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Will James van Riemsdyk Play in Playoff Opener?



Boston Bruins

Will veteran winger James van Riemsdyk be in the lineup when the Boston Bruins begin their quest for the 2024 Stanley Cup?

The former UNH star, who hit the 1,000-game plateau last month, was back in the lineup for the Bruins’ 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Thanks to an early March illness he just couldn’t shake, and the rustiness that resulted from that, van Riemsdyk hadn’t played since March 27. After failing to register a point in 22 shifts over 13:3o TOI on Tuesday, the 34-year-old winger has just an assist in his last ten games.

“I usually pride myself on not being sick too often. It definitely took a lot out of me,” van Riemsdyk acknowledged after the Bruins’ game-day skate on Tuesday. “Excited to be feeling a lot better and just build my game and as a team as we get ourselves ready to go for the postseason and taking it here one game at a time.”

The problem for van Riemsdyk and the Bruins, though, is that, prior to his last point on March 2, he had no points in six games after scoring two goals and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss on Feb. 17. In his press briefing ahead of the game on Tuesday night, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was asked what van Riemsdyk needs to do to stay in the lineup as the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs approach.

“I guess what he was doing earlier in the year when he was on top of pucks, he was executing in all three zones and making things happen,” Montgomery said of van Riemsdyk who has 11 goals and 27 assists in 67 games.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pound winger concurred.

“The strengths of my game are just playing smart, playing with detail, making the right play all the time, and playing within the structure of the team,” van Riemsdyk replied to a similar question. “Those are the things that we’re trying to work on.”



When Bruins general manager Don Sweeney signed James van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $1 million contract last July, he was hoping van Riemsdyk could add veteran experience and stabilize a forward group in transition. Sweeney also didn’t mind the 20 goals and 11 assists in 71 playoff games that van Riemsdyk brought.

“Just staying in the moment is the key thing,” van Riemsdyk replied on Tuesday when asked about the lessons he’s learned about playoff games in his career. “One game at a time; focus on what’s in front of you – whether that’s a game, a practice, an off-day – and just make sure you make the most of every day because I think all those little things add up over the course of the year.

Again, in the playoffs, especially, there’s going to be ups and downs you have to go through and deal with, and hopefully, you can lean on some of the experiences as a team that we’ve gone through over the course of the season and then more individually as a player that you go through over your career and the course of a season. So, I think obviously staying in the moment is so important.”

The question now, though, is whether van Riemsdyk will be in that moment when the Bruins begin the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs later this month.

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