It's a healthy start for McQuaid

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It's a healthy start for McQuaid

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Adam McQuaid went from his sick bed to being a goal-scorer, before having to settle for being ajust plain solid performer in a Bruins win.

McQuaid, who missed Thursday's opener because of illness, had what proved to be the game-winning goal eventually taken away from him in Saturday nights 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. The goal, which put Boston ahead 2-1, was instead awarded to Daniel Paille after McQuaids shot ricocheted off Pailles leg into the net.

McQuaid missed two practices leading up to the Tampa Bay game after catching a nasty virus as he was returning from the team-bonding session in Maine. McQuaid, who was in bed for two days (though he managed to make it to TD Garden for the banner-raising ceremony Thursday), practiced Friday and skated for the full morning skate on Saturday.

It felt good. It was tough not playing Thursday night, so I was happy to be out there today, said McQuaid. I think confidence comes with experience, and knowing that guys will be there to back you up.

At the same time you have to take a peek over your shoulder and make sure there is someone there. You have to know when the right times are to jump up. When you see the opportunity, try to get up there when you can.

The eventual assist for McQuaid arrived after he stepped up into an offensive play and hammered a drop-down pass from Tyler Seguin while rotating around into the offensive zone. Seguin fought to keep the puck in the Boston offensive zone and perfectly envisioned the big defenseman rushing into the offensive zone, and then smacked a puck that bounced off bodies before resting in the net.

McQuaid had 15 points (3 goals and 12 assists) in 67 games last season as a first time NHL regular, but continues to exhibit signs that theres sill some offensive development in the 24-year-old defensemens future.

Its something we want to see more from all of the guys on the back end, but if you had to pick a guy on defense thats probably the least of them expected to go up, itd be McQuaid, said coach Claude Julien. Hes such a defensive-minded defenseman that when you see him supporting the attack, it certainly opens peoples eyes or gets the attention of the people watching him.

We want him to do that more. Hes a pretty smart individual. He picks his spots, and he doesnt want to lose that identity of being a good shutdown defenseman. But McQuaid also wants to help in regards to other areas of the game. Hes got a good shot, and I think hes just getting more comfortable. McQuaid got an understanding that our system requires that our Ds jump up whenever the occasion occurs.

The towering defenseman also got into it several times with Pavel Kubina earlier in the game another good sign that McQuaid is feeling much closer to normal. The offense is something McQuaid is constantly working on in his time with Bruins, but the on-ice snarl seems to come pretty naturally at this point an emerging player in the Bruins organization.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.