This time, when Todd Fedoruk smiles, the teeth are all there.
The wonders of facial plastic surgery and dental work for a former Flyers enforcer, who is trying to return to the National Hockey League this fall on a tryout contract with Vancouver.
Id like the chance to get out there and play again, said the 32-year-old winger, whos been working since mid-July at Skate Zone.
If I make it, its awesome. If I dont, I can say I gave it my all you dont always get a second chance.
This could be The Fridges last chance since being bought out of his contract in Tampa two years ago. He sat out all of last season wrestling personal demons, he said.
I stayed with the family here in New Jersey, said Fedoruk, who still owns a house in Mt. Laurel, N.J. Worked on other things, had nothing to do with the game. I trained with my wife. We bought a gym membership. That was about it.
Fedoruk needed time away from the game. Between 1999-2000 and the end of the 2004-05 season, the left winger was part of the Flyers organization, either as a Phantom, a call-up, or a regular roster player with the Flyers.
Since the lockout, however, hes been a rolling stone, playing with six NHL clubs, including a half-season with the Flyers in 2006-07.
Such is the life of an enforcer, whos had 101 career fights in the NHL, according to hockeyfights.com.
You go where the work is.
Yet being cut by Tampa was a blessing in disguise, Fedoruk said, because his life had been unraveling around him between the stops in Anaheim and Dallas and Minnesota and
It needed to happen so I could get myself back on track, he said.
I had a history of battling some things away from the game battled some demons off the ice. I had to re-prioritize my life. After that settled down, I got myself back on track.
When I was young and growing up I always had trouble finding my niche where I fit in. After some dark times, I had to go away to a place and learn some things about behavioral issues and some type of diseases I may have.
Fedoruk had an alcohol addiction that began at the age of 20 in the Western Hockey League.
I found out about alcoholism and addiction at an early age, he said. Afterward I got some help from people who had similar issues. The answers I got were ah ha moments. I learned a lot of about myself and fully agreed with their assessment on how I dealt with things.
And how those things were directly entangled with drugs and alcohol. You make mistakes. I was one of those cases who fell back into it. You hit bottom.
When Tampa bought out his contract in 2010, Fedoruk hit bottom. The recovery began last season when he sat out.
Ive been sober and clean for a year and six months come Oct. 26, Fedoruk said proudly.
Its one of the things you have to stay vigilant on and continue to work with it. Stay humble with it.
There are reminders.
The death of former Minnesota teammate Derek Boogaard last May hit Fedoruk hard. Boogaard had actually nearly destroyed Fedoruks face during a fight in 2006 when the latter played in Anaheim. Both became good friends a few years later in Minnesota.
His death was an eye opener, Fedoruk said. It was humbling to go through. That could have been me or a lot of other guys I know who deal with problems of drugs and alcohol.
Its not just hockey players, either. It comes from all walks of life.
Ferdoruk believes most NHL enforcers have issues off the ice. Mental things that drag them down.
He says most enforcers are never really secure in their role or with their team and are always wondering whether they fit. Thats their common bond, he said.
It seems more and more, the guys who are demon fighters are the ones who play this role, he said. I dont know if this goes hand-in-hand or you have to be a little crazy to do what we do. Its a price you pay.
With some rewards, he says.
Its an important role, Fedoruk said. Not so much the fighting play with a physical presence to make guys think that you are out there.
It does a lot for the pride of team when a guy can say, well, hes got my back.
The year away from the game and workouts convinced Fedoruk he could make a comeback. When he watched former PhantomFlyer teammate Dennis Seidenberg win the Stanley Cup with Boston last June, the urge to compete got to him.
Im a hockey player, Fedoruk said. Id be kicking myself later if I didnt try to come back.
On July 16, he began working out with Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin at Skate Zone while his agent, Brad Devine, worked on him getting a tryout contract with the Canucks.
I was not expecting a call from Vancouver, Fedoruk said. That was all I could ask for.
Ferdoruk says that McCrossins punishing workouts are responsible for him getting back in shape.
Jimmy knows me, knows my body, hes trained me my whole career, he said. I worked with some younger players. Those guys are your measuring stick.
You work hard to get in shape because of them. Jimmys workout can crush you. It was solid foundation of where I needed to be for a training camp and maybe impress someone.
On Sept. 8, Fedoruk leaves for Vancouver. The rest is out of his control.
All I wanted was a chance, Fedoruk smiled.