WILMINGTON, Mass. --
Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid
is quickly becoming a fan favorite, what with the signature "Darth Quaider" mullet and his propensity for dropping the gloves, but the key to the blueliner's success is the hard work he puts in whenever the big defenseman hits the ice.
That hard work has made the B's coaching staff big fans of McQuaid, too.
"So far he’s had a good camp," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on Monday. "We actually commented on him today that every year that he’s come to training camp he’s looked better and better and he’s a player that continues to improve, so can we expect more out of him? I think so.
"I think with confidence, with experience, he’s a guy that’s capable of becoming a better defenseman and as good as he is defensively, he might become [even more] reliable and maybe down the road a real good shut-down defenseman."
Going into the B's first exhibition game with Ottawa (7:30 p.m., 98.5 The Sports Hub), McQuaid sounded like a player who is determined to live up to that praise. But the big blueliner also said that players can't get too worked up about mistakes made in pregame play.
"It's still a bit of an adjustment period getting used to being in game situations," admitted McQuaid, who has made a solid impression in each Bruins camp (development, rookie and training) he's attended since being acquired by Boston in May of 2007.
"I think you have to be aware that you might make the odd mistake here or there," he explained. "It's a bit more of a feeling out process, but nothing changes from the mindset of us wanting to win."
Winning a game or winning a spot, McQuaid said his focus remains intact, even when the results don't count.
"I think that there's so much competition here and everyone is pushing one-another," said the Charlottetown, PEI-native. "Every time you're out there you're trying to prove your worth and do your job, so it's hard, I think for most guys, when you get out there to not want to compete and play hard.
"So, even though it's a preseason game, it doesn't change anything."
But McQuaid welcomes the change from scrimmages to game-play.
"Yeah, it's the first time that we're getting to play together as a group. All training camp we've been playing against one another, so it's going to be nice to get to play with one another again and go up against another team," he said. "It's always nice to kind of get that camaraderie within the room again."