– When defenseman and Quincy, MA-native Mike Mottau
was growing up, he told his parents he wanted to go to Harvard (and be a carpenter), and play for the Boston Bruins – those were his dreams.
The first one didn’t quite pan out, as he went to Boston College and played with the Eagles for four years.
The second one seemed as if it wasn’t going to pan out either – that is until he was traded from the New York Islanders to the Boston Bruins minutes before Monday’s trade deadline.
“I’ve been a lifelong Bruins fan, so coming back, I have a lot of excitement,” Mottau said, who enjoyed watching Ray Bourque and Cam Neely growing up. “I can run down a list of guys I really liked. I remember being able to name all the guys in the 83-84 media guide by number and name – and [Bourque and Neely] would be the [favorite] two guys.
“I emulated my game early on after Ray Bourque because he was such a great player.”
Mottau came to the Black & Gold in a packaged deal with veteran forward Brian Rolston
, who were exchanged for Bruins prospects Marc Cantin and Yannick Rindeau.
“[Mottau] adds to our defensive depth – [he’s a] left-shot D – we’ve been looking for some left-shot D’s,” Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said. “And [he] has a good head on his shoulder, good mobility and I find he keeps a nice gap for someone his size, which is hard to do.”
The 33-year old defenseman, who stands at six feet, 193-pounds, said that he is excited to be able to contribute in any way possible.
“[I] can make a good outlet pass – adding value at some level here,” Mottau said when asked what his greatest asset is. “Something I can duplicate over and over again is making a good outlet pass, and making good reads relying on my hockey intellect, and reading plays and anticipating.
“It’s not sometimes the showiest game that I play, but as far as adding value, that’s what I’m looking to do on whatever level that I’m needed.”
Mottau and the New York Islanders didn’t make the playoffs last year, and this season, his now former team is 26-28-8 – 13th in the Eastern Conference.
However, now Mottau will get a chance to help the Bruins (37-20-3), who are second in the Eastern Conference, compete for a Stanley Cup.
“I enjoyed my time on the Islanders, but unfortunately had a few injuries,” Mottau said, who returned from a concussion Friday. “But, to be able to go to a contender and have a chance at the Stanley Cup and repeating on a Stanley Cup team is quite a thrill.
"I’ll do whatever it takes to add value to the team and I think I’m more prepared to do it now – just kind of understanding roles and being part of a group that’s been there before and hopefully I can fit in seamlessly.”
The day was a bit of a wild one for Mottau, who got the call that he was being traded while he was on his way to Walter Reed Hospital to visit veterans. After he got the call from Islanders coach Jack Capuano, he got off at the next corner so he could pack his bags to catch a flight to Boston tonight.
“It was a lot of different emotions through your head right away,” Mottau said. “I was extremely excited mostly and my first phone call was to my wife and she didn’t believe me for a bit.
“I’m grateful for the trade, and fortunate because I’m so familiar with being from the area and my family is extremely exited.”
Not only is Mottau familiar with the area, but he’s familiar with the TD Garden too. As a Boston College player, the 2000 Hobey Baker award winner has played a number of games in the arena.
He said his experience there will help him manage the pressure he’ll face when playing in Boston.
“I’ll definitely embrace it only because it’s such a great hockey town,” Mottau said. “Growing up there and having the experience of playing close to home in college and playing in some big games in the Garden – and having family and friends to be in the stands each night will be quite a thrill for me.
“Some people might not be able to handle that type of excitement or pressure, but I’m definitely going to embrace it.
“I always said I’d take a puck in the teeth for the Bruins – now I have a chance to do that.”---- Anthony Gulizia