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

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all. 

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.