shot blocker extraordinaire Dan Girardi could never be Mike Green, and Green shouldn’t try to be Girardi. Even though they have finally made it through another first round, the Caps need Green on the ice - not sitting on the bench or in the press box with his eggs scrambled - to have a real good shot at winning the East ... TSN can thank American Tyler Biggs for his goal that saved the network from being in a spot. Whether the decision was made to cut away from the world under-18 championship semi-final between U.S. and Canada while was in overtime, or to miss the start of the Caps-Rangers game, some people were going to be unhappy. Biggs came through just in time.
BETWEEN PERIODS: Don Cherry’s two finest moments during the most recent Coach’s Corner. 1) Pointing out the gutless hit to the head by Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis on Dave Bolland, the fine Blackhawk who recently returned from concussion problems and 2) His take on Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, a free-agent-to-be who says he wouldn’t move to Winnipeg. “Is that a promise or a threat?,” said Grapes. “The way he played in the playoffs, who wants him?” ... Great comeback to the “can you hear us” chant of Rangers fans from the Caps crowd. Their “we are louder” may be true, but Montreal remains the noisiest building in the league, and it has never been as deafening it was for Game 6 of Round 1 last spring. Wonder if a new chapter of History Will Be Made gets written for Bruins-Habs Game 6 Tuesday at Bell Centre ... Jamie McClennan does a good job on the TSN panel, but clearly, he was even better as Roberto Luongo’s backup. Quite humorous was the video showing McClennan feeding, tying the skates of and shopping and pedaling for Luongo.
THINGS I THINK I THUNK: At least five GMs have just scribbled the name John Tortorella on their list of coaching candidates to interview. Whether the Rangers make him available is still to be seen ... Tampa coach Guy Boucher was being wasteful in taking a time out with a 5-0 lead nine minutes into the second ... Carey Price was just flipping the finger to Bruins fans when he said the Habs had to “cowboy up”. That’s a Boston thing and he knows it.
POINT SHOTS: It’s far too early in the career of P.K. Subban for Boston fans to give him the respect of booing every time he touches the puck ... The first goal of the day, a Tampa tic-tac-toe finished off by Simon Gagne goal, was also the prettiest ...Welcome to the party, Steven Stamkos ... A Chris Stevenson tweet you might have missed: “Rene Rancourt and Michael Palin of Monty Python. I think definitely separated at birth.”
C’EST WHAT? “Those aren’t calves, they’re cows.” - CBC’s P.J. Stock speaking of Marty St. Louis’ thick legs.
“The only way to get experience is to get experience.” - Stock, again.