BOSTON -- Ex-Ranger Wade Redden said he’s not yet ready to return to the Bruins' lineup -- the injured defenseman will be a game-time decision Sunday -- but admitted there will likely be a mix of emotions in facing his former team.
Redden played only two seasons in New York after signing an ill-fated six-year, $39 million contract in 2008, during which he was beaten up by both the fans and the media before he was dispatched to the minors.
“It does and it doesn’t [dredge up emotions],” Redden said after Saturday’s practice at TD Garden. “I’ve dealt with it all year. I've answered questions about it since I’ve come back. ... It’s gonna be nice, hopefully, to get out there and be part of it, but I’ve kind of turned the page on all that stuff that’s gone on.”
Redden was buried in the AHL for two years -- serving as a savvy vet and consummate professional on a young minor league team -- before a post-lockout accelerated compliance buyout allowed him to resurrect his NHL career.
The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal with St. Louis to begin the season before he was traded to the Bruins at the deadline in April.
Two teams and three years removed from that painful time period, Redden is ready to close that chapter of his life.
“I’ve accepted my part of it, for sure,” he said. “Things weren’t going great in New York. It went the other way. It was a change that was needed, probably for everyone.”
Redden’s play did not make him a popular guy among the Blueshirt faithful, but the burden of his hefty contract didn’t help matters either. It was an ugly combination of circumstances.
“It’s unfortunate, obviously, how things went there, but, you know, it didn’t work out and you move on,” Redden said.
He reflected on his time in the AHL and said he had plenty of positive experiences to draw from that two-year stay. There were periods he battled the doubt that he’d ever play in the NHL again, but ultimately he believed he could get back.
He was right.
Redden has provided some depth and experience to the Bruins' blue line since joining the team late in the season. He had one goal and one assist in the Bruins' first-round series against the Leafs before he was sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
He said he is making progress and eager to get back into action. After all, there were times he wondered if he'd ever have that chance again.
“There are certain days where you have your ups and downs,” Redden said. “At the end of the day, I did believe. That’s why I did stick with it.”