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Ian Clark's On Hockey: Ex-Bruin Bodnarchuk fits in with Monarchs

Despite four years as a frequent opponent, Andrew Bodnarchuk is finding it easy to fit in with the Manchester Monarchs.

A fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2006, Bodnarchuk spent the past four seasons in Providence before signing a one-year contract with Los Angeles this offseason.

&#';Once you start the hockey process, as far as being in the dressing room and being around the guys, you click pretty quick,&#'; Bodnarchuk said. &#';It&#';s funny with hockey players how quickly you mingle into the group. It&#';s nice. It looks like a nice city and it feels like a nice fit so far.&#';

Bodnarchuk played 270 games with the P-Bruins (and five with Boston), scoring 12 goals and 58 assists while playing solid defense in his own end.

&#';I think our forwards would tell you he&#';s a really tough guy to play against,&#'; said Monarchs defenseman Thomas Hickey. &#';He moves the puck well, he&#';s a good defender and we&#';re learning he&#';s a really good teammate, too. He&#';s going to be a huge addition for us.&#';

On a Monarchs team stacked with veteran defenders such as Hickey, Andrew Campbell and David Kolomatis, Bodnarchuk is expected to fit right in.

&#';He plays a steady, strong, sure-handed game. He seems to have a good understanding of how to defend and outlet pucks,&#'; said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. &#';He&#';s a welcome addition on the blue line for sure.&#';

Bodnarchuk would have obviously preferred to see more action in the NHL, but has no regrets about his time in the Boston organization.

&#';It didn&#';t work out the way I would want it to as far as the opportunities I got up top but I have nothing but good things to say about the organization and the people there,&#'; Bodnarchuk said. &#';That&#';s the team that drafted me so I went through countless camps and four years of playing pro and everyone I worked with along the way treated me great.&#';

Bodnarchuk will open the season against his former team on Friday at 7:05 in Providence.

&#';I kind of joked about it. The weirdness of it is going to be over once the puck drops,&#'; Bodnarchuk said. &#';It&#';s going to be weird coming in the visitors&#'; door and staying in the visitors&#'; locker room and maybe the first time I get seated on that visitors&#'; bench but it&#';s kind of funny it worked out that way. But I&#';m really excited.&#';

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THE MONARCHS released defenseman Mike Matczak from his tryout agreement on Tuesday. Matczak was the eighth blue-liner on the roster and most teams will carry seven (with six suiting up on game night).

Other transactions are likely before Friday&#';s opener, especially at goaltender where Manchester must decide whether to keep rookie J.F. Berube as Martin Jones&#'; backup or send him to Ontario of the ECHL where he will get more playing time. Veteran Peter Mannino is the third goalie on the roster.

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Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He may be reached at

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