Bruins pick Benning trying to live up to family legacy


Bruins pick Benning trying to live up to family legacy

PITTSBURGH The Bruins kept it in the family with their sixth-round pick, taking assistant general manager Jim Bennings nephew, Matt, a big defenseman with the 175th overall selection.

Benning is an interesting story in that hes also the son of longtime NHL veteran Bryan Benning, but the 18-year-old wasnt always sure if he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hockey-playing relatives.

But Bruins scouting director Wayne Smith assured that Benning has become fully committed in the last couple of years, and provides the kind of size, strength and nastiness that Boston always needs along their rear-guard. The younger Benning said he was phoned by his overjoyed uncle on Saturday when hed been chosen by the Bruins, and was in the middle of studying for his math final exams.

No doubt the books were put down for a little while, and Benning envisioned what it might be like playing in a Bruins uniform.

With my uncle obviously playing in the NHL and my dad playing in the NHL too theres a bit of pressure, admitted Benning. But they support me in whatever I do and hopefully one day I can pursue my dream of playing in the NHL just like they did.

Smith said that Benning has a little bit of a nasty streak at 6-feet tall and 218 pounds, but he's still a bit raw around the edges as he enters into a season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.

He plans to play college hockey following a year at the major junior level in the US, and has no illusions about his game. Its high on the defensive end and the physicality scale, and modestly improving on the offensive side of things.

Hes toured the TD Garden and the Bruins practice facilities as a guest of Uncle Jim, but he knows next week hell be there on business as part of the teams development camp.

I think Im more of a stay-at-home 'D'-man, kind of like a Matt Green. Just kind of like rough and tough, stay at home, and just hard to play against kind of 'D', said Benning. So over the summer Im going to try to work on my foot speed some more and my skating and hopefully I can improve.

Given the NHL bloodlines its a fair bet that Benning is going to improve now that hes committed to a hockey career, and there couldnt be a more perfect fit for his development than his uncle Jims Bruins.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.