Couple of thoughts on a couple of things:
— Adam McQuaid was a skinny 20-year-old when he arrived in Providence for his first pro season in 2007.
He was miles away from being ready to play in the NHL, but more than willing to put in the work to get there. I remember him staying on the ice after practice to work on his pivots.
McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk eventually developed into coach Rob Murray’s shutdown pairing. Word that he was a fearsome fighter spread fast after he fractured the jaws of a couple of opponents.
You couldn’t help but like the way he played and the way he carried himself – humble, all about the team. He very quickly turned into one of my favorite players, the kind of kid you root for.
In December of McQuaid’s third season in the AHL he got the call from Boston. He played his first NHL game on Dec. 19, 2009 in Toronto and took on Troy Bodie in his first NHL fight in Anaheim on Jan. 13.
He scored his first NHL goal in an afternoon game in Montreal on Feb. 7 – Super Bowl Sunday – beating Jaroslav Halak for Boston’s first goal in a 3-0 victory. The win broke a 10-game Boston winless streak.
A couple of weeks later, he was sent back to Providence during the Olympic break. I talked to him at the 146 rink one day after practice, and I’ll never forget the proud smile on his face as he talked about the goal and his first few weeks in “The Show.’’
“I was shooting for a tip and it went off one of the guys, so it was a pleasant surprise,’’ said McQuaid, the ultimate team player throughout his eight seasons in Boston.
I flashed back to that conversation – and the smile on McQuaid’s face — on Tuesday when I heard he’d been traded to the Rangers.
Business is business, and it made sense for GM Don Sweeney to make the deal. But, man, it’s tough to see McQuaid go.
— The acquisition of Steve Kampfer from the Rangers in the McQuaid deal adds to an already crowded Providence Bruins blue line.
I count 10 defensemen who could be Providence bound: Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Emil Johansson, Connor Clifton, Chris Breen, Cody Goloubef, Wiley Sherman, Olivier Galipeau.
Galipeau looks like a good bet to end up in Atlanta, but that still leaves a crowd and some potentially tough decisions.
— Providence College’s Brian Pinho scored a goal for the Washington Capitals against Nashville in a rookie tournament this week. The Caps play the Bruins in Boston on Saturday afternoon. While Pinho is expected to spend the season in Hershey, it would be great if he got a chance to play in his hometown before being sent down.
— I stopped over at Schneider Arena to watch Providence College practice on Wednesday. With a strong freshman class led by Flyers’ first round Jay O’Brien, the Friars look faster, bigger and deeper this season. Looks like the good times will continue to roll.
— Jacob Bryson is poised for another big year for the Friars. He does it all for Nate Leaman’s team. His retrievals and breakouts are terrific, he plays against top lines, runs the power play and kills penalties.
— Got my first in-person look at Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin over the weekend. Wow, is he good. Long-suffering Sabres fans are in for a treat.
— Thirty-nine years ago today, Bobby Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame less than a year after his final game. Borrowing a phrase from that old Hall of Famer, St. Thomas Aquinas, if you saw him play, no explanation is necessary. If you didn’t, no explanation is possible.