Spooner ready to start despite uncertain future

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Spooner ready to start despite uncertain future

Ryan Spooner doesnt know exactly what the future holds for him, but he will be either in Boston or Providence.

The Bs playmaking prospect spent the last couple of days with Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto, and is now spending his final days in the Ottawa area before prepping for his first training camp as a professional hockey player.

The 20-year-old Spooner said that hes all the way up to 186 pounds from the 174 pounds when he was drafted in the second round by the Bruins back in 2010, and he's still working on building size and strength headed into camp next month.

The most important thing is that the season starts on time. All you can do is just hope that it starts when it should, said Spooner. Its not going to do me any good to dwell on the negatives and maybe cut any corners because you dont think the season is going to start on time.

Ive been doing a lot of edge work and a lot of evasive stuff with spins and stick-handling to develop my game when Im in tight with the puck in heavy traffic. In the gym Ive focused on strengthening muscles that are weak like my hip flexors and my groin. Its better to be in the lineup than to be hurt, and that gives me the best chance to make the big club.

It could be with the rest of the Bruins rookies on September 15 or with the Providence Bruins on September 28, but either way Spooner will be wearing a Black and Gold sweater this season.

Hell also be thinking positive thoughts about a potential lockout that seems more inevitable with each passing day despite the fact both sides are still talking over the labor issues.

Ive been skating a lot back home: two or three times a day and doing stick-handling drills. Ive been working a lot with Derrick Brassard from Columbus and Calvin DeHaan from the Islanders, said Spooner. I actually just got back from Quebec City for a charity tournament where I played with a bunch of the NHL guys from Quebec. So its been a pretty fun summer, but Im back in the gym working hard now to get ready for camp.

Its my third camp and Im excited to get back at it. Ive been skating with a lot of pro guys, so hopefully that helps me out in main camp when it starts. If that doesnt work out then Ill start off in the American Hockey League and have plenty of fun.

Spooner finished last year with 29 goals and 66 points splitting time between two junior hockey teams (the Kingston Frontenacs and the Sarnia Sting) before wrapping things up with the Providence Bruins.

The skilled center has produced seven points in eight AHL games over the last two seasons, and is aiming to become a point-per game player in the professional ranks starting next year. His talent is clearly there and his work ethic has risen noticeably over the last couple of years for Spooner. Now its all about keeping that consistent professional mindset no matter where the begins the season in the face of an impending lockout.

Spooners time will come, and a few months in the AHL might not be such a bad thing at the end of the day.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.