Mottau looking for a return to dream situation with Bruins

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Mottau looking for a return to dream situation with Bruins

It clearly wasnt the happy ending Massachusetts native Mike Mottau was looking for during his run with the Boston Bruins, but he still appreciated a taste of the hometown team experience.

For a kid with Black and Gold dreams growing up on the South Shore, donning the Bruins sweater for the last few playoff games this season was one of his career highlights.

Mottau still appreciated the experience after starring for Boston College and embarking on a journeymen NHL career through stops in New York, New Jersey, Calgary and Long Island among other places.

So a chance to play in front of family and friends was something to be cherished despite the bittersweet ending.

For me it was a great experience. It was a childhood dream fulfilled. The disappointed feeling is going to stay with me for awhile. You always want to have a positive impact. You want to be out there for the winning goal rather than the final goal against, said Mottau. But Ill always take these couple of months that Ive been here whether I come back or not and Ill always have that. It was pretty special. I always took a couple of extra seconds before I put the game jersey on. Ill always remember that.

The guys in the room were fantastic and just to be out there on the ice I cant speak enough about it.

Mottau always played the good solider and supportive teammate after arriving in February as a healthy scratch when every ounce of him wanted to be out on the ice. More importantly he was solid when called upon to perform with no signs of rust.

Sure, Mottau was on the ice for the game-winning Joel Ward overtime goal in Game 7. But that was much more about a feeble dump attempt by Benoit Pouliot at the offensive end than it was about the Bs defensemen pairing caught scrambling in an unwieldy line change.

At nearly every turn Mottau was solid, dependable and able to execute Claude Juliens system as a sixthseventh defensemen whenever called upon, and showed the kind of quick decision-making and hockey IQ to excel in the Bs system. Those kinds of veteran players are worth their weight in gold to a coach like Julien looking for stability, accountability and reliability in his reserve players.

Mottau knows he can still play in the NHL and will find work somewhere next season regardless of the NHL location. But Boston has the first spot in the priority rankings.

Id welcome it a lot more after being able to get into the lineup and know that I could have some success here. Its a good group of guys that work with each other. I know I could have success here because it plays to some of my strengths: hockey intellect and decision-making, said Mottau. I know I could be inserted into the lineup and play, and add value. I would totally welcome that.

Its really ultimately up to them to see where I fit within the organization. Well have a conversation and see where it takes us.

The 34-year-old Quincy native hopes its with the Bruins as a depth defensemen that can step up when needed, but also remain sharp if the Bs are going with six strong defensemen ahead of him. Inevitably defensemen go down with injuries during the year, and the Bruins need more than 20-somethings among their organizational depth when it does happen.

Its a spot the Bruins have searched long and hard for over the last couple of seasons. Shane Hnidy wasnt capable of playing big minutes while serving in that role two years ago, and young defensemen like Steve Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski, Andrew Bodnarchuk or Torey Krug arent going to be dependable in a reserve role.

Thats the exact kind of place Mottau could fit in with the Bruins at a very affordable price for the next season or two.

The former Eagles blueliner knows it would be difficult to move elsewhere after playing for the Bruins, and hes hoping it doesnt come to that.

As far as being a free agent, its par for the course. Hopefully you opened some eyes around the league if the Bruins arent interested, said Mottau. As a player you always want to play, but I know I could be ready when called upon to play well. Playing for the Bruins in a reserve capacity would definitely be a welcome option for me.

Just two seasons ago Mottau was playing 22 minutes a night for the New Jersey Devils and logged 79 games played for Lou Lamoriellos crew, so theres plenty of flexibility and upside if the prodigal son returns for a full season run.

A Mottau return is up to the Bruins brain-trust, but its an option that makes a whole lot of sense for a local kid beaming with pride at wearing the Black and Gold.

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.