McQuaid a game-time decision for Bruins


McQuaid a game-time decision for Bruins

TAMPA Adam McQuaid thought things were pretty bad as he left CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon. He was headed for the hospital while his team was still playing on the ice.

The towering defenseman was on the receiving end of a shoulder-to-shoulder hit with Pittsburgh Penguins power forward James Neal, and McQuaid immediately crumpled up and skated off the ice in severe pain while play continued.

The Bs defensemen couldnt make it back to the Bruins bench on his own, and the team was obviously thinking worst-case scenario after watching the wince-worthy sequence of events.

But McQuaid checked out okay at the Pittsburgh hospital and was back out on the ice Tuesday morning for a pregame skate at the Tampa Times Forum. He was preparing to play, and Julien indicated following the skate that Mike Mottau will be a healthy scratch.

Its going to come down to a choice between Greg Zanon and McQuaid for the final defensemen spot against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Julien might just err on the side of caution.

I know McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron are possibilities, but not certainties," Julien said. "Well dress 13 forwards and seven defensemen for the pregame warm-ups tonight. Well know more later, and well know even more after warm-ups. We had no idea how bad things were with the injuries on Sunday. Bergeron and McQuaid were in bad shape. They couldnt even finish up the game.

It was a hit that really hurt McQuaid to the point where he had to go to the hospital to get checked out. But it looks like a little bit of a break on our end that they were able to skate with us so quickly. We want to play with players that are as healthy as they can be. One thing you dont want is to put them in at 70 percent and then you lose them for another week or two. So you want to make sure the decision is the right one with all of these guys.

McQuaid doesnt appear to be quite 100 percent and may end up a healthy scratch given Bostons depth along the blue line. But McQuaids presence at the skate was a testament to his toughness and willingness to play through pain.

Im feeling better with each day and making steady progress. Ill come to the rink prepared to play, but weve got a lot of healthy D right now. So well see what happens, said McQuaid. It was something I hadnt experienced before, so I wasnt sure how bad it was. To be where I am today from Sunday means Im making pretty good progress.

Depth is never a negative thing. In a situation of injuries or when everybody is healthy it keeps a good competition for people to want to stay in the lineup.

The gritty defensemen admitted he was pretty concerned right after the car-crash collision that his injury was something serious.

There is always a little bit of concern right away. But I got all checked out and everything worked out. It put my mind at ease a little bit and you just worry about getting better, said McQuaid.

Consider McQuaid one of the walking wounded ready to suit up for the Bruins as the team has a considerable number of players in the Black and Gold infirmary.

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all.