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Ryder aiming for bounceback season

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  September 13, 2010 11:35 AM

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BOLTON -- The Bruins and their guests have gathered at The International and are ready to kick off their annual tournament, one of the many unofficial indications that summer is over.

Among the golfers is Michael Ryder, who will be under close watch in training camp and at the start of the season. Ryder, who has one year ($4 million annually) remaining on his contract, could be a candidate for assignment once Marco Sturm is activated off long-term injured reserve. But if Ryder, projected to skate alongside David Krejci and Blake Wheeler once more, could make his roster spot a permanent one if he dusts off last year's struggles.

"There's definitely always pressure," Ryder said. "This year, I've got to make sure I have a better year than last year. It was disappointing overall. I just think I've got to come out strong and get off to a good start. For me personally, I know the things I've got to better at from last year. I've got to try to shoot more and get the puck in the net."

Ryder scored 18 goals in 82 games last season. The year before, Ryder found the back of the net 27 times.

What might help Ryder this year is Krejci's health. Krejci, who dislocated his right wrist against Philadelphia, said he's very close to feeling 100 percent. Last year, Krejci was coming off hip surgery and wasn't himself at the start of the season. In turn, Ryder and Wheeler suffered because of their center's yet-to-click game.

"I'm still part of this team," Ryder said. "I've just to go out there and prove that I belong here."

* Tim Thomas said he continues to improve as he works his hip back into game shape. "It's pretty good," Thomas said. "I was on the ice for a bit last week. It passed every test we've thrown it so far." Thomas said it will be up to the medical staff to determine how he progresses in camp. Thomas is expecting he'll be ready for the regular season. "That's what we're shooting for -- by the opening of the regular season to be 100 percent," Thomas said. "It's been going pretty well. It might end up being 100 percent before that."

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