Even before the recent injuries to Dennis Seidenberg
and Adam McQuaid
, the alway-smiling Mottau said, "I would take a puck in the teeth for the B’s," when asked about his current depth role.
The blueliner may have only played three games (including one as a forward) for Boston since he was acquired from the Islanders on February 27th, but the Massachusetts born and raised Mottau already feels as if he bleeds Black & Gold.
But that's probably because the former Boston College Eagle captain, who won the Hobey Baker Award in 2000, grew up rooting for the B's.
"It was my childhood dream to play for this team," he said, candidly, during an interview earlier this week. "I wouldn’t want to be doing this anywhere else.
"I get to see my family and friends, and I’m not able to do that most of the times when I’m playing elsewhere. It’s a comforting feeling to come home."
And that's exactly where Mottau feels he is in the Bruins locker room - at home.
Mottau credits the Bruins, coaches and teammates alike, for making him feel like an important part of the club, even as he's been a healthy scratch.
"I think that’s a good coaching staff, a good organization," explained Mottau of the reasons for his ease in a new hockey enviroment. "They keep guys involved when they’re not in the lineup, guys who aren’t in the lineup they are still very much part of the team. One injury and we’ll be needed to be called upon and be a big part of the team while we’re in the lineup.
"But while we’re not in the lineup, we’re still part of the group and everyone treats you the same if you’re in the lineup or out of the lineup. It’s a testament to a good team.
|Mottau receiving the Hobey-Baker award |
"No one’s really above the team and everyone’s on the same page on the ice, and in the locker room, it’s a nice environment to be a part of," he said.
Head Coach Claude Julien said the B's work hard to ensure a team atmosphere even beyond the confines of the game night roster.
"I think number one is you have to keep working with them, and sometimes those guys have to do extra and the extra isn’t a punishment, it’s keeping them sharp so that when they’re called upon," explained the B's bench boss. "As a head coach, you have to understand those guys are being healthy scratches, they’re not always in the lineup and you have to talk them, you have to let them know they’re part of the team and that they’re just as important as anybody else.
"We talk about sometimes giving credit to a fourth line when they’ve done a good job like last night, and you do the same thing with some of your fifth and sixth D that don’t get the big minutes, the big blocked shot or a big play and you have to recognize those things. It’s all about confidence, and when those guys feel they’re part of the team it certainly helps along the way and we’ve always felt like we’ve had good team chemistry.
"And some of it’s created by making sure everybody feels apart of it and they’re just as important as the guy playing," added Julien. "We’ve saw that in the playoffs last year when Tyler was a healthy scratch at times and when threw as time for him to come in, he contributed and contributed in a big way in the Tampa series.
"It’s important to have those guys ready, it’s important to have those guys know they’re part of this hockey club and we need them and we try to keep that kind of thing going throughout the season."
But Julien also said that he's been impressed with what he's seen from the Quincy-born Mottau.
"I thought he’s played well in [those] games," said Julien. "With the number of Ds we have right now, it is a numbers game so we’re pleased with the lineup we have and the guys that we have available, and those guys that have come in and have been a good fit for us.
"So you have to give Peter and his group a lot of credit for finding those players when they were tough to find."
In the interim, Mottau is hanging tough, and waits for his chance to retake the ice wearing the beloved spoked-B for his beloved hometown team.
"I wouldn’t want to be doing this anywhere else," said Mottau. "I get to see my family and friends, and I’m not able to do that most of the times when I’m playing elsewhere.
"My son is saying some of the same stuff I did when I was a kid," added the Avon-native. "My mother is reminding me I wanted to play the B’s when I grew up, and when I played street hockey I’d be Ray Bourque or Cam Neely and he’s doing the same thing.
"It’s pretty exciting to see on that level, and that comfort level like I was talking about in the room, in the city and [just] knowing where to eat is just very comfortable.
"I’m happy to be here and happy to be ready when my number is called," he said.