Spooner ready to play childhood-favorite Habs if called upon

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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.

Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

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Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

The Bruins had already let it be known that Tuukka Rask, David Pastrnak and David Backes wouldn’t be playing Monday night in their preseason opener vs. the Blue Jackets. 

Instead, all three will participate in their first day of training camp practice on Monday morning, and the Bruins will ice a young, prospect-laden group against Columbus at TD Garden.

“[Camp] has been really good,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “There are a lot of new faces around here, so we’re just getting them to understand how we want to play. I think they did a good job with it and they should be ready to go [against Columbus].”

Here is the lineup of players expected to suit up for Boston’s preseason opener on Monday night: Brandon Carlo, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Seth Griffith, Colton Hargrove, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Anton Khudobin, Sean Kuraly, John-Michael Liles, Zane McIntyre, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, Tyler Randell and Jakub Zboril. 

Carlo, Cehlarik, Heinen and DeBrusk are all serious candidates to threaten for an NHL roster spot, and these preseason games will be a big test to see how roster ready they might actually be at their precocious young age.

The Bruins haven’t said when the first cuts of training camp are expected, but one round of early cuts are expected next week perhaps after Wednesday night’s preseason home game against the Detroit Red Wings.

“We’ll see how tomorrow night goes and then make a decision [on a lineup] for Wednesday, but I think we’ll try to give all the guys a pretty good look and go from there,” said Pandolfo. 
 

Sunday, Sept. 25: Has Connolly found home with Caps?

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Sunday, Sept. 25: Has Connolly found home with Caps?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering what a crap shot this Presidential debate is going to be on Monday night.

*Brett Connolly has hooked on with the Washington Capitals, and the Caps hope they’ve found a “gem” in the former Bruins winger.

*John Tortorella is putting his Blue Jackets through an absolute boot camp thus far in Columbus. Bold strategy…I wonder how this will play out.

*The Pittsburgh Penguins appreciate the gifts of defenseman Kris Letang, even if Team Canada didn’t for the World Cup.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ken Wiebe has the details on Jacob Trouba asking to get moved from the Winnipeg Jets.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Saturday night’s World Cup of Hockey showdown between Russia and Canada as another chapter in the Alex Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby rivalry.

*It’s sad to see respected veteran player Clarke MacArthur have to be helped off the ice after a vicious hit in a training camp scrimmage. What a dumb move by a guy that’s never going to crack the Senators roster.

*For something completely different: a good father/son piece on learning to appreciate things that your kids are interested in, and how rewarding it can be in the end.