McQuaid sorry about hit on Foligno

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McQuaid sorry about hit on Foligno

KANATA, Ontario Judging by his words, and his sheepish expression, Adam McQuaid felt badly about his actions in Wednesday nights 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.

In the final minutes of the second period, with the Bruins holding tightly to a 2-1 lead on the road, McQuaid saw Nick Foligno squeezing past him along the sideboards with the puck, speeding into the offensive zone and perhaps readying for the game-tying chance against Tim Thomas.

So McQuaid kicked his leg out to impedeFoligno'smomentum out of the neutral zoneand ended up making knee-on-knee contract that immediately sent the Senators forward to the ice in obvious pain.

It broke up the offensive rush Foligno was about to make, but it also earned McQuaid a five-minute major and a game misconduct -- and a whole helping of guilty feelings for a Bruins defenseman that's as honest as they come.If I could take it back, I definitely would, said McQuaid, who blocked a pair of shots and registered three hits in. It was one of those things where you go, Oh, crap, right after it happened.

"The penalty was deserved. Thats not me at all. I think thats actually my first major penalty in my career outside of the fighting calls, and I dont plan on getting any more.

McQuaid has a long history with Foligno -- the two skated together in juniors -- and the personal connection made his actions hit that much closer to home for both players during the postgame breakdown."He was just trying to slow down my progress. It was a hockey play and I don't think there was any attempt to injure," said Foligno. "I've known Quaider a long time and I know he's not that type of player."One might expect McQuaid to hear from the league about a potential fine or suspension immediately after the incident transpired, but the likelihood is he won't be penalized beyond the major penalty. There is no past history with McQuaid when it comes to the world ofsupplemental discipline, and Foligno wasn't seriously injured; he only missed one shift.

If the NHL's chief disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, does contact McQuaid, itll be the third Bruin he's contacted in the last month. Milan Lucic was talked to, but not fined or suspended, for his hit on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, and Brad Marchand was fined for his slew-foot last week. McQuaid's actions willprobably will be more in line with the Lucic approach rather than the Marchand route when Shanahan reviews the video.

As one would expect, Claude Julien came to McQuaid's defense after the game.

Its hits that happen within fractions of a second," said the Bruins coach. "Certainly McQuaid isnt a dirty player and it certainly wasnt intentional. How theyre going to look at it? I dont know.

It was nice to see Foligno come back and not be injured. One guy certainly didnt do it on purpose and the other guy was okay . . .

"I wont say it harmless. But things happen with competitive players that end up getting guys injured.McQuaid already paid his price with the major penalty in a tight hockey game that could have gone either way, and the Bruins can ill afford to lose him while still waiting for Zdeno Chara to return from a lower body injury.

Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

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Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

The improvement plan has become as clear as it’s going to be for the Bruins this offseason.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney locking up Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million deal this week and vowing to sign Torey Krug as well, the Bruins defensemen corps is going to look awfully similar to last season’s misbegotten group.

Almost identical, it would seem.

Sure, Sweeney said on Wednesday that the Bruins are actively seeking out “a transitional defenseman” that’s presumably a little better than 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles, and can be paired with Zdeno Chara as a top duo for next season. It’s the No. 1 priority on the Bruins offseason shopping list just as it was last season once they shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for draft picks and were instead saddled with a fearsome, crippling black hole at the top of their organizational D-man charts.

The trade market has been set to a degree by the Erik Gudbranson trade from the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night with Jim Benning giving up a Grade-A center prospect in Jared McCann, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the 24-year-old top-four defenseman. Per a hockey source with knowledge of the situation, the Bruins were not involved in any talks for the towering Gudbranso. It sounded like the Panthers and Canucks were pretty locked in with each other on making a deal.

That’s an unfortunate product of Boston not being able to match up with the available center prospect that might have interested Florida and having dealt some of those 2016 draft picks on fruitless deadline rental deals for Lee Stempniak and Liles.

So, how difficult will it be to land Kevin Shattenkirk, or Jacob Trouba, or Sami Vatanen, or Tyson Barrie, or any other mobile blueliner able to play big minutes, move pucks and survive against the other team’s best offensive players while being sheltered defensively by Zdeno Chara?

“Time will tell on that one, you know? Either through free agency or through acquisition, it’s a matter of finding a trading partner or finding a match in the marketplace. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Sweeney. “We certainly have identified, we had our pro meetings … I’m not going to give my whole plan out to you today. But we have areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center, or again on the backend. We’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in the position with two first-round picks to be either selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

The Bruins had better hope it’s a miracle-working puck-mover that they bring to Boston because otherwise they are on course for bringing back the same old sorry usual suspects from last season. Miller and Adam McQuaid will be taking up a combined $5.25 million on the salary cap, Krug will have a salary in the range of $5 million per season after watching the B’s largesse in the Miller deal and both Chara and Seidenberg will trudge on as proud, aging warriors well on the back end of their careers after outstanding service in Boston.

That means many defenders, including Joe Morrow and Colin Miller, return. Defense was the clear weakness on the team, which finished 19th in the NHL after being in the bottom third of the league pretty much all season. It was inarguably the worst defensive group of Claude Julien’s 10-year tenure with the Bruins and had major difficulties in all areas ranging from tape-to-tape passes, to coverage breakdowns and good, old-fashioned lost battles in all of the danger areas.

So, with the plan to add one high-caliber “transitional defenseman” already laid out, it’s clear the B’s belief is that will be enough to substantially improve things on the ice.

At least that’s the theory before the bullets start flying next season and Sweeney gave a few perfunctory lines about the team improving in every area.  

“This is a results-oriented business, so we have to get better in areas. We have to improve our roster. I’ve said all along that we need to continue to improve our roster. We’ll be in the marketplace in every different way, shape, or form to try and acquire players that will continue to help us do so,” said Sweeney. “Talking with Claude and going over the time he spent with Butch [Cassidy], through my dealings with Butch, and realizing the development of a lot of the players that have been a part of our roster and success is the transition game and stuff that Butch has brought to the table.

“[It’s] how he saw the game, how he expects players to play and move pucks and work on it every day, is an area that I think he’s going to be an addition to our [coaching] staff and how he sees the game. I think I identified that if Butch was playing in this day and age now, he’d be a very welcome addition to our roster.”

So that’s the plan, folks. The big move of the summer is getting a defenseman they badly need, filling in a few roster spots, signing a good deal of their own players and then hoping for a better result next time around.

Isn’t there some kind of line about insanity and expecting different results with the same cast of characters year in and year out? 

 

Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

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Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still laughing at the #TeamFrich movement.

*Dave Lozo says that the decision by Mike Sullivan to play Marc-Andre Fleury could still come back to haunt the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Miracle on Ice goaltender Jim Craig marvels at the evolution of USA Hockey from the Miracle days to the current system that just keeps on producing top talent.

*Mike from Woburn hates the Kevan Miller contract almost as much as I do.

*Speaking of the Kevin Miller deal, here’s a scenario where the big overpay for Miller might help them land another talented young player.

*In other hockey news, the Vancouver Canucks landed legitimate top-4 defenseman Erik Gudbranson while the ink was drying on the Kevan Miller contract.

*Chris Phillips is expected to announce his retirement from the Ottawa Senators after a long career in Ottawa as a defensive warrior.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says some tough decisions await the St. Louis Blues after dropping the conference finals to the San Jose Sharks.

*The San Jose media has decreed that it was worth spending a first-round pick for Martin Jones after he helped carry them to the Cup Final. For the Bruins it means that their first round pick will be No. 29 or No. 30 in the first round, so whoop-de-do for that.

*For something completely different: 21 scientists say that Tom Brady is right and the NFL is wrong about Deflategate.