Notes: Horton travels to Vancouver with Bruins

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Notes: Horton travels to Vancouver with Bruins

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow@hackswithhaggs
VANCOUVER There is little doubt Nathan Horton has been an inspiration to the Bruins since going down with a severe concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The affable, ever-smiling right winger is a favorite of his teammates in the Bs dressing room and he was their Game 7 hero when he potted the winning goals against both the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lighting during Bostons playoff run.

There were a lot of smiles when Horton appeared on the TD Garden jumbotron during Game 6, waving yellow Bruins towels in both hands, and even more when it was learned he had hopped on the Bs team charter and was traveling to Vancouver for the decisive Game 7 against the Canucks.

There were rumblings from Rogers SportsNet that Horton was trying to convince the Bruins to let him play on Wednesday night but theres no shot of that, given the right wing was still suffering concussion symptoms just prior to Game 6 in Boston. His attitude is more about continuing to be a part of the Bruins as they attempt to finish off the job that Horton helped them start. It's also about potentially participating in the celebration if the Bruins are able to win at Rogers Arena.

The Bruins will set up Hortons equipment and sweater in his dressing room stall as he if was going to play.

That's something the guys wanted to do, said coach Claude Julien. They wanted him to be part of our group here. Until the third game of the Final, he was a big contributor to our hockey club. If the doctors would let him, he would play Wednesday and we all know that that's the way he feels right now. He would be willing to play through what he's gone through.

Though Horton can't play, his teammates will certainly include their fallen No. 1 right wing in everything leading up to the game.

It is special, said Julien. He certainly wanted to be here. We wanted him on this trip. As you know, when you get this far, you're a pretty close-knit group. Our guys wanted everybody here and they've got it."

The Bruins also plan to send out some positive vibes to Marc Savard, who also had a great deal to do with whats been built in Boston over the last four years.

Marc is probably the only one right now that's not here and his health varies from day to day, week to week," Julien said. "He's still in our thoughts and he's part of our hockey club as well. We've got a lot of guys that are part of this and some of them are here and one of 'em isn't.

Horton was clearly emotional during Game 6 when he was put up on the TD Garden jumbotron amid huge applause from Bruins fans, and perhaps thats what has No. 18 trying to talk his way into playing.

That isnt going to be happen, but it wont stop from potentially being a smiling part of history when things unfold in Game 7.

Vancouver GM Mike Gillis was clearly not happy about the lack of a penalty or suspension given to Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk after his collision with Mason Raymond that left the Canucks winger out for Game 7 with a compressed vertebrae injury.

Things looked scary as Raymond was wobbly and basically carried off the ice after laying face down for a long stretch. Gillis contends that the puck was nowhere near either player, making it a punishable hit.

Replays were inconclusive and the NHL said in an e-mail that it amounted to an awkward collision that didnt merit suspensions or penalties.

I haven't had any discussion with the league after last night. All I can tell you is my observations of the hit, said Gillis. I didn't see the puck around him. I thought Boychuk used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back. That's what I saw. I don't have much more to say about that other than that observation.

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.