BOSTON, MA – With the Bruins suffering a flurry of injuries – Brad Marchand, Danny Paille, and Shawn Thornton – over the last week, the Black & Gold were forced to make another emergency call up from Providence.
Jamie Tardif was recalled on an emergency basis last week, and on Monday night, center Ryan Spooner got the call to make the trip to Montreal for Wednesday’s game against the Habs.
Spooner, who participated in the Black & Gold’s training camp, is tied with Tardif for the lead on the Baby B’s with 30 points (9 goals, 21 assists) in 35 games and also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus–12.
Before the team took off for Montreal this morning, Spooner met the media and talked about the excitement of his first regular season NHL recall. The center said he missed the initial phone call from Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney, but immediately called him back and got the good news.
“I missed the call to start with, I didn’t check my phone,” said Spooner, a former second round pick (45th overall) by the Bruins in the 2010 NHL Draft. “I saw that Sweens called me, so I called him back and he said I was getting called up, so I was pretty happy.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Even if I don’t get to play, it’s exciting.”
Spooner could be thrust right into fire, with his first game possibly coming against the Canadiens in Montreal. Spooner and his father were big Montreal fans before he was drafted by the Bruins, but now he is on the other side of one of the biggest rivalries in sports.
“Growing up, I was a big Montreal fan, my Dad was a big Montreal fan,” Spooner admitted. “When I got drafted by Boston, I’m now a Boston fan. I think if I got the chance [to play] it would be really cool.”
Even though he grew up a Habs fan, Spooner has only been to Bell Centre once, to play in a preseason game with the B’s in 2010. What does he remember about Bell Centre from that game?
“It was loud, a lot of people there," he said. "It’s intimidating, but if I had the chance to play I’d be excited.”
Having some of his teammates from Providence with him up in Boston will help ease Spooner’s transition. Tardif and Chris Bourque were Spooner’s linemates before they were called up to the big club. And with Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille not making the trip to Montreal, Spooner could get a chance to reunite with Tardif and another former Baby B Lane MacDermid, on the fourth line.
“If I do end up playing, I’ve played with those two guys before, so maybe we can find some chemistry,” said Spooner. “I’ve had great linemates, I played with Bourque and Tardif. They’re both up here right now, being older guys they can show me the ropes a little bit.
“But for right now, I’m just going to prepare like I am going to play. If I don’t that’s fine, I’m just going to help out the team any way I can.”
Head Coach Claude Julien has been pleased with Spooner’s development, saying he has seen “a lot of good things” in the center’s game both down in Providence and while Spooner was up with the team during training camp.
“A lot of good things,” said Julien, when asked what he has seen from Spooner this season. “He fit in. He fit in, absolutely, and you saw him in that exhibition game we played against the Providence team, and he was good. He kept up the pace and played against our guys and certainly was good.
“Like every young player, [the] first few years you kind of feel your way through, and that’s what he’s doing right now. But the one thing I saw is just the skill level is definitely one of the NHL. He can skate well and some of the goals he scored were highlight goals, so there’s no doubt he’s on the right track.
“I‘d be very surprised not to see this guy play as a full-time NHLer down the road.”
Julien compared Spooner to Tyler Seguin and former Bruin Phil Kessel because of his ability to play both wing and center. If he plays against Montreal, Spooner could be at either position.
“He’s mostly a centerman, but, having said that, you’ve seen what we’ve done with Seggy. You saw what we’ve done with Phil Kessel. It’s a lot easier for a centerman to play the wing than a winger becoming a centerman," explained Julien.
“At one point, when you want to play, you tell the coach that you’ll play anywhere, right? So I think that goes for him as well.”
Spooner says if he gets the chance, whether it’s at wing or center, he’ll just play his game and try to enjoy what would be his first NHL game.
“I think I’m just going to try and play simple, it’s my first my game,” he said. “I’ll probably be pretty nervous, so I think if I just play my game and just focus on the things that I’m good at and not get too sidetracked, I should be fine.”