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.

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.

 


 

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.