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Punch Line: Frederic Adds Pop To Bruins Bench

We would assume Bob and Gaye Frederic went through the normal routine raising their young hockey player.

They woke up insanely early on hundreds of dark and frigid St. Louis mornings, packed the gear into the trunk of the family car and headed off to the rink, stopping along the route for coffees and buttered hard rolls.

Then, they dropped their son Trent off and found a seat on an aluminon bleacher and wondered how wonderful it would be if it all led to something truly special, like a college scholarship and a chance to play professional hockey.

Trent Frederic, Boston Bruins

Maddie Meyer/Getty

Well, Trent Frederic did end up going to Wisconsin where he was a Badgers alternate captain. And he eventually was drafted by the Boston Bruins and sent to their AHL farm team in Providence, R.I., to incubate.

And then Tuesday rolled around and you wouldn’t believe what launched the Frederic’s out of their seats at TD Garden in Boston where their son made his NHL debut with the Bruins.

It wasn’t for a crushing check. It wasn’t for a nifty assist. It wasn’t even for a glittering goal.

Their kid, just 20 years old, made his debut truly notable by using about a dozen punches to beat the stuffing out Brandon Taney of the Winnipeg Jets.

You should have seen the shot on NESN of the Frederics after the linesmen broke up the fight. They were pumping their fists and jumping around as the Garden welcomed their new hero with a thunderous standing ovation.

After the game, Frederic was told his parents had been on television.

“I was like ‘Uh-oh,’ ” said Frederic after the game.

The fight started as most fights do. Players were pushing and shoving in front of the Jets goal at 16:16 of the second period.  Frederic and Tanev, who’d already had three fights this season, broke away from a scrum with another Winnipeg player, grabbed each other by the jersey and pirouetted before the bell rang.

Once Frederic began landing right hands, the voice of Jack Edwards, the Bruins play-by-play man, rose at least two octaves. He was as breathless as Howard Cosell after watching George Foreman deck heavyweight champ Joe Frazier – “Down Goes Frazier, Down Goes Frazier, Down Goes Frazier” –  in the first round of their title fight in 1973.

“I was getting my feet wet, and it just lived up to the hype of my first NHL game,” said Trent after the game. “It was a lot of fun.”

Frederic, 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, pulled up his No. 82 sweater sleeves and skated to the penalty box, once a man, then a myth, and now a legend.

“Listen, he said it. He said, ‘I came out of school to play in the National Hockey League,’. … and I think he means it,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He’s a big body, he’s got some of that in him where he’s willing to do that. So if those are your strengths or the intangibles that you bring, then you need to bring them. And he did.”

Over the last few weeks, Bruins message boards have implored management to find a third-line center to bolster the lineup. And after spending time in the AHL, where he had four fights, the Bruins gave their 2016 first-round pick a shot and sat back to see if he could stick.

“I think he knows that there’s a window here to show what he can and if that’s part of it, then get after it,” said Cassidy. “I don’t expect him to do that (fight) every night, but a guy came at him and he was willing to stand up for himself, so good for him. I think he did a lot of other things well. He was trying to be physical against a physical line. I think he’ll endear himself to the fans if he plays like that. And to his teammates. And the coaching staff.”

Another of the night’s highlights was splashed all over social media. Frederic was playing on a line with David Backes. When he was nine, Frederic posed for a photo with Backes when the veterans played for the St. Louis Blues.

Frederic played just 8:29, had two shots on goal and won four faceoffs in Boston’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Jets.

“I thought he played very well and as advertised. He played between the dots, strong on pucks, played behind their ‘D,’ made a few plays. He had a chance to shoot it and he did,” said Cassidy. “And a great scrap. Good for him. We need some of that.”

When it was over, Frederic took some time to reflect on those days long away in the backseat of the family car.

“It was really cool,” Frederic said. “My parents probably showed a lot of emotion because they followed my brothers around and stuff. … A fight isn’t as cool as a goal so I can only imagine what they would do then.”

 

 

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