Tonight versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid
will take the ice for the first time this regular season.
|Buffalo Sabres right wing Mike Grier (25) hits the ice after being checked by Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (54) during the first period of Game 3 of an NHL hockey playoff series in Boston on Monday, April 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
Asked this morning about any pre-game jitters, McQuaid just smiled and said he’s simply excited to play.
“I’m sure there will be a little more nerves when it’s time for the puck to drop, but right now I’m just looking forward to it," he said. "I'm trying not to over-think things too much and to just go out there a play my game.”
A vote of confidence echoed around the locker room this morning for the young Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native.
“I mean everybody knows how big Johnny [Boychuk] played the last few games and how good he is, but at the same time, you’ve got Quaider [Adam McQuaid
] coming in that played last year in the playoffs," said fellow B's defenseman Dennis Seidenberg
“He played great last year. We all know what he can do, and if we support him communicate well and just talk to each other out there, we should be fine."
“He plays a good strong game, he’s very physical, he’s a tough individual and he doesn’t cost you," said head coach Claude Julien of McQuaid after morning skate. "So those things put together make him a great candidate for a hockey club.
"He’s got an opportunity now to play his first League game and I am sure he is ready.”
McQuaid said he appreciates the support he’s gotten from the Club.
“Definitely. You know, to have the confidence of your teammates mean a lot, especially when you haven’t been in the lineup in a while, so to know you have their support means a lot," said McQuaid.
But will the defense be able to bottle up the Leaf’s aggressive offense?
“We’ve got to work just as hard as they do if not harder,” continued Seidenberg when asked about the defense’s game plan for tonight.
“We’ve got to have a good gap, good forecheck, and when they break the puck out, we can’t give them a lot of time to create speed in the neutral zone, so we’ve just got to kind of gap up and be tight on their forwards… so they don’t come down 100 miles per hour on you."
McQuaid’s first game is an appropriate one. As a Canadian who grew up watching the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada, this match-up hits close to home.
“It’s a big rivalry,” said McQuaid. “[There are] a lot of Leafs fans where I grew up, and I played junior in Ontario, so I’ve seen a lot of the Leafs.
“They have a lot of support back home, so there will be a lot of people watching, so it will be pretty exciting too.”