WILMINGTON, Mass. — Here’s a plea to David Warsofsky’s night-school history teacher, if he or she reads this blog.
Please excuse David from some of his homework responsibilities this weekend.
You see, David has a shot to someday play in the NHL, and part of that goal is attending the Bruins’ development camp this weekend and working as hard as he can to improve and be ready for the defending Stanley Cup champions’ main training camp in the fall.
Yes, Warsofsky recently left Boston University a year early to get on with his hockey career at the professional level. But he’s still pursuing his degree and hopes to graduate by next summer. By then, he’ll have had a full year of professional hockey experience and maybe even made a contribution to Boston’s defense of the Cup title.
The road to achieving his dream of playing in the NHL started yesterday with the opening of the Bruins’ fifth annual development camp at Ristuccia Arena. This is Warsofsky’s second development camp with the Bruins since they acquired his rights from St. Louis at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Last summer he was coming off surgery for a sports hernia when he arrived at camp, so he was a little slow. But his health isn’t the only difference this year.
“I think this year it’s a lot different because I’m under contract and I’m signed. I think I’m trying to make a statement at this point too so I can better myself going into rookie camp and training camp,” he explained after today’s double on-ice session. “But I’m just trying to improve every day – just keep things simple and play my game.”
Warsofsky’s game is anything but simple. Such is the life of a player trying to make it at the sport’s highest level while generously listed at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds. He has to work extra hard to contribute and make a name for himself for something other than his size.
“I like to be offensive,” said Warsofsky, who put up 68 points in 113 career games at BU. “I think I’m pretty creative with the puck, so I don’t want to always be known as that guy that’s too small. I just try to put that [offensive skill] in my back pocket and use that over everything else.”
Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney skated in more than 1,100 NHL games and produced more than 600 points. So that Warsofsky has him around should be a benefit.
“With his skill set, he’s got to move the puck, his power-play skills, that might not completely translate in this environment [of development camp],” said Sweeney. “You know sometimes it’s a little ‘scrambly’ and kids are playing out of position and whatever. But you know, from an overall skill, when the puck settles down on his stick, you’ll realize what he brings to the table. I think it was real important for David to get into Providence last year and understand that, I guess I’ll speak from experience, that size is going to present a challenge to him. He knows that. He’s only played at this size so that’s a good thing in terms of where he’s standing, because he’ll look at it and say, ‘what do I have to compare it to?’
“But the thinking part of the game and understanding body position, things that you’d get away with maybe at the other levels you do not get away with at the pro level. And he needs to understand that and go to work on it. I think he’s been going through the conversations, going back over the conversations we’ve had. You know, we’re excited that he’s accepting that as well as what he does bring to the table from an offensive, puck moving, and the way he thinks of the game.”
The Bruins should provide Warsofsky with the proper environment and tutelage to maximize his playing potential. He might need an excuse note to get out of class this weekend, but there will be no excuses once hockey season rolls around.
He sounds ready to do whatever it takes to develop.
“I’m young and I have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “If I do go down to Providence, that’s not bad. I think it’s an unbelievable opportunity down there and I’ll just try to improve down there and work my way up.”