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Wagner Bringing Trademark Grit And Energy Again

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Thanks to COVID and a stagnant salary cap over the last three seasons, NHL veteran and role players like Boston Bruins winger Chris Wagner have been squeezed out of NHL rosters. Some, like Wagner, wind up in the American Hockey League; others in the East Coast Hockey League, and some overseas. Sadly some retire as well.

Thankfully for Wagner, he only had to travel 35-40 minutes from his native Walpole, MA and down route 95 to Providence after not making the Boston Bruins 2021-22 roster out of training camp a year ago. One would’ve understood if the then 30-year-old winger sulked or played for more money elsewhere, but in true Chris Wagner style, he sucked it up. While it took all season to make it back to the show and get in one regular season game before the 2021-22 regular season concluded, his perseverance was really rewarded when he made it into three Stanley Cup Playoff games in the Bruins’ seven-game first round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

That experience has given Chris Wagner a more positive and constructive attitude.

“It’s more of a ‘What do I have to lose?’ kind of thing,” Wagner told the media recently. ” Like I’ve said before, I’m proud of myself that I was able to come back and play in the playoffs and play decent, too. I still think I can play in this league but time will tell.”

And what if he doesn’t make the 2022-23 Boston Bruins roster out of camp?

“Would I be able to handle? As opposed to what? That’s my job, so I’ll show up.”

‘Show up’ is exactly what Wagner did in the preseason opener for the Boston Bruins last Saturday. Wagner racked up a game-high eight hits and looked like the Wagner who was a mainstay on the energy line for the Bruins in their run to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

“I thought the whole game in Philly was kind of sloppy, but I thought I played my role as well as I could,” Wagner said when asked how he felt he played on Saturday. “I tried to create more offense,  but obviously physically, energy, winning faceoffs and PK and all that, I thought I was decent at. But it was one game and obviously the first game of preseason, so it’s tough to really grade yourself on that.”

That didn’t go unnoticed by his new head coach Jim Montgomery, who has always noticed Wagner in the past.

“I’ve always noticed Wags, even when he was in Anaheim, and then obviously the success he had here in Boston,” Montgomery said this week. “His details are high-end. He’s someone as a coach you trust because he executes really well, especially in that fourth-line role.”

After he got hired to replace Bruce Cassidy as head coach of the Boston Bruins, Wagner was one of multiple players Montgomery reached out to and promised a fresh start to.

“He reached out in the summer. He said everyone has a clean slate, which I thought was awesome,” said Wagner. “He said he respects my path to the league and what I’ve done to stay here and how I play the game, so we’ll see what happens. But he’s been very positive with me so far.”

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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Mrbruin4

Chris is definitely a nhl player but with the cap situation with bruins he will be hard pressed to make bruins even if he is the better player which he probably is

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