VANCOUVER — Injuries cost Andrew Alberts all but 42 games in the regular season and a spot in the Canucks’ lineup this season.
Now as the 2011 Stanley Cup Final starts tonight against his former team, the Bruins, barring an injury to another defenseman, Alberts won’t be part of the action. However, he probably won’t let the scratch prevent him from being a solid character guy in Vancouver’s locker room.
“He’s a great guy and he works extremely hard,” said Vancouver veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis yesterday. “It’s probably a little tougher for him being in and out of the lineup and he’s not really sure when he’s playing. But he’s a guy that it doesn’t really get him down, or he doesn’t show it anyway. It’s a tough spot to be in, especially being a veteran guy. So I’m really impressed with his positive attitude and work ethic during the season.”
Alberts suffered a shoulder injury and a broken wrist over the course of this season. He has only played in three playoff games, none since Game 3 of the second-round series against Nashville.
“A lot of texts, phone calls,” said Alberts, who also starred at Boston College before joining the Bruins, about the communication with buddies back in the Hub. “I wish I was playing right now. It’s fun to be a part of it and if something happens I’ll be ready to go.”
Alberts logged 184 NHL games in black and gold before he was traded to Philadelphia in the fall of 2008. He says he has no ill will toward the Bruins, who he knows traded him because he was heading toward free agency and they didn’t have a lot of playing time for him. He still looks back at his early days as a rookie in a fond manner.
“I think just your development. My first year, Brian Leetch was there, Hal Gill. Two good players and just learning how to be a professional on and off the ice with those guys [was big],” said Alberts. “Joe [Thornton] was there for a little bit, and Glen Murray and the first couple years you really start to learn a lot about the game on and off the ice and I’ve kind of carried that through my career.”
Alberts has played nearly 400 games in six NHL seasons. That’s a credit to his hard work and some solid drafting by the Bruins, who got Alberts with a sixth-round pick in 2001.