McQuaid surprised, honored to get an 'A'


McQuaid surprised, honored to get an 'A'

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Adam McQuaid was as surprised as anybody when he walked into the TD Garden dressing room prior to Thursday nights preseason game against the Senators, and spotted the 'A' on the shoulder of his sweater.

He spent the evening as the alternate captain alongside Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara in the 2-1 loss to the Sens, and the 24-year-old defenseman took it as a huge compliment heading into his third season with the Black and Gold.

I walked into the room before the game and saw it, but kind of pretended like I didnt see it, said McQuaid. But then some of the guys started kidding me about it a little bit, and it was out in the open at that point. Im such a young guy in a room full of veterans, so I wasnt really expecting it or anything.

"But I take it as a really big compliment from the coaching staff and my teammates. Im not a big talker, but I try to lead by example with hard work and dedication.

The 6-foot-4 defenseman has the respect of every other player inside the Bruins dressing room given the effort he puts into his game, and the willingness to drop the gloves in defense of fallen teammates. The 2005 second round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets became more than just a fighting defenseman last season, though, and established himself as a capable stay-at-home D-man with a possible future as a shutdown defensemen.

He nearly led the Bruins with a plus-30 rating in 67 regular season games last year and 15 points in an impressive bit of offensive improvement, and has clearly made an impression on the Bs coaching staff as a quiet source of leadership.

A lot of players have had the A letter in preseason. Looking at the guys that had it and the guys that hadnt, I thought he was a good candidate for that, said coach Claude Julien. I think hes well-respected from his teammates and hes a guy that competes hard every night. Hes a hard, honest player and I thought he was deserving of wearing it.

Theres no indication as to what the Bruins will do with the second alternate captain once the regular season starts, but McQuaid is simply concentrating on skating with different defensemen partners getting ready for whatever the season holds.

I think its been getting better as the season is coming along. A lot of times were kind of mismatched around with our pairings, said McQuaid. So youre out there with different guys a lot. I think obviously theres room out there for improvement, but thats what the preseason is for. We have another game to make sure were ready when the season starts.

Given the three-year commitment that the Bruins made to McQuaid that will keep him and his flowing mullet in Boston for the foreseeable future, he couldnt be more ready to start the season and keep working on his blue collar defensemen game.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Petersen snubs Sabres, Fleury pens letter to Pittsburgh

Morning Skate: Petersen snubs Sabres, Fleury pens letter to Pittsburgh

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the NHL pre-July 1 wooing period is underway.


*Another draft pick has snubbed the team that selected him after their college career, and this time it’s the Buffalo Sabres. 


*It’s a shame to see the demise of the CTV sports staff in Montreal. Brian Wilde is a friend and a colleague, and a voice on the Habs that deserved to be heart up in that city. 


*In an emotional letter penned to the only NHL city that he’d ever played in, Marc-Andre Fleury has plenty to say about Pittsburgh. 


*The Edmonton Oilers and Peter Chiarelli have signed rugged power forward Zack Kassian to a three-year, $5.85 million contract. Interesting risk here for a player that might be a fourth line guy, and has had some issues toeing the line in the past, but Kassian has been pretty effective for the Oil since they stuck out their neck for him. 


*Teemu Selanne is a no-brainer for this season’s Hockey Hall of Fame class, and that’s great. But it will be a crime if three-time Stanley Cup champion and high-ranking lifetime scorer Mark Recchi doesn’t finally get into the Hall this season. Seriously, Recchi has the credentials statistically, he has the Stanley Cups, he has the time playing with some of the greatest players of his generation during his NHL career and he also happens to have been a great person and leader on top of all that. If former Bruins winger Recchi doesn’t hear his name announced this season then something is seriously flawed with the process. 


*How exactly will the return of Brandon Saad impact both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane over the next few seasons? One would imagine it’s going to be a positive impact. 


*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman thinks that the Columbus Blue Jackets are making a push to be contenders, and will be in the mix for Ilya Kovalchuk. 


*Speaking of Blackhawks former Cup champs, Niklas Hjalmarsson is bringing that winning tradition, experience and leadership to the Arizona Coyotes now that he’s been traded. 


*For something completely different: What a crazy story this Han Solo movie intrigue has turned into, with reports that the movie’s crew “broke into applause” when it was announced that Ron Howard was taking over direction of the movie. 

NHL shouldn't overthink offsides challenges any longer; they should just get rid of them

NHL shouldn't overthink offsides challenges any longer; they should just get rid of them

When the hockey world grew tired of shootouts, the league took something of a half measure. Rather than eliminate the shootout, the league moved overtime from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3. It worked; games that were tied at the end of regulation were more likely to end in the five-minute OT period than before, thus reducing the frequency of shootouts. 

Now, the NHL is dealing with its latest cumbersome gameplay issue: the offsides challenge. A half-measure isn’t as desirable in this case. No more half measures, Walter. 

The offsides challenge was introduced with good intentions, but it’s simply too easy to abuse. And really, when the option is there with only a timeout at risk, why wouldn’t a coach roll the dice that maybe a guy was offsides entering the zone 29 seconds before the goal was scored? 

The option needs to be taken away. Rely on blueline cameras and automatically look at anything close on a goal that’s scored off the rush. It would take two seconds and would save the refs from another Matt Duchene incident while saving the viewer a lot of time. Let anything else go the way of the dry scrape. 

There’s the temptation to instead tweak -- maybe make offsides challengeable if the entry in question occurs within however many seconds -- but that would just mean more time would be wasted seeing if a play was even challengeable. 

It was proposed at the GM meetings in Chicago that if a coach loses an offsides challenge, his team will be assessed a two-minute penalty. That sounds great as a deterrent, but it won’t stop instances of the needless why-the-hell-not challenge. Late in games, coaches might be just as likely to take their chances in a tie game or a one-goal game. That goal allowed could likely be the deciding tally, so if they’re likely to lose anyway, some coaches might still go for the time-wasting Hail Mary. 

And of course, the loser there is the person hoping to catch their train out of North Station in time, or the person who might doze off during the stupid challenge, wake up four hours later on their couch and develop back issues over time. That was a friend, not me. 

Colin Campbell said at the GM meetings in Chicago ahead of the draft that the league is trying to "temper" the negative reaction the offside challenge has received from players and fans. 

There’s really only way to do that, and that’s to get rid of it.

See you in a year when we’re going through the same thing with goalie interference.