BELMONT, Mass. -- We're getting closer and closer to the NHL Olympic break and the trade freeze. The break starts Feb. 14, but the freeze begins Feb. 12.
The actual trade deadline is March 3, but there will be little time between the end of the freeze , March 1, and the end of trading season to get deals done. So, as expected, the rumors are getting more and more specific. On Wednesday came word via TSN in Canada that sources say underachieving Bruins winger Michael Ryder has become available. In 54 games, Ryder has scored just 12 goals and 20 points after he registered 27 goals and 53 points in 74 games in 2009-10.
"You definitely, especially in Montreal, there's always media talk and all these things buzzing around," said Ryder after practice at Belmont Hill Academy. "I just learned there, don't pay attention to it and block it out."
Ryder left the Canadiens, who had banished him to the dog house in his last season after he failed to live up to the expectations his two 30-goal campaigns had set, to sign a three-year deal with a $4 million cap hit each season. The reunion with head coach Claude Julien, who had mentored Ryder on three other teams, seemed to work last season. But up until the Bruins' last three games, Ryder has been a major disappointment this season.
Ryder is hoping to get a chance to make things right in black and gold.
"I didn't really think about not being a part of this team. It's part of the game, but I definitely want to stay here and try to help this team win," he said. "I think we have the team that can do some damage if we get to the playoffs. It's just a matter now of putting things together and getting back on track."
More names are sure to come up in rumors and reports of near-deals. Right now, Julien doesn't think there are any trade-related distractions for his team, which has lost eight in a row.
"Every year you go through that," Julien said. "And the guys understand that this time of year is one of those times that you hear a lot of rumors and talk. So they've been through it before. I don't think, to be honest with you, so far I haven't sensed that it's been a distraction to our hockey team. I think the biggest thing is the guys really are focusing on turning this thing around more than they're even worried about the trade rumors right now."