|It’s finally game day for Adam McQuaid||10.28.10 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.”
|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.
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