But there’s another date that could hold some significance for the former Maple Leaf. On Jan. 7, Bozak’s Blues will head to Philadelphia to take on his old pal and longtime linemate James van Riemsdyk.
“I think six years, it was, and we were pretty much linemates the whole time,” Bozak said during an interview on Prime Time Sports on Wednesday, reflecting on his time skating alongside JVR. “I mean, we like to credit each other for our success. Obviously we’re unbelievable friends now and we’ll stay in touch as we grow older for sure and obviously hope that we can play together again at some point. But to find chemistry with someone and be able to stick with them and play with them for that long, obviously you grow friendships with everyone you play with but I think more so your linemates that you spend time with out on the ice with, creating those memories with.”
During an interview on Tuesday, van Riemsdyk credited his chemistry with Bozak for his ability to earn a lucrative five-year, $35-million contract with the Flyers — “I owe him for the contract I just got,” he said on on Sportsnet 590 — and Bozak indicated on Wednesday that the feeling is mutual.
“It was nice of him to say that, but I obviously owe a huge part of my success to him as well,” Bozak said. “We meshed really well together on the ice and are really good buddies off it.”
The longtime Maple Leaf signed a three-year, $15 million-deal with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, officially ending his time with the only NHL team he’s ever played for.
Unlike van Riemsdyk, who is returning to the team that drafted him No. 2 overall back in 2007, Bozak will be venturing into unknown territory for the first time in his NHL career. The 32-year-old centreman, who penned an emotional letter to Toronto in The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday, said during Wednesday’s interview that while he has “all good memories” of playing in the hockey-crazed market of Toronto, he’s looking forward to experiencing life in the midwest.
“Obviously playing in a Canadian market in Toronto in a big city like that and being downtown and everything, nothing will really compare to that. Maybe Toronto and Montreal might be the only two teams that can kind of be like that,” Bozak said. “To be honest with you, I’m really excited for that change of pace and being in that market for as long as I have, it’s going to be a pretty cool experience to kind of try something new and see what the other markets are all about.”
Listen to the full interview here: