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Adam McQuaid knows Matt Bartkowski’s situation well 10.08.13 at 9:11 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid went from a healthy scratch to a regular for the B's (AP)

Adam McQuaid went from a healthy scratch to a regular for the B’s. (AP)

Matt Bartkowski isn’t the first to play the waiting game.

After proving himself capable of being a top-four NHL defenseman last postseason, Bartkowski has been the victim of a numbers game. With all of Boston’s blueliners healthy, it’s essentially down to Bartkowski and Torey Krug for the team’s third-pairing left defenseman. Krug is too valuable to the power play to sit, so for the first two games, Bartkowski’s worn a suit rather than a uniform.

Adam McQuaid knows exactly what that’s like.

McQuaid had played 19 games for in the 2009-10 season (Bartkowski played 11 last year) before playing nine games in the postseason (Bartkowski got in five games this past spring), but when the B’s began the 2010-11 season as the team’s seventh defenseman. To keep sane amidst the his time out of game action, the then-23-turned-24-year-old picked the brain of Johnny Boychuk, who had been through it before. As such, he hopes he can be of help to Bartkowski.

“I know what it’s like to be in that position,” McQuaid said. “When I went through it, I talked to Johnny Boychuk about it, and there’s always that kind of progression where the next guy can talk to you. If I’m lucky enough to be in a position where guys are comfortable [enough] to talk to me, and want to talk to me about different stuff, I’m happy to do so.”

As it turned out, it took an injury to Boychuk for McQuaid to get his chance. A Boychuk arm injury in late October allowed McQuaid to get into 10 games. Later in the season, McQuaid made enough of a case for himself while Mark Stuart was out with a hand injury that the B’s opted to keep McQuaid in the lineup and trade Stuart in the Rich Peverley deal.

The lesson? Don’t get down just because you’re not playing. Injuries happen and everyone gets their shot. The Bruins already have a case of it this year with Jordan Caron, who has in all likelihood turned Carl Soderberg into the team’s extra forward once Soderberg returns from his ankle injury.

“You never know what can happen,” McQuaid said. “The tough thing about it is that a lot of times it’s an injury and you don’t want to see a teammate and a friend get injured in order for yourself to get an opportunity. You just have to stay prepared. Practicing hard, and when you’re at the games, paying attention. Just being ready when you have the opportunity because you definitely want to make the most of it.”

McQuaid sat for the first six games in the 2010-11 season before Boychuk’s injury opened the door for him. Claude Julien has said that the wait won’t be too long for Bartkowski. Whether Krug, Dougie Hamilton or someone else sits, the B’s are going to get him into a game.

“I’ll be very honest — he’s not going to sit up there for a month,” Julien said Tuesday. “That’s not going to happen. We’ve got some good players that need to play. Especially early in the year, you’ve got to give those guys opportunities to play. When that’s going to happen, I’m not sure yet, but certainly don’t expect to see him in the stands for a whole month.”

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Adam McQuaid has moved beyond joy of Game 4 against Pittsburgh 06.10.13 at 2:46 pm ET
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After his game-winning goal in Game 4 against Pittsburgh, Adam McQuaid says he and Bruins are focused on Chicago. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Friday was quite the night for Adam McQuaid.

He fulfilled Milan Lucic‘s prophecy of scoring a goal, a tally that sent the Bruins onto their second Stanley Cup finals appearance in three seasons. He savored the moment, talked to friends who texted him congratulations and got his rest.

Now, all of that is in the distant past.

“That night was pretty fun but turn the page and [get] focused for the next round here,” McQuaid said Monday as the Bruins began to prep for the Blackhawks on the ice. “I had a few more messages than normal. It was nice. Just turn the page now and get re-focused.”

The Bruins skated on Sunday but Monday had more a regular feel as the Bruins staff had a day to break down film and get their team ready.

“Yeah, we need to make sure that we’re ready to go,” McQuaid said. “We’re facing a real tough challenge. We have to make sure we’re focused and at our best here.”

McQuaid and the Bruins defensive corps will have their hands full with the likes of Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Jonthan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus. McQuaid was watching all of them Saturday night when the Hawks won Game 5 in double-overtime on a Kane hat trick.

“They’re a well-balanced team,” McQuaid said. “They come hard with a lot of talent. And again, they’re another team that can generate offense and is strong on the puck. It’s going to be a good challenge.”

Both the Bruins and Blackhawks came perilously close to not making this date in the finals. The Bruins had their epic comeback from 4-1 down in the last 11 minutes of Game 7 against Toronto in the opening round. The Hawks were down 3-1 to the Red Wings before winning three straight in the second round.

“To get that point and to be able to come through it, maybe we were able to relax a little bit and go out and play the way we’re capable of playing, where at times before, maybe we weren’t,” McQuaid said of being down in Game 7. “Maybe we were a little too worried about the result instead of going out and playing our game and giving ourselves the best chance.

“I think you see for our teams to get this point usually they go through something like that. Chicago came back from that 3-1 [deficit] against Detroit. I guess we’ve learned nothing is over until it’s over. So, something to learn from, I guess.”

This is not the first trip to the finals for McQuaid, who of course was part of the 2011 Bruins team. He said that might help at first but then, it will come down to execution on the ice.

“Having been there before, everything won’t be totally new,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s a new year. We have to be sure we’re approaching it the right way, that we’re not thinking that just because we’ve been there before that we’re going to have the same result if we just go out and play. We have to make sure we’re approaching this as a new situation, a new year and being ready to go.”

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke 06.03.13 at 10:44 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about his team’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Penguins.

With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.

“It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,” Thornton said. “You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.

“This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.”

Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.

“Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.

“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.”

One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.

“His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,” Thornton said. “You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.”

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Matt Cooke says he should not have been tossed for hit on Adam McQuaid 06.02.13 at 1:53 pm ET
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Matt Cooke

PITTSBURGH — After news came down that he would not be facing any additional discipline, Penguins forward Matt Cooke told reporters Sunday at Consol Energy Center that he did not believe he should have been given a game misconduct for his check from behind on Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.

Cooke, who has not been suspended in over two years, received a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting McQuaid from behind in the second period, sending him into the boards head-first.

“I think it’s a penalty,” Cooke told reporters. “But I don’t think it’s an ejection or suspension.”

McQuaid remained down on the ice and, after woozily skating off, missed the next 8:58, with Cooke incorrectly saying that the Bruins defenseman didn’t leave the game.

“Initially it looked like he was hurt but he played a shift after,” Cooke said.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Rangers’ shot-blocking style causing problems for Henrik Lundqvist 05.20.13 at 9:45 am ET
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Bruins defensemen Torey Krug (left) and Adam McQuaid battle Rangers forward Brian Boyle during Sunday's game at TD Garden. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Bruins’ strong start to their series against the Rangers. Boston holds a 2-0 series lead following Sunday’s 5-2 victory.

The Bruins have been rejuvenated by the play of young defensemen Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton.

“I think right now they’re showing some signs of [being a better team with the rookies], just because of the element that these three young kids have brought, which is mobility, speed, I think right now playing with a lack of fear, a lot of confidence,” Pederson said. “But you can really see it, to me, from their offensive side. What I mean by that, a lot of times throughout the year when the offense has been struggling, everybody always points at the forwards. And vice versa, when the defensive game is struggling, everybody always point to the defense. I’ve always been a firm believer that your defense creates your offense, and your forwards create your defense.

“So, these guys are doing a really good job, to me, by jumping into plays, recognizing when there are outnumbered opportunities to make it a three-on-two, a four-on-three. Hamilton did a good job of that yesterday as well as Bartkowski and Krug. For now they’re doing I think a really good job of creating some offense and … they are bringing a little bit of speed and mobility that maybe the Bruins have not had back there in a while.”

With the strong play by the rookies, it’s led to a discussion about what coach Claude Julien will do if and when injured veterans Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden are ready to return. Pederson said he does not anticipate a problem in the locker room.

“The guys recognize what this is all about, is trying to win hockey games,” he said. “It’s one of those problems that you love to have. … You can never have enough good, young defensemen, because they’re first of all hard to come by. And it’s a situation where these guys right now are playing this way. We’ll see how things go when you go into a more hostile environment in New York.”

Added Pederson: “I think if I had to look at how I would rank them, the rookies being taken out, starting with the first guy, I would probably take a look at Hamilton, it would probably go Krug, and then last would be Bartkowski to be removed from the lineup when and if they came back.

“If Redden was the first guy back, I’m not so sure if I would make a move quite yet. These guys have, I think, kind of earned an opportunity to continue. If it was Dennis Seidenberg who was healthy, there’s no doubt that he’s coming back immediately. I just don’t get a sense with Ference that he’s even that close, but again we don’t know anything about the injuries, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

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Adam McQuaid a finalist for Masterton Trophy 05.14.13 at 1:59 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was named a finalist for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” The other finalists are Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Wild goalie Josh Harding.

McQuaid had to overcome a scary situation during the lockout, as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome caused blood clots to form that made his right arm swell significantly in September. He needed surgery for it, but because it was during the lockout he could not do it with the guidance of the Bruins. He ended up gaining back the weight that he lost and played in 32 regular-season games for the Bruins.

McQuaid has also played in all seven playoff games for the B’s, which has been big considering the injuries they’ve dealt with on the back end.

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Adam McQuaid on M&M: ‘It’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against’ 05.09.13 at 2:18 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about Wednesday’s night’s overtime victory over the Maple Leafs that gave the B’s a 3-1 series lead.

The intensity in this series hit a new high in Game 4, a back-and-forth game that featured plenty of hard hitting. Although Toronto doesn’t have the obvious villains like some of the Bruins’ more fierce rivals, McQuaid said it’s not difficult to develop some animosity toward the skaters in blue and white.

“We’re playing for the Stanley Cup, and the guy across from you is the one that’s trying to prevent you from getting that, so it’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against. They’re trying to take something away from you,” McQuaid said. “You kind of know who you’re playing against. At the same time, we’re kind of trying to focus on ourselves and make sure that we’re playing hard.”

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has been surprisingly successful in this series after struggling in regular-season action against his former team.

“He’s got a lot of speed. He’s a great offensive talent,” McQuaid said. “He’s got a quick shot, so he doesn’t need much time to get a good opportunity. So, you have to do your best to try and limit his opportunities and be aware when he’s on the ice.”

Tuukka Rask had a big game Wednesday, the same day the league announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. Despite posting stats that put him at the top of the list, Rask is not one of the three finalists.

“We know how valuable he is to our team and what he brings to our team,” McQuaid said. “We let him know in our eyes that he deserved to be there. Some guys are joking around that he’s just going to have to be better next year. … We know how important he is to our team and how good he is. There was a little bit of surprise that he wasn’t nominated. But like I said, his value within our team, we know how important he is.”

McQuaid has been paired in this series with Wade Redden, the veteran who spent two years in the minors before returning to the NHL this season and being acquired by the Bruins from the Blues at the trade deadline in April.

“He’s a guy that has a ton of experience,” McQuaid said. “Him going through what he went through the last couple of years I think speaks volumes to the type of person he is. To persevere through that. I was just happy to see him have the success that he’s had. I feel pretty fortunate to have a D partner like that.

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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