Spooner ready to play childhood-favorite Habs if called upon

Spooner ready to play childhood-favorite Habs if called upon
February 5, 2013, 4:15 pm
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BOSTON -- Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner surprisingly grew up a Montreal Canadiens fan with his dad in town of Kanata, Ontario where the Ottawa Senators play their home games at Scotiabank Place.

So it could be a pretty big thrill for the 21-year-old to potentially suit up and play against the Canadiens on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre for his NHL debut after being brought up on emergency recall from the AHL. Whether or not he gets that chance will likely depend on the health status of Brad Marchand, but Spooner couldn’t have drawn up a better scenario for his first NHL game.
“Growing up I was a big Montreal fan. My dad was a big Montreal fan and obviously I was trying to be like him,” admitted Spooner, who did play one preseason game at the Bell Centre. “[After] getting drafted by Boston I’m obviously a Bruins fan now, but [playing at the Bell Centre] would be pretty cool.

“I got to play a preseason game. It was obviously loud and a little intimidating, but it would be cool if I get a chance to play there.”

Spooner has 30 points (9 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games for the Providence Bruins this season, and is pretty clearly Boston’s best offensive prospect among their forwards at the AHL level. He projects as a top-six forward, but he was wearing a fourth-line Merlot practice jersey this afternoon at the Bell Centre.

Thanks to the NHL lockout, Claude Julien was granted a comprehensive look at Spooner over the last five months in an impressive first full pro season within the Bruins organization.

It goes without saying that Julien liked what he saw in Spooner as the youngster was learning the pro game.

“You’ve heard me say this a lot that some of those younger guys coming up just need to experience the pro game. Some of the college guys are already playing against older guys, but junior players are playing against 16-19 year-olds before playing against men,” said Julien. “There’s an adjustment that needs to be made there, going into the corners and dealing with stronger individuals.

“So he needed to learn the pro game, but the one thing I saw is that his skill level is definitely at the NHL level. He can definitely skate well and everything else. Some of the goals he scored were highlight goals, so there’s no doubt he’s on the right track. I’d be very surprised not to see this guy as a full-time NHL guy down the road.”

While it’s still up in the air if Spooner will play depending on what happens with Marchand (upper body) over the next couple of days, the former 2010 second round pick says he’s ready if called upon after putting in a half-season with Providence.

“For me some of the stuff off the ice [is more important]. I lived with a billet family for five years, but now I’m living on my own so I need to cook for myself and make sure I go to bed at reasonable times. I needed to be more mature,” said Spooner. “I’ve played a lot of in Providence, and been lucky with my linemates. I played a lot with [Jamie] Tardif and [Chris] Bourque and they were able to show me the ropes as older guys.”

Spooner is another in a long line of promising Bruins players that could now be called upon to aid the big club, and there’s no better place to be tested than the belly of the beast in Montreal.