|Adam McQuaid ready to stick in the Bruins’ lineup for good||11.30.10 at 6:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid has gotten plenty of attention this season, but each time he’s been in the spotlight, it seems it’s been because of another player. That’s generally the life of a healthy scratch, but it’s a life McQuaid no longer leads.
When Johnny Boychuk‘s forearm ended up being fractured following a slash he took from Brandon Dubinsky on Oct. 23 against the Rangers, McQuaid, who had spent the first six games of the season in a suit, got the call. He’s received attention lately for post-practice battle drills with Marc Savard, something the team hopes will get the center ready for the physical aspect of the game. Now, the questions about McQuaid regard how he can step in and replace Matt Hunwick, who the team traded to Colorado on Monday in a team to clear cap space.
“It’s an opportunity. I’m not going to try and change too much,” McQuaid. “I’m obviously not going to step in and replace what [Hunwick] did. I’ll just play my own game, and hopefully secure a spot.”
Indeed, McQuaid will not replace what Hunwick brought to the table, as speed and puck-moving are not McQuaid’s forte. Instead, McQuaid’s safe and bruising style (and right-handed shot) will have to suffice. The “secure a spot” talk doesn’t really apply to McQuaid right away at least, as the move to send Hunwick out was also a vote of confidence for McQuaid from the Bruins. This isn’t a quick fix or a temporary replacement while a guy is hurt — McQuaid is now part of the six, something he hasn’t been able to say without somebody being injured.
“It can be mentally tough when you’re in and out of the lineup, and from game to game not sure if you’re going to play,” McQuaid said. “I think if anything, it’s made me mentally tougher. Being here all year and practicing, it gives me the opportunity to be up here at this level.”
In 10 games this season, McQuaid has an assist and an even rating to go along with 21 penalty minutes. His teammates know that there’s some give and take involved with swapping McQuaid in for Hunwick, but they’re excited to see what he can do with a job that is definitely his own.
“It gives us another right-handed shot. Hunwick’s a good skater, and it gives an opportunity for Adam to step in and do a good job,” Boychuk said.
McQuaid played in 19 games last year, registering one goal and 21 penalty minutes before adding six more penalty minutes in nine playoff games. A lower-body injury forced him out of Game 3 against the Flyers and kept him out for the rest of the playoffs.
“He was basically playing very safe last year. He didn’t want to make mistakes, and I think this year, he’s got more confidence,” Julien said. “That confidence is coming from a little bit more experience. That’s probably what’s changed the most about his game.”
McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season when the Bruins take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
|UPDATE: Bruins scratch Johnny Boychuk vs. Rangers||11.17.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
NEW YORK –[UPDATED, 6:50 pm] Claude Julien and his coaching staff took the day to think about it, and ultimately decided to hold off on rushing Johnny Boychuk (forearm) back to the lineup on Wednesday night in York.
Earlier in the day, Julien described Boychuk as being a game-time decision after the 26-year-old blueliner participated in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, going through all the motions without any pain.
Boychuk has been sporting a playing cast on his left forearm, something he’ll continue to use as he eases his way back into the lineup. He saw that as a possibility on Wednesday.
“If they want me to go,” Boychuk said, “I’m ready to go.”
Julien was a little more careful with his words, noting that the idea of having to sit one of his healthy and productive defensemen isn’t so appetizing, especially if Boychuk isn’t totally ready.
“In order for him to be able to get back in, he’s got to be able to help us,” Julien said. “He’s got to be closer to 100 percent than not, because we’re going to be taking out a player who’s healthy and 100 percent. You’ve got to make that decision, and we’re going to give ourselves the opportunity to think about it more today. I know his situation is that he may not be 100 percent.
“We’ve got back-to-back games, so we may put him in,” Julien added. “‘¦We’ve got to make the right decision, not just for the team, but for him as well.”
The Bruins play the Panthers on Thursday at the Garden. Should Boychuk dress back in Boston, it is assumed that Adam McQuaid, or perhaps Matt Hunwick, would be a healthy scratch.
In six games this season, Boychuk has three points, all assists, and a plus-three rating.
THOMAS OFF FIRST
Tim Thomas was the first Bruins’ goaltender off the ice on Wednesday, an indication he will start vs. Henrik Lundqvist. The 36-year-old Bruins’ netminder did not play in the last meeting between the two teams, a 3-2 Rangers’ victory in which Tuukka Rask took the loss.
Thomas is coming off a shutout of the Devils on Monday and is now 9-1-0 on the season with a 1.32 goals against average and .960 save percentage. Should he blank the Rangers, he’d post back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season and tie his career high with five.
|Bruins set for bout with Maple Leafs||10.28.10 at 6:23 pm ET|
The Bruins are set to face off against the Maple Leafs, who are off to a 5-2-1 start to the season. The biggest difference in Thursday night’s lineup for the B’s will naturally be the presence of Adam McQuaid, who has been called upon to dress after Johnny Boychuk suffered fractured forearm on Saturday. McQuaid has been a healthy scratch for the first six games of the season.
McQuaid has skated on the third pairing with Matt Hunwick in practice this week, with Andrew Ference jumping up to the top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Claude Julien cautioned against expecting the pairings to stick throughout the games, as the Bruins have had no problems with switching them up over the course of a game.
“I think you’ve seen enough games by now that we don’t really stick with pairs. We mix and match,” Julien said Thursday.
With that being said, here is the anticipated lineup for Thursday:
Zdeno Chara – Andrew Ference
Matt Hunwick – Adam McQuaid
|It’s finally game day for Adam McQuaid||at 1:33 pm ET|
Defenseman Adam McQuaid has seen plenty of ice time in practice. A healthy scratch in each of the Bruins’ first six games of the season, the 24-year-old recently inherited a spot in the lineup when the Bruins received news that Johnny Boychuk would be out for approximately a month with a fractured bone in his forearm. Now that he can expect some playing time, the practices have had a little more meaning for McQuaid, who had previously used them to stay sharp for if and when he got the call.
“They’ve been good,” McQuaid said of the last three practices. “It’s been good to kind of get into the rotation a little bit more in practice. It’s been a while, so I’m just looking forward to getting in there.”
It has been a while. McQuaid last played in the playoffs for the Bruins last season, an experience he speaks highly of given that being exposed to such a high level of intensity has prepared him for just about anything.
McQuaid laughed when asked if he was fully prepared to step in and serve as a clone for Boychuk, but did note that the two share one major similarity. After all, it wasn’t long ago that Boychuk, now a top-two defenseman paired with Zdeno Chara, was sitting out games as a healthy scratch as he himself itched for playing time last year. Once he did get the opportunity, Boychuk posted a plus-10 rating in 51 regular season games.
“He did an amazing job last year as far as when he sat out there for a while and then came in and did an awesome job,” McQuaid said of Boychuk. “I’m just looking to come in, get my feet wet and if I can do as well as he did, I’d be extremely happy.”
In 19 regular season games last year, McQuaid had one assist and he dressed in nine playoff contests for the B’s. Claude Julien hasn’t been able to see a difference in McQuaid’s game given that he simply hasn’t been able to play, but that doesn’t seem to deter the coach from having confidence in his young defenseman when he does take the ice.
“He hasn’t played a regular season game yet, so it’s hard for me to stand here and throw flowers at the guy, but I think if anything, he’s a player that’s matured and we like what we saw from him last year when he was called upon. He was a good slid player for us. He plays safe. He plays a good strong game, he’s very physical, he’s a tough individual and he doesn’t cost you. So those things put together make him a great candidate for a hockey club.”
|Dennis Seidenberg confident in Bruins defense without Johnny Boychuk||10.25.10 at 5:22 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ blue line was all the rage on Monday. Johnny Boychuk talked about the fractured forearm that will require a cast and keep him out four weeks, while Adam McQuaid spoke of his readiness to seize the opportunity that’s been put in front of him. With Boychuk out, McQuaid in and the Bruins’ defensive pairings shaken up, one veteran is confident that the team will get along just fine.
“He played on the top pair with [Zdeno Chara], so it’s going to be tough to replace a guy like Johnny, but I think McQuaid is going to do a good job,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “… I think we’re deep enough to replace a loss like Johnny, but I think we’ve just got to play our system and support each other well, and we’ll be fine.”
McQuaid said on Monday that he was going to do his best to fill the “big shoes” of Boychuk, but replacing a top-two defenseman is more than a one-man job. Each defenseman will have to make slightly bigger contributions, whether they be in the form of minutes or otherwise. Boychuk had averaged 20:23 of ice time through the Bruins’ first six games.
Seidenberg was correct in noting that while he expects his fellow blueliners to pick up some extra slack with Boychuk out, how much more each man can give depends on the player.
“Johnny was logging a lot of minutes, so everybody has to pick up a little bit,” Seidenberg said. “I don’t know if Z can pick up any more minutes than he played last game [31:48], but I think the other guys can definitely chip in a little bit more and help.”
Seidenberg remains on a pairing with Mark Stuart, though on Monday Andrew Ference made the jump to the top pairing with Chara, leaving McQuaid with Matt Hunwick on the third pairing. The team may continue to tinker with who plays with whom, and Seidenberg is open to anything.
“Playing with Z is always good. It makes stuff a lot easier, like I’ve said a lot of times before,” Seidenberg said. “But again, I think everybody’s going to play with everybody, and you just have to communicate out there.”
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Claude Julien speaking to the media following the Bruins’ practice on Monday at Ristuccia Arena. He talked about what losing Johnny Boychuk for four weeks means, and how the team has to respond to injuries.
“This is an opportunity to show that no matter what happens, we’re still a team and still a good team that’s going to stick together,” Julien said.
|Adam McQuaid eager to fill ‘big shoes’ of Johnny Boychuk||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.”
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