|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.”
|Boychuk speaks after forearm injury||at 11:40 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was sporting a splint on his left forearm as he adressed the media during Bruins’ practice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday. The defenseman is expecting to get a cast shortly after learning on Sunday that he will be out for approximately four weeks with a fractured bone in his left forearm.
“It sucks, but that’s the way it has to be,” Boychuk said of the prognosis. He was slashed in the first period of Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers by Brandon Dubinsky. He left the ice following the play but returned to finish the period before sitting the rest of the game.
“I just tried to suck it up,” Boychuk said. “I thought it was just a bruise or something like that on the wrist. I just put some tape on it and tried to put some tape on it and tried to finish the period.”
He noted that it was in his return to the ice that he knew something was wrong.
“There was one time when we were killing a penalty and I was in front,” Boychuck said. “I put my stick down and it was really sore and I was like, ‘Maybe I should get off,’ but I just killed the penalty and went to the bench.”
Boychuk actually ran into the man expected to step in for him in Adam McQuaid on Sunday at the movies. With Boychuk at the cinema to take in “Paranormal Activity 2,” a movie that Boychuk noted was terrifying, the two defensemen were able to chat about what the next four weeks will hold.
“I got to talk to [McQuaid] for a bit, and I know he’s going to do well. He always does,” Boychuk said. “I know he’s going to pick his game up, too.”
The 26-year-old said his plan is to keep in shape and keep a positive attitude in order to continue to have an impact on this Bruins team. Boychuk said he didn’t check the replay and therefore couldn’t tell whether or not he felt the slash was intentional.
|Bruins preparing for double dose of Alexander Ovechkin||10.18.10 at 3:38 pm ET|
With the Bruins playing two games against the Washington Capitals this week, they will get their first regular season look of the year at all-galaxy scorer Alexander Ovechkin. The former top overall pick has scored at least 45 goals in each of his five seasons in the NHL, including 52 as a rookie in 2005-06 and a career-high 65 in 2007-08.
How does one defend against such a talent?
“Put Z out against him,” defenseman Matt Hunwick said on Monday. Realistically, everyone — including Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Bruins defensemen, needs to keep their eyes peeled when the Moscow native is on the ice. Here’s what players throughout the locker room had to say about Ovechkin on Monday.
- “He’s like a truck. He tried to hit me a couple of times and I kind of felt it. He can score and he can also make plays. You’ve just got to be aware when he’s on the ice.”
- “We all have to be on high alert. They’ve got a lot of offense, and we’ve just got to keep it simple and move the pucks up to the forwards.”
- “He’s a lot of work. He’s energy-intensive for a goalie to play against.”
- “They’re talented up and down their lineup, but you do have to be aware of when Ovechkin is on the ice. He’s a singular threat that’s different than most of the other threats.”
- “Even if he doesn’t hardly ever get a shot, he’s still going to make it a tough night for a goalie, because you’re going to be doing movement and you’re going to have to be focusing and concentrating. You have to be in perfect position to stop his shots, because you very rarely are going to be able to make a reflex save on him. If you’re going to make a save on him, it’s going to be because you had the correct positioning.”
- “They are [a fun team to watch]. I prefer to watch them on TV, but it’s a real fun challenge.”
- “He’s someone you’ve got to be aware of. Sometimes he lurks outside of the zone when his team’s on defense, and other times he kind of gets lost. That’s always dangerous when a guy can shoot the puck like that. He only needs half a second to get it off. You always have to be aware of where he is on the ice, and for our team on the road, we have to make good line changes and try to get the matchups that we want.”
|Bruins hold final practice before Devils game||10.15.10 at 11:32 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice on Friday for their final skate at Ristuccia Arena before travelling to New Jersey for a Saturday night matchup with the Devils.
All players were accounted for on Friday, and the lines remain unchanged from Thursday. The team did some shootout work about 15 minutes into the skate as teammates looked on in amusement. Johnny Boychuk did appear to get hit in either the back of the leg or the side of the skate with a Milan Lucic shot, but he seemed to skate it off and did not leave the ice. Stay tuned for more from the locker room following practice.
|Boychuk back with Bruins||06.24.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
The Bruins and would-have-been unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Boychuk have agreed to a new deal to keep the defenseman in Boston. Multiple outlets have reported it’s a two-year deal worth around $3.75 million. The deal was first reported by the New England Hockey Journal.
Boychuk had a breakout year for the Bruins last year, chipping in 15 points. He highlighted the campaign with strong play in the postseason. He was on the ice for just over 26 minutes per game, trailing only Zdeno Chara, and blocking 39 shots in 13 games. He added six points.
“He made great strides this year,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said in Marina Del Ray, Calif., where the NHL draft will take place on Friday. “He was patient before he got into the lineup, he learned our system, he’s got a dimensional shot, he competes, he’s got size, but the biggest thing that I saw was that he improved from being the defenseman of the year in the [AHL] to being maybe our seventh [defenseman] to start [while] patiently waiting to learn along the way. We have a very good defensive system and Johnny has picked it up and showed improvement while he is in the lineup. He’s a good kid and he’s still young.”
Boychuk didn’t have much of a desire to test free agency, he told reporters in a conference call. Though the ride from forward, to defenseman, to the NHL, to being a healthy scratch, to playing, to being on the top pairing in the playoffs was a bit hectic, returning to Boston was his priority.
“I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeingwhat was out there, but when I looked around the league, I knew what kind of position I’d be in,” Boychuk said. “Just to come back to Boston to a great coaching staff that we have there and I know a lot of the guys.
“It made it a lot easier decision knowing that we would have all these people back in boston, so that was the main factor that tipped the scale for me.”
As for his role, he anticipates being a more regular contributor with the recent trade of Dennis Wideman to the Panthers in the Nathan Horton deal.
“When they moved Dennis, obviously it maybe makes an opening for me to maybe jump into the top four and play little more minutes than being a five or six guy,” Wideman said. “When they moved him, it kind of just maybe sent a message to me saying ‘You’d better be ready to be a top four guy.’ And even if I’m not, I want to play like I am.”
Boychuk’s new deal, which carries a $1.87 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons, leaves the Bruins with $5,723,690 in cap space. Notable contracts still to be tacked on include Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin (anticipated $3.75 million), and Mark Recchi, should he return.
Graig Woodburn contributed to this report from Marina Del Ray, Calif.
|Boychuk has little doubt he will be back||05.18.10 at 2:42 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk is the type of guy who will be laughing, joking and making sarcastic remarks when things are going well. When things are not, he tends speak quietly about what went wrong.
Boychuk was definitely quiet Tuesday morning during breakdown day at TD Garden. He becomes a Category 6 unrestricted free agent this offseason even though he does not technically have the service time in the NHL to make him unrestricted. Category 6 is a rare designation for guys who normally spend most of their time in the minors and then become free agents after their initial contracts expire. To be a restricted free agent, which would make general manager Peter Chiarelli’s job in keeping him in Boston much simpler, Boychuk would have needed to complete 80 career games this year and be under the age 26, marks he missed by 12 games (including playoffs) and sixth months. Boychuk spent most of five seasons in the minors before coming to Boston and his progress towards becoming a productive NHL defenseman was hindered while he was in the Colorado system as it tried to make him into a dual defenseman/power forward. For a simple guy like Boychuk who likes to hit things and take big shots, forward is probably too complicated a position.
“Just try to keep it simple. Get the puck away try to turn pucks over, simple. I got more comfortable and then tried to do a couple different things. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to keep it simple,” Boychuk said. “I just wanted to get pucks to the net and keep it simple. Simple is my way, I guess.”
In terms of staying in Boston, Boychuk has little doubt that he will be back.
“Everybody knows that I want to be in Boston. So, I want to be here, it is not a big secret,” Boychuk said. “100 percent. I love it here in Boston. I want to be back.”
Boychuk said that he has not even thought about what would happen if another NHL team threw a lot of money at him come July 1. He hopes that it will not even make it that far.
“Well, they can’t talk to me before July 1. I hope it doesn’t go that long,” Boychuk said. “No talks but I am pretty sure that I am going to be back, I hope I am going to be back at least. So, we will see.”
The defenseman is going to take a short vacation and ship his truck back to Montana for the purpose of driving to his home in Edmonton where he will spend the summer. He said that he does not look forward to the 10-hour drive across the nothingness that lays between Minneapolis and the Rocky Mountains. Anybody who has driven through those plains would probably agree. In terms of the pack up, Boychuk still is a little stunned about the Bruins sudden exit at the hands of the Flyers and knows that, if he is back next year, the memory will light a fire under the team.
“I don’t even think I should be here packing up my stuff. It was weird packing my stuff last night to go back up [to Edmonton]. So much stuff to do now. Drive home, fly home. However I am getting home. Haven’t really had any time to watch hockey. Just packing up everything and try to get everything settled before we leave,” Boychuk said. “It is going to light a fire, that is for sure. Hopefully we take this next year and use it to our advantage.”
|Taking the edge off the Bruins||05.11.10 at 2:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Somebody needs to take a little bit of an edge off these Bruins.
Captain Zdeno Chara made a half-admission after Game 5 on Monday night that the team may have been a touch nervous heading into what could have been a series-clinching victory.
I don’t know if we were maybe a little bit nervous. It’s hard to explain and really find words for it so for sure we didn’t play with the composure we were playing with,” Chara said Monday. “Maybe it wasn’t nervous, it was just… we couldn’t make those plays we normally do, strong plays with the puck, plays that we are normally doing and all of the sudden it was tough for us to make those plays.”
In the grand world of hockey cliches, this is what is called “clutching the stick.” The Bruins need someone, be it Johnny Boychuk and his eccentric antics, Shawn Thornton and his smile and his wife’s cooking or Claude Julien putting “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” on repeat on the team plane.
“Everybody can keep it loose and there is no reason to tense up and grip the sticks too tight,” Boychuk said. “We know what we have to do and just go out there and do it. There are times to keep loose and times to focus and we know that and that is what we have been trying to do.”
Thornton was of the opinion that, heading into Game 5, the team was relatively loose and had a good energy level. For the most part the Bruins tend to be a loose team. Chara and Patrice Bergeron are serious with the media and on the ice but there are moments when you catch them joking around with the guys. Thornton thinks that everybody on the team has a role to play in taking the edge off. He would not name specific characters for fear of being labeled the jokester by the coaching staff.
“We have got a few guys who like to keep things loose. It wasn’t too tense today [Tuesday,” Thornton said. “We did a pretty good job of forgetting about losses and forgetting about wins and moving on. We learned some things today and move on to the next one. There is nothing you can do. There was only seven on the ice but before the game too, there was a lot of energy. I don’t know. We definitely didn’t play the game we wanted to but honestly I thought going into it that we felt pretty good.”
Coach Claude Julien agreed that everybody on the teams plays their part in keeping the room loose and said that, when it really come down to it, winning is what puts a smiles on everyone’s face.
“We all have a part to do in that. I am telling you right now that we have too put yesterday aside and learn from it,” Julien said. “That is what the players have to do and so do the coaches. You know, we have to take the same approach as a group and that is what we have done here. We have to focus as a group and do what we need to do tomorrow and hopefully those are good things and that we can come back with smiles on our faces.”
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