Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is already a veteran of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including winning a Stanley Cup title with the Bruins in 2011 and approaching 50 postseason games for his career before his 27th birthday.
This postseason, McQuaid, 26, has been a staple of Boston's third defensive pairing, providing a shut-down presence for Claude Julien. In the Eastern Conference Final, McQuaid scored the series-winning goal in a stunning four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
McQuaid has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final.
In his latest installment, McQuaid talks about how his team has grown in the past three years, the impact that Mark Recchi had on him and the 2011 championship team and the fine art of "turning the page" in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
When we went to the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, everything was new for me then. It was my first experience. You looked at some of the guys who had been through it before -- a guy like Mark Recchi, who had won a couple of Cups. I just noticed he had a pretty calm demeanor and approach to things. The kind of approach where win or lose, you move on and the next game is a new game and a fresh start. Going that far for most of the guys on that team was a new experience. To have someone who had been through it before, I think, was helpful to everyone.
It's not easy to do that, though. I think everyone goes through a few feelings. It's not easy to dismiss the game as soon as it is over. Everyone goes through a few things and thinks about the game. I think you see, especially in the playoffs when you are playing the same team over and over, you are seeing that really each game is a new game. Maybe you learn that from just playing in the playoffs. You can also see, just from watching, that one team can maybe have a blowout and then they lose. You saw it in the NBA Finals, four of the first five games were blowouts each way.
Regardless of what you did -- positive or negative -- the previous game doesn't have any effect on that next one. Whether you have had a good game or bad game, you can't really hang your hat on that and approach the next game with the right attitude.
This team, like the 2011 team, has its obvious leaders -- Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron. We have those obvious guys, but now I think it is a little more by committee. More guys have been through more experiences and are able to remind each other at times of the things we need to hear and keep each other in the right mind frame. I think it is important for any team that there is accountability, not just from player to player, but self-accountability. That's an important part of our team, guys are pretty self-accountable. They do the right things and play the way they need to. I think being lucky enough to play with guys for a few years and being able to build friendships, you are able to have the more serious conversations and do those kinds of things. It's not always in a negative way, but you can just communicate better.
But our team is not all serious. We have a pretty good balance. We realize you have to enjoy the experience as well. There is a fine line that you have to make the most of the opportunity, as well. The guys who step up and be serious can also be the guy that says something funny or cracks a joke to lighten the mood. We have a good blend of guys that way, as well.
Now, it's one more day in Boston and then off to Chicago for Game 5. Talk to you tomorrow.