WILMINGTON, Mass. — It’s somewhat amazing to a mere mortal sports writer that Bruins 2009 sixth-round draft pick Tyler Randell can even lift his arms, let alone compete at the team’s development camp.
The Kitchener Rangers forward, who was among the group on the ice today as the fifth annual development camp got underway at Ristuccia Arena, recorded 21 fighting majors last season in the Ontario Hockey League.
“They were pretty spaced out. One game I had two fights in the game, which is pretty rough,” he explained after an hour-long on ice session. “It gets rough on the hands after a while. But it’s your job. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and you do what it takes to get to the next level. By the end of the year, your hands heal up and you’re good to go.”
For good measure, Randell used his hands for other things than fighting. he also scored 20 goals and recorded 32 points in 68 regular-season games. But those 160 penalty minutes really stand out on his stats line.
A few of those minutes came from fights with guys currently in development camp with Randell, namely Jared Knight and Anthony Camara. The fight with Knight was as much playful as it was rugged.
“It was 8-2 and I didn’t really realize it was him and gave him a crosscheck to the face, I think,” explained Knight as he dressed next to Randell in the Bruins’ dressing room and explained that the two are still buddies. “He didn’t like it so he dropped his gloves, I dropped my gloves and it wasn’t a very long fight. But …”
When you fight as often as Randell, you’re bound to run into a few people you know along the way.
“You can be great friends or you can hate each other, you can still do the same job on the ice,” he explained.
Randell named Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton as players he models his game on. Like those Bruins stars, Randell wants to strike a balance between production and pugilism.
“I definitely want to take on the power forward role – not just fight and stick up for my teammates but also take pucks to the net and try to create for my teammates,” said Randell.
This fall, the 20-year-0ld Randell hopes to earn a spot at least with the Providence (AHL) farm club rather than get returned to junior hockey. He might have to fight his way to a job, which shouldn’t be a problem considering his past.