Boychuk excited to play hometown Oilers


Boychuk excited to play hometown Oilers

Johnny Boychuk is a proudNortheast Edmonton boy, and always looks forward to games against his hometown Edmonton Oilers.

It makes sense since Boychuk is just old enough to remember the glory days of Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers dynasty while growing up with older brothers in a bona fide Canadian hockey hotbed. In fact the 27-year-old probably most vividly remembers the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals victory for the Oil over the Bruins as six year-old just starting to collect a lifetime of hockey memories. He sees plenty of similarities between Edmonton then and Boston now as the two teams clash at TD Garden on Thursday night.

"It reminds me a lot of New England now with all of the championships going around except it was just hockey in Edmonton growing up, said Boychuk. Theres always a little extra when youre playing the team you grew up watching. I always dreamed of playing for or against the Oilers growing up, and now Ive been able to do it a couple of times.

I remember the last time we played them it was an afternoon game after we had played Vancouver, so it was a little more rushed than this one. So Ill be sure to enjoy it, but I enjoy every game that we play.

In that game in Edmonton last season Boychuk had three shots on net in 22:20 of ice time, but wasnt able to get on the scoresheet in a 3-2 win for the Bs.

Funny enough, Boychuk said he didnt grow up pretending to be The Great One or Mark Messier, though, and he always knew he wanted to be a defenseman from the time he was a young shaver. Little Boychuk dreamed of being Al McInnis or Ray Bourque while growing up on the frozen ponds of Edmonton, but still appreciates how much history the Oil bring with them to Boston.

Boychuk has three points and a plus-4 in his 13 games for the Bruins in 20:04 of ice time this season, and is off to the best start of his career in Boston entering an important free agent year. So theres also a chance for Boychuk to build on the consistent, solid start hes had with the Black and Gold this year, and show some of the steady improvement that Claude Julien has seen throughout Boychuk's three seasons in Boston.

I know Johnny Boychuk has been here for three years, but we sometimes forget hes only just 26 years old and still getting better each and every year, Julien said. Johnny has been one of our best defensemen so far this season, and hes starting to get more consistent night in and night out.

Boychuk gets another chance to add to that newfound consistency and maybe even collect a point or two for the legions of Boychuk family members that will be tuning in to see what happens when Johnny Boy takes on the Oil for the second time in his young NHL career.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.