Nick Foligno, Bruins’ stormy start and daylight vision: ‘I feel young again’

Nick Foligno I feel amazing. The back injury that troubled him in Toronto was forgotten. His old explosive off-season workouts, the ones he had to modify in 2021 to prioritize his back, are back in 2022.

“This is the best summer I’ve had in three years,” says Foligno, who settled in Boston after vacationing with his family in Sudbury, Ontario. “And it excites me. I feel like I’m back where I was, and it’s mentally huge. Especially when you get older. You have these little injuries to deal with, it’s frustrating. So now I feel young again, in a stupid way to say it.”

Foligno’s revival comes after one forgotten year in Boston. He scored the two worst goals of his career in 64 matches. Much of what he knew, from the initial searches to the confrontations that resulted in 203 previous targets, is gone.

It was like before Columbus The captain lost much of what made him an NHLer.

“You have a lot of pride,” Foligno says. “For me, it was just a fight, not even a lot of external negativity. I’m very hard on myself. I’m sure the fans or anyone else, I was even more disappointed that I couldn’t deliver what I was expected to do. Not to beat myself up. I still think there were good pockets. It’s just not the standard I’d expect of myself.”

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Until the past two seasons, Foligno’s body has usually overcome challenges issued by its owner. The profession of checking foreclosures, loitering at the front, and fighting across the board didn’t cost Foligno much time to get out of uniform.

Last year, his luck ran out.

“I never felt like I could move on,” Foligno says. “When I got here, I had a great camp. I felt really good. But the boom, the wheels fell off, the wheels broke, the wheels broke. I was just disappointed that I just Not possible Find a way to move forward. I didn’t feel well until the end of the season going into the playoffs.”

On October 20, in only his second appearance, Foligno damaged his mile Philadelphia He missed eight games. MCL injury on January 8 against Tampa Bay He was sent off for four games. January 24 fight with Sam Carrick It ended with a concussion and a four-game squat. The pursuit of previously familiar sensations all season left Foligno in pursuit.

By the time Foligno was back and settled, then-coach Bruce Cassidy had clarified his role: fourth-line winger, with an occasional penalty shift. Foligno favored expanded responsibilities.

“Obviously any player would want to play more,” he says. “But I think I understood where she was. We had an honest conversation about, ‘This is where I need you right now.’ It didn’t make me feel unimportant. He was like, ‘I think to help you and help our team, I think we need this on our team.'” I understood. I was like, “Yeah, I really can’t ask for more ice time when I’m not really giving you what I expect of myself.”

“There were moments in the games where you wanted to go up based on how you were feeling. But that’s all up to the coach. He has every right to decide how he wants to do it. It wasn’t really a clash. …I think it was just Understand, “This is where we are.”


Nick Foligno, 37, listens to Bruce Cassidy talk on the bench. (James Gilroy/USA Today)

Foligno understood why Cassidy was identified Thomas NozickThe left wing as his ideal destination. He finished the game averaging 0.18 goals per 60 minutes of play from five to five. His only career number at the sight of such absurdity, according to Natural Statistics Trick, was 0.39 goals per 60 segments in 2012-13. By stats alone, it was as if Foligno had forgotten how to score. so like Bruins Approaching the extension track, Foligno advanced on the start and stop, along with leveling the other lines, leaving Cassidy with no choice.

Foligno’s reality made him face mental fatigue just as much as physical wear. All this was new to Foligno. can not continue.

Lean on his teammates. He consulted with team psychologists Stephen Durant and Max Offenberger.

By March, Foligno had dealt with his bad luck with the injury explaining his production. He has achieved his own forgiveness.

“I was lucky to have these people around me. And some of my teammates,” says Foligno. “You help them. But they also help you. It’s just the way things go sometimes in the season. I haven’t really had a season in which he was injured.”

Foligno hopes that is out of his system.

something to prove

This training camp, Foligno’s goal is to show new coach Jim Montgomery that his predecessor’s assessment was based on incomplete evidence. It may be these injuries, more than career depletion, that explain why Foligno falls short in multiple categories, from winning his races to generating chances to finishing his chances.

“I think you’ll only see a more confident player,” he says. “When I transfer a player, I have a step or two now to play or get to the net. That was what was difficult for me. In the past year, I always felt that because of going in and out in the squad and injuries, I never felt like I understood how I needed to play and order. which we were playing and where I needed to go. Now, I feel like I understand, Well, that’s what I have to do in this team. We had a good chat with Monty.

“I just look forward to being the kind of high-energy, in-your-face guy that I am. I think the abuse and everything else will come.”

This season, the 34-year-old Foligno cannot afford an early setback. He has to convince a different coach of his abilities. Foligno has a much younger and cheaper internal competition, than 24 Juna Kobanin to 22 years old Jacob Lauko.

In many ways, time may be Foligno’s most dangerous detective. He will turn 35 on Halloween. After a month or six weeks, Brad Marchand And the Charlie McAvoy You may approach clearance.

Assuming everyone is healthy once Marchand and McAvoy and Matt Gerzelec Willing to part with the long-term casualty reserve, the Bruins will have to move the salary to be in line with the cap. General Manager Don Sweeney may consider Foligno’s transaction, whether it is an AHL trade or referral, as an option. Bruins could save $1.125 million divided prorated by sending Foligno to Providence.

That’s because, in addition to its two-target output, Foligno has a second red flag figure: its average annual value of $3.8 million. The two don’t get along.


Nick Foligno (Stephen R. Sylvani / USA Today)

Sweeney signed Foligno to a two-year, $7.6 million contract, in part for the character. The former Columbus captain is more familiar with the intangibles that make a team buzz: a kick to the back of a sagging teammate, a kick in the pants for poor performance, an on-ice standoff that rounds out the roster.

Foligno is good at all of these things. He is a skilled leader at reading the room and knowing what you need.

However, there comes a point when a coach needs to be productive. Foligno is ready for delivery.

“I felt like I didn’t have that pop,” Foligno says. “All past summer, I’ve been rehabilitating my back. So I had to find a way to get health almost out the back door. Now, the plyos are there. The jump and blast I needed. I just felt like I didn’t have it.”

“Now I feel like I’m on the ice, I can get there. I’m there. I’ll be there on time. I’m almost done.”

Foligno knows they have nowhere to go but to climb. He is eager to embark on the process.

The lid clock is ticking.

(Top photo: Orlando Ramirez/USA Today)

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