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.

Dupont: If Tuukka Rask is healthy, he should start for Bruins

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Mike Felger and Kevin Paul Dupont debate if it is time for the Bruins to send a message to Tuukka Rask and have Anton Khudobin get the starts in net.

Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.