Talking Points: McElhinney gets the better of B's


Talking Points: McElhinney gets the better of B's

GOLD STAR: Mitch Marner finished with a goal and two points, a plus-2 and 10 shot attempts in 13:57 of ice time, and helped the Leafs get out to a fast lead with both teams looking to get off to a quick start. It was Marner that picked off an errant Brandon Carlo outlet pass, and immediately snapped a shot over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask to give Toronto a quick lead. Marner was again part of the combination that pushed the third goal past Rask in the third period as well, and that score essentially iced the game for Toronto. Marner has struggled for Toronto for large portions of the still-young season, but his game got healthy pretty quickly against the Bruins.

BLACK EYE: Brandon Carlo called himself the “Achilles Heel” after the game was over, and while it might have been a bit overly harsh, it certainly wasn’t wrong. Carlo blew the outlet pass up the middle on a gift-wrapped turnover that Mitch Marner turned into Toronto’s first goal, and it was his hooking call that almost immediately led to Toronto’s power play strike. To top it all off, Carlo screened Tuukka Rask on Toronto’s third goal before unintentionally redirecting the puck past the Bruins goaltender on a truly bad luck play. Carlo finished with a minus-2 rating in 15:17 of ice time, and should just be focused on bouncing back from a rough couple of nights against Toronto as quickly as possible. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs by a 13-11 margin in the second period and were only down by a 2-1 score at that point, but they couldn’t get anything past Toronto backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney during the barrage. The best chance was a Patrice Bergeron lead pass to Brad Marchand in front of the net, but McElhinney was able to stuff Marchand’s backhanded bid and get the puck out of danger. Once the Maple Leafs managed to survive Boston’s big push in the second period, they snapped back with a third insurance goal that sealed any chances the Bruins had of getting back into the game. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Frank Vatrano was one of the few bright spots for the Bruins. He scored the team’s only goal in the first period, he threw three hits including a big one on Toronto D-man Nikita Zaitsev against the side boards and he even blocked a couple of shots while playing the 200-foot game for the Black and Gold. Vatrano also drew an interference call on Tyler Bozak in the third period to set up a Bruins power play that they weren’t able to score on. It all started with Vatrano scoring the goal and his confidence growing from there in the first game where he appeared to be truly engaged this season. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-3-3 – the Bruins record against Eastern Conference teams this season after dropping both ends of the home-and-home against Toronto. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Around the net they were better than us. So, we’re frustrated, but not...we’re not discouraged. I mean, we’re playing hard, just you go through these lulls where you need to be a little bit better." –Bruce Cassidy, of a Bruins team that’s lost three in a row for the first time all season and lost six of their last eight games. 

McQuaid returns to first B's practice since breaking leg


McQuaid returns to first B's practice since breaking leg

BRIGHTON, Mass – It marks just another step on Adam McQuaid’s eventual return to game action, but it was a big one getting back on the ice with his Bruins teammates on Monday for his first practice since breaking his right fibula on Oct. 19. 

The 31-year-old McQuaid has missed 21 games and counting since blocking a pair of shots in a win over Vancouver that ultimately snapped his right leg. It’s been a long road of rehab and working his way back after a fairly significant surgery, but the light is present at the end of the tunnel now for the rugged, stay-at-home defenseman.

However, it looks like there will be a healthy amount of practice time involved before McQuaid has sufficiently knocked the rust off for game action after missing the last seven weeks. 

“He’s still got a ways to go, so I don’t want to even speculate [on a return date],” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll start to sort the pieces together when he’s truly ready to play, but it’s nice to have him around. He’s a great guy and his teammates all love him.”


Clearly McQuaid has suffered his share of injuries over the years while playing a fearless style of blocking shots, throwing hits and defending his teammates at all costs. Just don’t expect him to change the way he plays after suffering a major injury in that particular line of duty because McQuaid knows exactly what his job description is on the ice. 

“Obviously today was a good step. It was good to be out there with the guys, and hopefully things continue to progress,” said McQuaid, who had an assist and a minus-3 rating in six games this season. “It’s tough. Without sugarcoating it, it was [a tough injury]. But you can’t change the situation. You try to persevere through and be better for it, so hopefully that will be the case with this. I felt good coming into the season, so it was disappointing in that way. But I’m looking to work back to that level now.

“I’ve said to some people that I can choose between getting hurt once in a while and missing some time, or playing a different style and probably not playing at all. I don’t foresee anything changing with me in that way. When you get out there, you just play and get into that mindset where you can’t think about injuries. 

It’s going to be a challenge for Bruins head coach Cassidy to work McQuaid back into the lineup when he is ready to play given the six-man defense corps that’s functioning well these days with rookie puck-mover Matt Grzelcyk in the lineup. Still McQuaid is bullishly strong, a Stanley Cup champ and as good of a teammate as you’ll find when it comes to defending everybody else in a Bruins uniform, so it won’t be too long before he finds his way back into the lineup.  

Cassidy appreciates all of those things in McQuaid’s game since their early days together with the Providence Bruins, and bristles at the notion of his injuries being looked at as a liability in any way. McQuaid has missed an average of 18 games per season over his seven full seasons with the Bruins, but Cassidy sees it as more of a hazard of the particular role he fills on the back end. Not everybody can do what McQuaid does, but it’s absolutely needed on any hockey club that’s going to be successful in the regular season and playoffs. 

“He plays hard every night and he’s a guy that blocks more shots than anybody,” said Cassidy. “Yes, he missed the last seven weeks because he blocked two shots in the same sequence. He puts himself in harm’s way and he’s suffered some injuries because of it. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t want to get into labels…I love the guy. 

“The game needs players like him, and the team needs him if you want to be hard to play against. Guys like that are necessary…I’ve heard that [injury-prone] description and I think it’s unfair because [McQuaid] lays it on the line every night.” 

Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with both Ryan Spooner (lower body) and Noel Acciari (upper body) practicing and uncertain if they can play Wednesday night in Detroit: 
















Morning Skate: Boeser continues to produce for Canucks


Morning Skate: Boeser continues to produce for Canucks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while avoiding all “The Last Jedi” spoilers out there. 


*Brock Boeser continues to score and play well for the Vancouver Canucks despite the extra attention as one of the NHL’s lead rookie players this season. I hate to say it, but this is another one of those players from the second half of the first round in the 2015 NHL Draft. I’ll leave it at that and move on. 


*Alex Burrows fined $5000 for an incident in San Jose, but at least he didn’t bite anybody this time around, right? 


*It must be a slow week if there’s a big think piece about the ritual of using smelling salts right before the drop of the puck in NHL games. 


*There is more speculation about the Ottawa Senators trading Erik Karlsson than ever before in his NHL career, but his thoughts haven’t changed about wanting to win in Ottawa. 


*Good for the Bruins going out and donating some Christmas trees this weekend to the families of service members and veterans in Leominster. 


*It’s been a whopping 44 games since Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has scored a goal, and that’s an almost unthinkable drought considering how much he handles the puck. 


*For something completely different: Wonder Woman is getting snubbed by the Golden Globes, and it’s difficult to understand why.