As he prepared to depart Wilmington, Mass. for Philadelphia, Claude Julien talked about the thing that has marked Adam McQuaid
's game as different from the defenseman's work during the 2009-10 campaign.
"I think confidence," said Julien. "He was basically...playing very safe last year; didn’t want to make mistakes and I think this year he’s got more confidence.
"That confidence comes from a little bit more experience."
McQuaid, who's most recent assignment has been roughing up Marc Savard
en route to the sniper's return to regular practice, has been thrust in the #6 role on the B's defensive depth chart thanks to the departure of Matt Hunwick.
"It was disappointing to see 'Hunny' go," said McQuaid, who was ambushed in front of the Bruins stick rack by a curious press corps on his way into the Bruins locker room after he and Savard continued their post-practice work on Tuesday.
"He's a good friend and a good teammate. I think he'll have a good opportunity there in Colorado, the way they play, with his skating ability."
McQuaid will have a good opportunity as well. Boston has declined to call up any more defensemen, and the Prince Edward Island-native will have a shot at sticking in the lineup.
"I'm looking forward to getting back in," said McQuaid. "It's been a while, so it will be nice to get back in and hopefully get a winning streak going here."
The straight-talking McQuaid's speech is as simple as his game and there's no doubt that Adam enjoyed Tuesday's interview as much as he did sitting on Level 9 at the Garden. But even though one of those uncomfortable situations ended much quicker than did the other, the young defenseman knows that he has the coaching staff's confidence.
"I'm not going to try and change too much," he said. "Obviously, I'm not going to step in and replace the things that Hunny did, but just play my own game and hopefully just secure a spot here."
McQuaid talked about his time as a healthy scratch and implied that keeping mentally sharp was tougher than the physical absence from games.
"It can be mentally tough to be out of the lineup and, from game-to-game, not be sure if you are going to play," he said. "[But] being here all year, practicing, gives you the opportunity to be up here at this level...and that's helped a lot."
Asked about his time on the ice with the still-recovering all-star Marc Savard
, McQuaid just smiled.
"Obviously, he's a premium player in the league and even when we were doing our battle drills, he's so solid on his skates -- it kind of surprised me a bit.
"But we've been working hard the last week or two and...it's going to give us both a chance to jump in after being out for a while."