WILMINGTON, Mass. — Justin Florek had been waiting for several days for the prospects at the Bruins’ fifth annual development camp to finally get into some game action.
The Northern Michigan incoming senior then took advantage of the opportunity by scoring twice and assisting on a third goal in the black team’s 3-1 win over the white team at Ristuccia Arena.
“It was great. That’s what I was looking forward to all week,” said Florek. “Those practices, they get a little repetitious and stuff. But obviously it’s great to be out here with guys like this and the coaches and stuff. But the scrimmages is what I’ve been looking forward to just to show my style of hockey that I can’t show during practices.”
Florek’s an aspiring school teacher who will need to someday do his student teaching to finish his degree once his playing career is over. If the 6-foot-4, 194-pound winger can keep putting his size and hands to use like he did in the scrimmage — one of his goals was a snipe from the left wing side inside the far post — he won’t be landing in a class room anytime soon.
The Bruins see the 2010 fifth-round pick as a bit of a project with some natural gifts.
“Well I mean you look at the physical size and he isn’t even done, you know, filling out that frame,” said assistant general manager Don Sweeney. “So there’s a lot of room there. Look at the drills, look at the power skating, you know it’s hard for him because he’s not a kid that’s a fluid skater. But he gets there, and he’s heavy when he gets there. And he’s heavy around the front of the net and then you see the release when he gets one chance. Some guys need two, three, four, five, right? But he gets one and buries it. That’s the stuff that you kind of say, ‘okay, if we can continue to work on the other stuff, and he’s willing to work on that stuff then you know you could find a player there for sure.'”
Florek has shown improvement from last summer. During his junior year, he totaled 28 points (13 goals) in 39 games. This season he’ll be looked upon to fill numerous roles with Northern Michigan.
“We’re going to have a pretty young team, so I’m looking forward to being a leader and helping out my senior year,” he said.
Maybe that mentoring can count toward that secondary-education degree because it looks like hockey’s going to postpone his school work for a little while.