And then there were two — Newfoundland natives skating in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs that is.
With losses by the San Jose Sharks (Ryan Clowe) and Calgary Flames (Adam Pardy), Boston Bruins winger Michael Ryder and Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary are the only two Newfoundlanders still alive in pursuit of the Cup. Last year, Cleary captured the most coveted trophy in the sport and brought it back to his homeland. Ryder, however, wasn’t around.
“I heard there was a lot of people there though,” Ryder told TheBruinsBlog.net this week after one of the team’s many practices at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., in preparation for the second round.
When asked if he holds it against Cleary that he got to be the first ever Newfoundlander to return home with the Cup, Ryder quickly dispelled that notion.
“No, not at all. It’s good him; I’m happy for him,” said Ryder. “All the things that he’s been through and he’s having a great career now. For him to win the Cup and bring it home was good to see.”
The Orange County Register earlier this week documented the support Clowe was getting from back home, despite the extreme time difference between the San Jose-Anaheim series and Newfoundland. Ryder echoed those sentiments.
“They stay up. They’re dedicated, that’s for sure,” he said. “I know a lot of people that always stay up and watch. If a Newfoundlander’s playing, they’re going to watch — it doesn’t matter how late.”
So now they still have plenty of reason to watch and root. Ryder’s not sure if the province’s support for the Bruins pre-dated his signing with Boston or if his deal turned some people, but now he gets talked up for wearing black and gold whenever he meets someone from his native land.
“I’m not sure how it was because during the summer, after I signed, more Bruins fans came out of the woodwork,” he said. “I think there’s a few back home that didn’t really want to say it before, but now they’re coming out and telling me, ‘hey, I’m a Bruins fan.’ So that’s good to see.”
Cleary might’ve set the bar high with his celebration, but that hasn’t hindered Ryder’s desire to be the second one to bring home the Cup.
“That’s what every kid dreams, bringing the Cup back to their hometown and showing it off.,” he said. “But we still have a long way to go yet.”