WILMINGTON -- After routing the Portland Pirates, 7-2, yesterday at home, the Bruins' Providence farm club was in celebration mode.
But two of the game's stars, forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Brad Marchand, had their celebrations postponed after P-Bruins coach Rob Murray told them to cool their heels and wait for possible word from Boston that they might be recalled.
Once Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli was able to swing a deal to trade Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota in order to clear cap space, Marchand and Sobotka got the thumbs up and they were able to have a double celebration.
"I was so excited and nervous, it was crazy," said Marchand about the wait.
"I was surprised. I was like, 'Wow, what's going on?' We just waited."
While Sobotka has 73 games of NHL experience over the last two seasons, Marchand is up with the parent club for the first time during his two pro seasons. Both have followed their excellent exhibition seasons with Boston by producing at a high level for Providence. After Sunday's game, Marchand, 21, was tied for third on the club with eight points (six goals). Sobotka, 22, was second with 10 points (four goals), plus he earned the AHL Player of the Week award for his 3-3-6 totals and plus-4 rating over the weekend in two games. Neither player, however, is being brought to Boston for their skill alone. There's hope from management and the coaching staff that both players will bring the grit and hard-nosed play that's become their trademark.
"That's always been the forte of my game -- hard work and winning battles, being a gritty player. I have to come up and play the exact same way and hopefully contribute to the team," said Marchand.
Monday during practice at Ristuccia Arena, Marchand skated on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Michael Ryder, while Sobotka skated with countryman David Krejci and Blake Wheeler. Marc Savard's absence from practice obviously shifted things around, but there's a chance those trios could take the ice against Nashville Wednesday.
Chiarelli acknowledged there were several reasons for shipping Kobasew to the Wild. "It was a combination of a number of factors. Certainly our play has been on and off, that was part of it. Vladi and Brad have been playing well in Providence, so they get a chance (at the NHL). It also gives us a bit of cap-space flexibility for this year and for next year. So it was a good time for all those things, but primarily based on our play."
Chiarelli also talked about the three assets he received from Minnesota, including forward Craig Weller, who was assigned to Providence. On Alexander Fallstrom, the '09 fourth-round pick who's now skating at Harvard, the GM noted that he's a big winger with a good release. And as for the 2011 second-round pick, which leaves Boston with nine first- or second-round picks in the next two drafts, Chiarelli said: "While I'm not inclined to stockpile picks just with the intention of drafting and developing, we will do some of that."
Bergeron now must find a new right-winger and a different road roommate after the trade. "That trade happened because the whole team wasn't having the success we were hoping for," Chiarelli said . "We all have part of the blame on that trade. But now that's nothing we can control and we've got to go out there and play as a team."