James van Riemsdyk has spent the past 14 NHL seasons playing against the Boston Bruins. For the first time in his career, he will be on the other side of the heated rivalries of his former teams.

“Certainly on the other side of some pretty intense rivalries for a lot of years,” van Riemsdyk told reporters after his first captains’ practice with the Bruins at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday. “… Heard a lot of great things about a lot of the guys and obviously a lot of great players in the room, so really looking forward to it.”

The veteran forward was drafted second overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers and made his debut for the black and orange in the 2009-10 season, potting 15 goals and adding 20 assists in his rookie campaign.

Even though the Flyers completed an epic comeback after being down three games to none to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2009, van Riemsdyk remembers the Bruins as being contenders when he was playing hockey at the University of New Hampshire and playing Boston was always a game he got up for.

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“Over the years, it was always kind of a measuring stick game.” van Riemsdyk said. “… It felt like every single year since I’ve been in the league, they were a team that was going to have a chance to win so entering into free agency it was exciting to get a call from these guys and exciting to get the chance to be a part of the that with all the great players and pieces that are here.”

He may have been on the winning side of the epic comeback in 2009, but van Riemsdyk was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013 when the Bruins had their own “Game of the Decade” in the first round of the postseason.

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When van Riemsdyk signed the one-year deal with the Bruins, he said he was looking to bring his veteran skillset to complement the core of players already in Boston.

“This is going to be my 15th year and a couple of earlier playoff runs that went far, but not too many lately,” van Riemsdyk said. “That’s what it’s all about now. It’s just trying to find a way to win games and try to chase down the ultimate prize. That’s what’s exciting about a team like this with a lot of great players here.”

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Featured image via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images