By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins defenseman John Moore didn't let a nearly nine-month recovery from shoulder surgery prevent him from trying to avenge a fallen David Pastrnak after he was blasted into the boards by Chicago's Zack Smith.
And though Smith, a much more experienced banger, didn't need much to take the 29-year-old Moore down to the ice (it was a quick one-punch bout), Moore's effort to respond to a hit he did not like was not lost on his teammates and coaching staff.
“I don’t even know what to say," Pastrnak, who has been targeted repeatedly in recent contests, said of Moore's jump into action. "Hopefully he’s alright, and it’s so good to have him back. He’s such a nice guy to be around and we all love him. Gave him the tap and thanked him for coming for me, but obviously I’d rather him not [fight] at the point he just got back.”
“That’s the type of culture we have here," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "Moore wants to be part of it. From Day 1, he’s taken everything that being a Bruin is about, and taken it in full swing, and that’s what you saw.
"He’s an unbelievable teammate.”
"You can’t say enough about him, right?" Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Here he is, coming off of shoulder surgery and obviously it’s a reaction thing. He’s not thinking about anything other than protecting his teammates. So that just tells you all you need to know about his character. Probably not the perfect guy in that situation coming off that injury, but good for him."
Moore was far from the perfect guy to make Smith answer for the hit (he actually went down the tunnel immediately after the fight, initially thinking that he re-injured the shoulder that kept him on the shelf for the first 28 games of the year), but it was a veteran teammate simply not liking what the opposition was doing to Boston's top talent.
“I saw it and I didn’t like it," Moore said. "I thought something had to be done and I stepped in and did something.
"I don’t know if it was the smartest decision [in] my first game back, but I saw someone take a liberty on Pasta and felt like it was my turn [to respond]."
The good news for the Bruins is that Moore, who finished with three hits and three shots in over 16 minutes of ice-time in his season debut, said his shoulder was "totally fine" after a quick trip down the tunnel, and that he doesn't anticipate dealing with any residual problems with it from the scrap.
"He’ll earn a lot of respect in that locker room that he already had, but now even more," said Cassidy.