Morning Skate 331: Bruins did have Da Costa interest

Morning Skate 331: Bruins did have Da Costa interest

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comA Bruins source confirmed that the team had interest in Merrimack College hockey standout Stephane Da Costa as he enters the NHL via free agency as an undrafted prospect from France, but they were never front runners in the Da Costa sweepstakes.The same team source termed their chances as slim on Wednesday, and that became none on Thursday morning as the puck prospect signed a two-year deal with the Ottawa Senators.Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was spotted at Merrimack watching Da Costa on several occasions, so the organization did their due diligence in attempting to lure the hot prospect to Boston.People close to Da Costas situation indicated he wanted to go to an NHL team where he could play right away, and that was never going to materialize with a Bruins team locked and loaded for the playoffs. The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild were other teams strongly in contention for the highly-skilled college prospect that helped turn around a Merrimack hockey program, and get them into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1988.Hes definitely got some of the European flair and creativity to his game along with the soft edges that can infuriate some hockey coaches, but theres little doubting Da Costa can add something to a power play unit with his NHL caliber hands and passing vision.The 21-year-old posted 90 points in 67 games against solid Hockey East competition, and had NHL scouts tracking his every move this season and letting out groans when a knee injury sidelined him for a portion of the season.Lawrence Eagle-Tribune Merrimack beat reporter Mike McMahon reported that Da Costa will play for the Senators Saturday night against the Maple Leafs, and will finish out the season with the rest of a young and hungry Senators bunch. The Hockey East standout will also swing through the TD Garden with the Senators on April 9 for a Saturday matinee, so everybody can fix their eyes on another local college hockey player thats done very well for himself. On to the links:Speaking of Da Costa and Hockey East, heres former University of New Hampshire player and current Ottawa Senators Bobby Butler talking about his former Merrimack adversary turned teammate.A nice piece by New Yorks SB Nation hockey entry on 21-year-old Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh after he survived his brush with the NHL punk formerly known as Matt Cooke.Bruins defenseman, and Thomas the Tank Engine twin, Tomas Kaberle is one of the bigger names in a list of 10 players that Puck Daddy would love to see win a Stanley Cup this season.Excellent story by ESPNBoston.coms Joe McDonald about the connection between Johnny Bower and Tim Thomas. A must read for Bruins fans.NBC Pro Hockey Talk delves into the murky waters inhabited by NHL fan bases in Phoenix and Winnipeg that arent exactly best friends right now.A Classic high school studentvideo created in the TD Garden balcony with a flip cam during a Bruins game that concluded with a very heartwarming and happy ending.Speaking of Hockey East alums, Nathan Gerbe has established himself in Buffalo as the Sabres make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season. Not bad for a 5-foot-5 gnat on skates.Rob Rossi provides a transcription following Sidney Crosbys first non-contact practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Seems like hes ramping up for a playoff return, doesnt it?

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.