Clark scores in the heat of Bruins competition


Clark scores in the heat of Bruins competition

By Joe Haggerty Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
MONTREAL Chris Clark knows hes up against a great deal of young talent in a Bruins training camp competition for roster spots.

Jordan Caron has a track record with his Bruins teammates, still has plenty of upside as a 20-year-old winger capable of playing up and down the lineup, and hes also enjoyed an impressive overalltraining camp with the Bs. It was a year ago at this time that Caron dominated the Canadiens in preseasonwith his size, strength and ability to protect the puck for long, punishing shifts and actually cracked the Bruins opening nightroster based on his camp along with the impressive physical abilities that made him a former first round pick.Benoit Pouliot has ideal size as a 6-foot-3 forward capable of playing a physical style and putting up points as he did averaging 15 goals over the last two seasons inMontreal but he arrived in Boston with some discipline question marksand a stubborn label as a career underachiever.

Both are young skaters brimming with talent, and both are ready to take regular shifts with the Bruins in a role that has yet to be fully determined. Pouliot could be a candidate to skate out the right wing spot with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, but he could also become an energy line henchmen banging around bodies with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.

Caron has enjoyed an excellent camp with two strong games against the Canadiens, but Pouliot was merely been okay with a boarding penalty against the Ottawa Senators ranking as his most notable moment. Its expected that Pouliot will need some time to get accustomed to a new Bs offensive and defensive system, but Julien appears ready to have that kind of patience for a young player brimming with potential.If it were up to the coach, however, Julien has long since had an admiration for Caron and his approach to the game of hockey. So that's certainly a factor as well.

That leaves Clark as a 35-year-old veteran trying to capture a job, and that much has been obvious in the early going of Bs camp as he tries to make an impression. Clark assisted on a Brad Marchandgoal in Sundays win over the Habs in Halifax, and scored his first Bruins goal on Monday night off a sweet pass from Max Sauve. The Clark strike turned out to be the game-winner and allowed him to keep pace with the younger players he's competing with.

It was a good breakout by us. We got it to the blueline the way wanted it be, and then a seam opened up for a great pass, said Clark. That was a great play, and I was fortunate enough to put it in the net. I had a couple of other chances like the goal earlier in game and I wasnt able to bury them.

The intangibles have been off the charts for Clark during camp as hes taken on ice bags while jumping in front of pucks during the penalty kill -- and thrown shoulders at teammates during scrimmages to let them knowhe means business. Competition like that is gold in training camp, and Clark capped it off with the game-winning strike atthe Bell Centre -- the first official gesture as a member of the Bruins against the Habs in a Black and Gold career that could be year-long or incredibly fleeting.Either way, Clark has his eyes on the prize.

Overall we have been talking about making the team," Clark said, "and a goal certainly doesnt hurt me.

Clark also lamented several plays he left out on the ice Monday night against the Habs above and beyond the goal he scored. That must be the veteran in him as he's trying to do every last thing to hook on with the Bruins for their Cuprepeat attempt that kicks off against the Flyers on Oct. 6 and hes actually got a 35-year-old punchers chanceof making it if he keeps bringing veteran know-how to the table.

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

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season. 

Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?


Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving The Walking Dead credit for delivering a pile driver to me as a TV viewer last night. I did not see all of that coming.

*Plenty of questions and answers about the Calgary Flames as they’ve looked a little shaky in the early going this season.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Edmonton Oilers straightening things out after the brutal loss to Buffalo.

*NHL captains like Steve Stamkos carry the heavy weight of tradition on their shoulders as they go about their business.

*The Hockey News wonders if Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward to ever play in the NHL. I’m certain he’s in the conversation, but that’s a big, bold statement that deserves some heavy consideration. After all, he never had to defend Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe or any other number of offensive stars. I certainly think he should be in the select club he would join if/when he wins his fourth Selke Trophy.

*Minnesota D-man Matt Dumba was nearly scratched by the Minnesota Wild, and he says that he’s never going to let that happen again.

*The Anaheim Ducks placed Simon Despres on long term injured reserve as they try to stay afloat salary cap-wise, and avoid dealing off a player in-season.

*For something completely different: The Boston Celtics break ground on a new practice facility adjacent to the new Bruins place.