Adam McQuaid eager to fill ‘big shoes’ of Johnny Boychuk
|10.25.10 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid has been a trooper for the Bruins, doing his work daily despite knowing that an injury to a teammate was likely the only thing that could get in him in the B’s lineup. McQuaid was a healthy scratch for the team’s first six games, but following the news that Johnny Boychuk will miss approximately a month with a fractured bone in his left forearm, the 24-year-old blueliner seems set to inherit quite a few games.
“I’m really excited. It’s not the way you want to get in, but I’m just trying to stay sharp in practice and injuries are part of the game,” McQuaid said after practice on Monday. “Chances were at some point in time, someone wasn’t going to be able to play, so I was just trying to stay prepared and be ready when I got the chance.”
McQuaid last played for the B’s in the preseason but has practiced with the team daily along with fellow healthy scratches Brian McGrattan and Daniel Paille, the latter of whom dressed in the season-opener in Prague.
So how does one keep themselves familiar with the speed of in-game scenarios when they’ve gone so long without seeing them? Much like Tuukka Rask said of his case during his recent start-less stretch, the name of the game is making the most of practice.
“Just [use] the game situation stuff in practice, that’s really all you can do,” McQuaid said. “Obviously it will be little bit different when I get out there, but I’ll just have to adjust.”
McQuaid skated in just 19 games last season and added nine more in the playoffs, something that he said was big for his development given the “intensity level.” He’s confident that he can make the most of this opportunity, and the Bruins believe he’s certainly capable of doing so.
“Every time he’s played for us, as far as I’m concerned, he’s never cost us,” Claude Julien said Monday. “It’s been simple and solid play, and we have confidence that he can step in and do the job.”
McQuaid, who had one assist over his 27 total games with the Bruins a season ago, knows that it’s only natural to expect a little rust when he takes the ice on Thursday against the Maple Leafs. He doesn’t expect it to last more than “one or two shifts,” as he feels he has managed to make the most of his time in practice.
The pairings in practice on Monday saw McQuaid teamed with Matt Hunwick on the third set of defensemen. Though he’s replacing Boychuk on the roster, he won’t let himself get too concerned with trying to replace a top-pairing defenseman.
“I’ve been itching to get in,” he said. “I haven’t gotten to play a regular-season game yet this year, so I’m looking forward to it. [Those are] big shoes to fill for Johnny, but hopefully I can just step in and fill somewhat of his shoes.”