BUFFALO — Anthony Florentino, who is playing for Buffalo in the Prospects Challenge, grew up in West Roxbury, Mass., rooting his heart out for the Bruins.
So it’s not a surprise that the opportunity to face players wearing the Spoked B on their chests was on the mind of the former Providence College defenseman before the Sabres and Bruins played on Saturday night.
“It was pretty cool. I was actually thinking about that after warm-ups, growing up watching (the Bruins). I realized I’m one step closer but I’ve got a lot of work to do. It was a pretty cool feeling,” said Florentino, who is headed for Rochester on an AHL contract this season.
“You’ve got to play loose. You can’t be tense and uptight about it. I relaxed a little and thought about how far I’ve come. It was definitely a cool experience.”
The burly Florentino was ready to go with Boston’s Ryan Fitzgerald during a third-period scrum, but the linesmen intervened.
“Fitzy’s a good guy. He competes. You’ve got to do what you have to do, especially in this. Nothing but respect for Fitzy. He’s a great player. He plays hard. I play hard,” he said.
Florentino was pleased with his play in the first two games.
“Obviously there’s some shifts I wish I could have back, but overall I can’t be too hard on myself. It’s all a learning experience and making a good first impression. You can’t play tense and overthink. I’m pretty happy with my performance,” he said.
With his PC degree in his backpocket, Florentino is looking forward to his first pro season.
“It’s definitely going to be different. I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands, so I’ll try to stay busy and make sure I’m taking care of my body. It’s going to be a big jump for me, without the stress of school and whatnot.
“I’m going to miss it, being around the guys, Friartown. Awesome four years. I’m going to miss it for sure but I’m ready for the road ahead,” he said.