McQuaid and Martin square off in epic, old-time hockey fight


McQuaid and Martin square off in epic, old-time hockey fight

BOSTON – The NHL hasn’t allowed their true heavyweights to drop the gloves in hockey fights all that often this season amid a continuing crackdown in fighting majors across the league.

But Adam McQuaid and Matt Martin were able to put on a classic old time hockey fight in the second period of Boston’s 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden, and it energized the crowd and the teams amid a truly entertaining, playoff-style game.

“It was an important game for both teams, I guess you would expect [some chippy play],” said McQuaid. “Go out and play hard, they’re trying to prevent us from doing something and we’re trying to prevent them from doing something. You’re going to get [a fight or two] when that’s the situation.”

It also left Martin dazed and bloodied after the Leafs tough guy caught a number of McQuaid right-hand punches to the head before finally getting dropped to the ice.

“That was obviously an amazing fight by both guys. They were really going at it. They’re both very honest players for their team and Adam, like I’ve said before, he’s always been a huge influence on a lot of guys,” said Patrice Bergeron. “He’s very quiet but he always works hard and goes about his business and stands up for his teammates. Right there that gave us definitely lots of energy.”

It all started when McQuaid threw a heavy hit on Auston Matthews against the end boards midway through the second period, and then Martin came looking for McQuaid to stand up for his young superstar. McQuaid was happy to oblige and both tough guys threw a series of haymakers that connected before Martin was finally dropped with a powerful right-handed punch.

Martin exited to the Maple Leafs dressing immediately after the bout with McQuaid, but he eventually returned to the game in a sign of good news for both player and team.

“Well, he came back [to the game]. I don’t like the situation. [Adam] McQuaid’s a tough kid; he’s a tough kid. McQuaid’s got a visor and a helmet; [Martin] has got no visor,” said Toronto head coach Mike Babcock. “I don’t like that scenario but that’s just the way it is. To me, it’s not fair. But Matty’s [Matt Martin] a real good teammate and does a lot for our young guys, and it’s good he’s okay.”

The fight did more than simply get the TD Garden crowd excited with a good, old-fashioned hockey fight, however. It also energized the Bruins as they engineered their comeback from three goals down in the second and third period, and Torey Krug’s power play strike three minutes after the McQuaid brawl was proof positive of that fact.

It was great to see the Black and Gold feed off the energy provided by McQuaid showing a little toughness during an intense game, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get them a much-needed win in the end.

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.