WILMINGTON — In the midst of a whirlwind week, Seth Griffith is just trying to soak everything in.
The 21-year-old, 5-foot-9 winger had the chance to skate on the first line of Milan Lucic and David Krejci on Monday. He was recalled Monday after scoring his second goal of the season in three games for AHL Providence on Sunday against Portland. Just two days earlier, he nearly scored against Montreal. He’s been up and down twice in the span of five days.
Griffith, along with Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham, is part of the Bruins’ great early-season experiment to try and find a replacement for Jarome Iginla on the top line. Saturday night in Buffalo, it was Simon Gagne slotted in with Lucic and Krejci. But on Monday in practice it was Griffith, who has nine shots in three games with Providence but only four in three games with Boston.
“It’s pretty crazy how much faster and stronger it is in the NHL,” Griffith said. “Coming from the AHL just [Sunday] night, you can tell there’s a huge difference so hopefully, I got a little confidence [Sunday] night, come back here and try and bear down on one and hopefully, I get one.
“It’s an adjustment coming from the AHL up here. There’s bigger, faster, stronger guys so just little things along the wall, puck protection skills like that go a long way. You learn a lot from them. It’s not everyday guys get to come in and work with guys like this. You learn a lot of things, just in drills, little tricks you can do in the corners, stuff along the wall. It helps a lot.”
Coach Claude Julien admitted Monday after practice that he is forced into a situation of playing a young player like Griffith at the NHL level because of a lack of veteran bodies due to salary cap restrictions. Griffith is trying to take advantage of that chance by watching and listening to Lucic and Krejci during practice.
“There’s tons of little things, puck protection and they work hard every shift,” said the 190-pound Griffith. “It just shows why they’re up here and why they succeed up here. I think everybody in training camp learned a lot from these guys and I know guys in Providence still talk about the work ethic up here. It just goes to show how hard-working the work ethic is in this organization.
“Being a smaller guy, I feel like you have to work on that every day. I felt better with every game I played. Hopefully, I can just keep improving from that and go from there.”
Griffith, who had two shots against Montreal last Thursday, is still looking for that first NHL goal. He could get that chance Tuesday night against San Jose, if Julien decides to play him on the first line.
“I tried shooting a lot more,” he said. “I had a couple of chances in Montreal and hopefully, I can just bury one soon. It’s kind of what you have to do. You can’t think too much or your nerves will get the best of you so I’m just trying to play my game and do my best.
“I think after I get one, I might settle down a little bit. Until then, I’ll definitely be nervous. I think that’s a good thing, keep me on my toes a little bit.”