BOSTON — It’s not earth-shattering news when a pro athlete that has seen his playing time cut says he still wants to be a part of the team he’s on.
Especially when it comes to a pro’s pro like Mark Stuart, you’re not likely to get any quotes that would even make a ripple across the locker room — even on the morning of what’s scheduled to be the veteran defenseman’s fifth straight healthy scratch.
“This is where I want to be,” Stuart said today after getting in some extra on-ice work after the Bruins’ morning skate. “I’d like to be playing, obviously, but I’m still part of the team. So I’m going to do what I can.”
Stuart, who carries a cap hit of $1.675 million and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, is always the subject of trade rumors. He said he doesn’t listen to them or check in with his agent about a possible relocation. He’s just adjusting to his new role as the seventh defenseman.
“Of course, you don’t accept it. You’re not in there and it’s frustrating. You also can’t get too frustrated and become a negative part of the team,” said the 26-year-old.
Head coach Claude Julien confirmed this morning that he would stick with the same six defensemen he has used the last few games. That means that while the Bruins are playing their first period against Dallas, Stuart will be getting in an off-ice workout. Stuart said the toughest part right now is staying in shape with the game-heavy schedule and the weather wreaking havoc on some of the team’s plans.
Nonetheless, Stuart’s not making any waves and Julien continues to commend his player’s “great attitude.” And although his teammates are around to support him, Stuart says he’s not looking for anyone’s pity.
“It’s part of the business. There’s no feelings in this game. It’s a game and we get paid for it,” he said. “I’m not expecting anybody to feel sorry for me.”