McQuaid looks to play against Lightning


McQuaid looks to play against Lightning

By Joe Haggerty Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- It looks like Adam McQuaid should make his season debut this weekend after a slightly tardy start.

McQuaid said he was starting to feel back to normal after dealing with a flu-like illness. Thursday was the first time in three days that the defenseman felt like he could get out of bed and move around.

Claude Julien wouldnt sign off on McQuaid being a definite against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, largely because he didnt have to make any guarantees 36 hours before the game.

Hes feeling better today with the expectation hell feel even better tomorrow, said Julien. Im optimistic, but Id wait until tomorrow to make a comment as to whether hes in or not.

McQuaid was felled by some combination of fluvirusbug after the team-bonding trip in Maine and wasnt even feeling well enough to take part in the pregame skate prior to puck drop against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, McQuaid did made it on the ice briefly to hoist the Cup once on the TD Garden ice before the Bruins handed the Cup back to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for next years winner.

McQuaid wouldnt have missed that, but of course he was disappointed about being unable to play in the first game against the Flyers.

The missed game against Philly actually continues a bizarre string of bad luck against the Flyers that includes getting boarded by Jody Shelley last season and hurting his neck going for a hit on Mike Richards during last years Cup playoffs. Nobody would blame McQuaid for being a little hesitant to suit up against the Flyers, but the brawling blueliner isnt the type of player to shy away from anybody.

I cant really remember the last time I felt that bad. It was really unfortunate timing with all the excitement that was going on over the last couple of days. But I was able to get through practice and I felt pretty good, said McQuaid. There are 81 more games now, though, and hopefully Ill feel that much better tomorrow and be good to go.

I was still happy that I was at least able to be out there with the guys during the banner-raising to take part in it. It was a special moment for the team, the organization and the fans. With all the excitement and energy in the building, though, it was disappointing I couldnt take part in the game.

Matt Bartkowski filled in for McQuaid as the sixth defenseman and barely cracked eight minutes of ice time against the Flyers, so the Bruins coaching staff certainly isnt going to lollygag getting McQuaid back in the lineup against a talented Lightning bunch. Bartkowski admitted feeling a bit tentative out on the ice, and is hoping to get another chance to prove himself if McQuaid isn't ready to go.

Ive just got to get a little more confident out there because I can feel that Im a little hesitant out there, said Bartkowski. It was great being out there for the banner ceremony and raising the Cup, but Ive got to do whatever I can to help the team win.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at 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.