BOSTON — Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka came up through the Bruins' system together, forging a close friendship as they played together in both Providence and Boston.
But Marchand's initial reaction to the news that Sobotka had been traded to St. Louis at the draft in June was more pragmatic than emotional.
"My first thought was it opens up a spot [in Boston]," said Marchand. "But you know I love Vladdy. He's a great guy and we became very close the past couple years. I think it's going to be a good opportunity for him there. You never like to see a friend get traded away, but that's life."
On Saturday, Marchand and Sobotka play against each other for the first time when the Blues visit the Garden, but don't expect the former linemates to get too sentimental about the reunion.
"It's going to be fun," said Marchand. "But at the same time it's a job. Even though we're good friends, we have to put that aside. I have to hate him on the ice, so if I get the chance to run him, 'Look out Vladdy.'"
And Marchand also plans to run his mouth, as the Bruins' resident trash talker is sure to have plenty of ammunition on his old buddy from their years together.
"I've got some dirt on him," said Marchand. "I don't want to go too far to hurt, but I'll try to get under his skin."
Marchand was sporting a few stitches in his top lip from a high stick by Washington's Nicklas Backstrom on Friday, but made it clear the injury won't prevent him from chirping at everyone in a Blues sweater on Saturday, including his old buddy.
Marchand also hopes to torment St. Louis with some offensive production, as he admits he has some renewed confidence in his offensive game after finally scoring his first NHL goal Wednesday at Buffalo.
"It just brings a sense of confidence to you once you score that first one," said Marchand. "You get the monkey off your back. But it's a long season, hopefully it's just one of many."
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