Boston just isn't the same for Gill

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Hugs and handshakes will be awaiting Hal Gill when he lumbers back onto his native New England soil tonight, but will there be a few heckles sprinkled in there as well?

"We'll see how much I get harassed when I get back," the behemoth 6-foot-7 defenceman joked.

Gill, who hails from Concord, Mass., spent his first eight NHL seasons as a Boston Bruin before signing a two-year, $4 million US free-agent deal with the Leafs last summer.

Prior to becoming a pro, he played at nearby Providence College.

In other words, his entire hockey career was based in New England before becoming a Leaf.

Now he returns to Boston to face the Bruins for the first time tomorrow night since snapping up Toronto's generous offer.

"For all those years I had a huge support group of friends and family there," Gill said. "I know a lot of Bruins fans that became Leaf fans when I signed here."

Obviously all will be looking to scoop ducats for the game.

"I think my family is so worried about me going out and winning they haven't bothered me (about tickets)," Gill said. "We'll see what happens when we get into town.

"I saw (my departure from the Bruins) coming a long way away. I thought it would come sooner. You don't see many guys that stay in the same place for nine years. Not role players anyway. I went through a lot of trades including Joe Thornton. I didn't think I'd be around after Joe."

Gill still stays in touch with former teammate P.J. Axelsson but that's about it.

"They have so many new guys, it's like playing an entirely different team. I watched tape of some of the Bruins games and I didn't recognize half the players."


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