Former Bruin Michael Ryder, who was traded from the Stars to the Canadiens on Tuesday, said prior to Sunday’s game that he didn’t think the Bruins would try to trade for him.
Ryder, who is in the final year of a two-year, $7 million deal that he signed with Dallas after leaving the Bruins, would have seemed to be a good fit for the B’s given the experience with the team and their need for more offensive production on the third line.
“I think if they wanted to keep me, they probably would have tried to sign me [after the 2011 season],” Ryder said. “Sometimes that happens. It’s part of the game and you have to move on. I liked it in Dallas.”
B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli told Ryder and Tomas Kaberle to test the waters of free agency after the team won the Cup. It didn’t take Ryder long to find a new home, as he inked his deal with Dallas on the first day of free agency.
“I kind of knew pretty much what was going to happen anyways, so I wasn’t surprised at all,” Ryder said of the team not making an effort to re-sign him. “I kind of knew which way it was going to go, so I wasn’t that surprised.”
Added Ryder: “Sometimes you just get a feeling. It was the same thing with when I left Montreal and knew I wouldn’t be back. You can just tell sometimes how things work out and everything. I just kind of had that feeling that I wouldn’t be back there.”
Sunday marks Ryder’s first time playing in front of the TD Garden crowd since Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Strangely, it will be as a member of the Canadiens, as the Habs shipped Erik Cole to Dallas for him and a third-round pick. Ryder played for the Habs from 2003-2008 before signing with Boston as a free agent.
“Everything’s happened pretty fast the last three, four days for me,” Ryder said prior to Sunday’s game. “It’s pretty interesting. … It’s different to be back here on the other side this time, but it is what it is and I’m excited to be in Montreal. It’s going to be a big game tonight for first place, and I think it’s exciting.”
Though he’s a Canadien now, Bruins fans would be wise to not jeer the veteran winger. In addition to his eight postseason goals in 2011 (two of which were game-winners), Ryder also made a key save on Tomas Plekanec in Game 5 of the conference quarterfinals against the Canadiens.
Gregory Campbell doesn’t know how Ryder should be received, but he hopes fans don’t forget what Ryder meant to the Cup-winning team.
“He helped us win,” Campbell said. “He was a big part of our team, so however they want to take that. It’s like any other player going into another building. There’s good memories, but tonight he’s not on the team that you should be cheering for.”
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