Bruins

McQuaid: "I can't picture not being with [the Bruins]"

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McQuaid: "I can't picture not being with [the Bruins]"

BOSTON – The Bruins face a number of decisions with their free agents, and perhaps the toughest will be upcoming unrestricted free agent Adam McQuaid. 

The B’s already informed Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell on Monday that they wouldn’t be re-signed in Boston, and it’s difficult to see circumstances where a cap-strapped team would be willing to pony up money for Carl Soderberg and Matt Bartkowski. But the 28-year-old had a pretty solid season for the Black and Gold with a goal and seven points in 63 rugged games. He was one of the few players to consistently play with a hard, physical, punishing style. In other words he was one of the few players to actually, consistently play like a Bruin. 

McQuaid made $1.8 million in salary in 2014-15, and had a cap hit of $1.55 while playing a career high of 18:26 of ice time per night. He finished third on the team with 141 registered hits, and third with 91 blocked shots in a season that ranked only behind Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg in numeric ruggedness. If he’s willing to sign for those kinds of numbers to again be a No. 4-5 defenseman for the B’s, then perhaps he can return to Boston despite the presence of the very similarly skilled Kevan Miller. 

Certainly that’s what McQuaid wanted on Monday while packing up his things in the B’s dressing room, but plenty can change between new and the July 1 opening of free agency. 

“Obviously I want to be back. I’ve had so many great memories here with this group and this organization. I guess it goes without saying…I don’t know, I can’t picture not being here,” said McQuaid, who has been a regular with the B’s since 2010-11. “It’s a different situation for me this year with some uncertainty. I guess we’ll see how things play out. My priority, my goal would be to come back here. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not. I guess time will tell. I’ll wait and see if it comes to [hitting free agency], and then obviously you have to go down that avenue. 

“But this is where I want to be. It’s the organization that…they’ve given me so many opportunities, and worked with me. I’ve said before that they’ve stuck with me through some tough times, and there were times that I felt like – there were things I couldn’t control, obviously, with injuries and stuff – but I felt like I wished I could have done more and been available, and I wasn’t. There were times I felt like I hadn’t held up my end of the bargain as far as that stuff is concerned. It wasn’t anything I could necessarily control, so it was hard that way.”

Certainly among the restricted free agents, the Bruins will be re-signing Brett Connolly, Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Spooner with Niklas Svedberg’s status probably still a little bit of a question mark. That doesn’t leave a ton of money for other players if the salary cap ceiling doesn’t rise much for next season based on the dropping Canadian dollar, and the NHLPA potentially once again voting down the escalator that goes hand-in-hand a sizeable escrow deposit from the players. 

The Bruins already have roughly $59 million committed for next season with a cap ceiling that might not be much more than $70 million, and that doesn’t leave much room at all for anything beyond re-signing the RFA’s and bringing in another player or two fill out the roster. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli certainly wasn’t avoiding the tough questions on Monday, but it didn’t sound like there was much of an offseason game plan on the shocking heels of missing the playoffs cut. 

“It’s a challenge every year to keep good players, and that challenge will exist this year also. So it’s a challenge to do that and not ignore your loyalty to players who have given you real good years of service, and a Cup, and a final, and all that stuff,” said Chiarelli. “That’s a challenge. But every team has their own challenges in team building, and we’re no different. We’ll be facing a number of those [challenges] this summer too, this spring and summer.”

While it might not be viewed as a make-or-break decision for this roster and could become moot if another team looking for more toughness throws a bigger contract at McQuaid, the tough, endearingly humble defenseman should give the B’s front office plenty of pause before potentially considering moving on from him.

David Pastrnak on injury: "Could I have avoided it? I wish [I had]"

David Pastrnak on injury: "Could I have avoided it? I wish [I had]"

BRIGHTON, Mass – David Pastrnak had a mile wide smile on his face at the thought of getting back on the ice with his teammates and playing games after missing the last five weeks with a left thumb. The 22-year-old is excited to knock the rust off and get back to the midseason form that had him post 31 goals and 66 points in 56 games, and saw him on a pace for 50 goals and 100 points prior to falling on his left hand back in early February.

“It’s a lot of fun being back on the ice with the guys. It’s been a few weeks [out of the lineup] so you kind of recognize that these guys are your friends and family, so it’s obviously feeling really good to be back,” said Pastrnak, who joked that he might not have been hurt a few years ago had he fallen on his left hand when he was 160 pounds instead of the 190 pounds he’s weighing in at these days. “Obviously these things happen in life and you just try to take advantage of it as a person and a player.

“Last year I was fortunate enough to be healthy all year, so it was really tough the first few weeks [after the thumb injury]. It feels good now. I’m taking shots and one-timers with no pain, so I’m happy to be moving forward.”

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But the young Bruins star also voiced tones of accountability and perhaps even remorse as he recounted the late Sunday night fall that led to the off-ice injury and the 16 games and counting that he’s missed as a result of it. The hope is that Pastrnak might even be able to play on Tuesday night against the Islanders while wearing a protective splint on his left hand, and he will be manning the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand when that does happen.

“Obviously I let the guys down a bit. It’s a tough time. It’s not an injury that happened on the ice, so I took full responsibility for that. That’s what hurt me most. Could I have avoided it? I wish [that I had]. But obviously things happen. The fact that I could let somebody down, I definitely hate that. The first couple of weeks were tough.”

Now Pastrnak has roughly three weeks to get ready for the postseason and get back into top scoring form, and that’s the most important thing for both the player and the team now that he’s over the injury hump and ready to return. 

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Brad Marchand trolls Torey Krug in St. Patrick's Day themed Instagram post

Brad Marchand trolls Torey Krug in St. Patrick's Day themed Instagram post

It's been abundantly clear this season that, when healthy, the Boston Bruins have great chemistry. And it's easy to see why. This bunch of guys just seems to connect, and there's no better example of this than Brad Marchand and Torey Krug.

For the better part of the last few weeks, Marchand and Krug have been involved in a social media "feud" with one another. The posts have mostly made fun of one another for their stature or likeability, and they even tried to drag Patrice Bergeron into it at one point. And now, the battle has escalated yet again.

On St. Patrick's Day, Marchand took the time to post this hilarious image of Krug on Instagram.

Keep in mind, this is the same Instagram that Marchand launched with poking fun at Krug on his mind. His second post featured a well-captioned picture of Krug and did a lot to continue the "feud," which has largely been the two players making fun of each other's smaller statures. And obviously, this holiday-themed leprechaun post is continuing that theme.

As the season goes on, it will be interesting to see what heights these two go to in order to troll one another. Right now, they're both putting out some quality entertainment off the ice and on the ice (though Krug is still recovering from a concussion).

The Bruins suit up on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Last time out, the Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak in their 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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