Spooner ready to play childhood-favorite Habs if called upon


Spooner ready to play childhood-favorite Habs if called upon

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 couldnt 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 Im 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 Bostons 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.

Youve 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. Theres 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 theres no doubt hes on the right track. Id be very surprised not to see this guy as a full-time NHL guy down the road.

While its 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 hes 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 Im 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. Ive 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 theres no better place to be tested than the belly of the beast in Montreal.

Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient


Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It may be strictly due to injuries or because Ryan Spooner is being moved back to third line center full-time, but Danton Heinen is going to get another top-six look on the wing. The 21-year-old Bruins prospect will be skating on the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild after serving as a healthy scratch last weekend against the Montreal Canadiens.

Heinen has only two shots on goal in the four games leading up to the scratch, and has been quiet offensively after leading the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason. Clearly there’s an adjustment to be made there, and it looked like the playmaking rookie winger was starting to develop a little more confidence trying to make plays while skating with Krejci and David Backes in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils.

Heinen actually looked reminiscent of Krejci on a couple of plays, pulling back the puck after entering the zone and catching a trailing B’s teammate with a perfectly executed lead pass on the offensive rush. That effort plus a trip to the ninth floor press box last weekend seemed to reinforce just how much time he has to make plays, and that should be a benefit for both Heinen and his linemates.

Sometimes getting that first NHL point is the hardest part when a player breaks into the league, and it’s been that way for the young winger through his first four games.

“[Krejci] is such a good player, and I just try to complement him any way I can,” said Heinen. “You never want to be up in the press box, but it gives you a different perspective on the game. It’s a different angle. From up there it looks like you’ve got way more time. I definitely think I can be more patient with the puck, and make some smarter plays.”

Heinen started to do that in his best NHL game to date prior to being scratched against New Jersey, and it resulted in greater offensive possession and a couple of potential scoring plays getting created for the B’s second line. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to actual goals, and Heinen knows that’s what needs to happen through him if a player like him, with an offense-minded reputation from his University of Denver days, is going to stick top-6 in Boston.

“You can’t rely on the [top] guys every night,” said Heinen, who watched the Habs beat the Bruins on Saturday night while essentially shutting down Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. “When we’ve been out there we’ve kind of been getting some chances, but we’ve got to bear down.

“[Krejci] likes to play with the puck a lot, so you just get him the puck, go in hard on the forecheck and try to get open because he’s a good distributor.”

It sounds like a simple plan that might be a very good thing for young Heinen, who needs to start breaking through offensively if he wants to stick around in Boston for the long haul. 

Khudobin out three weeks as Bruins turn to Malcolm Subban


Khudobin out three weeks as Bruins turn to Malcolm Subban

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It could get a little dicey for the Bruins over the next couple of days.

Both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin were missing from Tuesday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, and instead rookie Malcolm Subban will get the start for the Black and Gold against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.

Rask hasn’t been on the ice since last Thursday’s win over the New Jersey Devils when he re-aggravated a lower body injury and Khudobin will be out three weeks with an upper-body injury suffered at Monday’s practice. It appeared the B’s backup suffered a right hand/wrist injury in the early moments of the practice, and Subban was left as the lone goaltender until Boston brought up Zane McIntyre on emergency recall Tuesday morning.

Julien said the Bruins have confidence in Subban’s ability to play a great game for them, but he’s struggled so far in Providence while getting yanked from two of his four AHL starts this season.

“I just want [Subban] to go in tonight and play a really solid game because we know that he can. He’s a good goaltender, so just because he had a bit of a rough outing [in the AHL] doesn’t mean he has to have one tonight. This is an opportunity for him to play well, and to demonstrate that he’s ready to play in the NHL,” said Julien. “We have bad games and we tell our players ‘Let’s not live in the past, let’s think about what we have to do to rectify it and play better in the next game.’ So I think our goaltender is in the same situation.

“Our game plan is about playing good defense with Tuukka or without Tuukka. That doesn’t change. We understand that some of the teams that we’ve played lately (Montreal and New Jersey) are very stingy, so we have to give up the least amount of goals we can because we’re not going to score a ton against those teams. When you put a system together you believe in it, and you go out and play your game. You don’t adjust your game for other teams, and adjusting for injuries isn’t quite what we’re looking for. We’re looking for a solid performance from our team, and that will trump any injury that we have.”

Oh by the way, the Bruins also have a road game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in a back-to-back situation that’s less than ideal with injuries piling up. In addition a Subban/McIntyre tandem in goal, the Bruins will also be without David Backes with what Claude Julien termed “a minor issue” that also has him day-to-day.

In the good news department, Adam McQuaid will make his season debut after missing the first five games of the season with an upper body injury. Rob O’Gara was sent to the Providence Bruins to make room for him coming off injured reserve. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for tonight’s game vs. the Wild with Joe Morrow as the healthy scratch on the back end:







Liles-C. Miller