“I have some experience now in the league, been through some highs and some lows, as a team and as an individual, I hope to be a guy (younger) players feel comfortable with, to come ask questions on ice or off ice.” McQuaid 9/15/17
Adam McQuaid has been a Bruin since the 2009-10 season, making him one of the longest tenured Bruins, and one of only six holdovers from the 2011 Cup run. The soft spoken defenseman from Prince Edward Island plays a game more reminiscent of seasons gone past than the style of today’s offensive minded star defensemen. For better or worse, he is an often under the radar player for many fans, especially in a league that is increasingly looking for offense from their defensemen. However, don’t let the lack of big offensive numbers or a letter on his jersey dissuade you from appreciating him as a leader for this year’s young Bruins team, he just prefers to let his play on the ice, and his character off the ice do the talking.
“It doesn’t have to be a huge, teaching you game changing moves, a lot of it is just making them feel comfortable in a new city or a new team. It can be a big step, a big change to your life,” McQuaid said. “We all want to hold each other accountable, so there’s times where you have to be able to do that, and be able to have real conversations with one another but make sure it’s coming from a good place and your able to have the other conversations away from hockey that are more personal, so you can really build that relationship. I know I still cherish some of the times I had with some of the older guys, how important they were to me and my development, and again it wasn’t always big name guys.”
At the start of camp, Bruins GM Don Sweeney was effusive in his praise of McQuaid, discussing the efforts he puts into adapting in a changing landscape and under a new head coach for the first time going into his 9th NHL season. In a time period where fantasy sports and offensive highlights dominate the hockey fanscape, the 30-year-old continues to play to his strengths, even as he works at new skills as the coaching staff preaches pace to start the season. While he will still be relied upon to cover for more offensive minded players like Torey Krug, he cannot just rely on his stay at home technique to promise him ice time. He knows that regardless of the pairing, he will be expected to work the puck forward and improve on his zone entries, as will the rest of the Bruins defense corp. It’s a challenge he embraces.
McQuaid said, “Any time we are able to push the pace and get up the ice the options offensively, but also get up so you have better gaps in case of turnovers. It’s something we will work on.”
While his style of play doesn’t always endear him to every fan, it’s important to remember his conservative style allows his partner to take more calculated risks, join in on the rush and as a result, post larger stats. His style plays as important a role on the ice, as it does off it, even as he works to add more to his repertoire. Whether it is being the first player in Black and Gold to stand up for a teammate on the ice, or simply making himself more approachable to younger players as they find their way in the league, McQuaid prefers to let his actions speak for him.
“It’s how you carry yourself, how you act on the ice, show that your engaged and that you care about your teammates.”
The next time you watch a game, take a minute to observe how McQuaid carries himself. You won't find a player quicker to stand up for his teammates or quicker to give another teammate a word of encouragement. With or without a letter, McQuaid represents what fans and coaches alike want in a hockey player, selfless, hardworking and eager to improve even as he approaches a decade in the NHL.