McQuaid’s mean streak makes him a Bruins mainstay

McQuaid/By S. Bradley

Even when it comes to intra-squad games of “Call of Duty” on Xbox, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid finds it out of his nature to drum up that killer instinct.

“He’s actually awful,” says Bruins teammate and frequent gaming partner Brad Marchand. “He can barely walk around in the game. But he’s getting better; he’s trying to improve.”

If he were to bear down in an effort to take his “Call of Duty” skills to new heights, McQuaid would probably enjoy the same amount of success he has in his hockey career. And he’d eventually find that ability to unleash his inner beast from the couch, just like he has on skates.

By using his 6-foot-5, 209-pound frame to make puck-carriers pay, block shots and, when necessary, unload a few haymakers on an agitating opponent, McQuaid at 24 years old has seemingly secured his grip on a spot among the Bruins’ seven defensemen in his fourth professional season.

His minutes aren’t many (he has averaged just 12:14 of ice time so far) and his contributions on the score sheet are rare (three assists in 23 games), yet he has endeared himself to the Bruins’ fan base and the front office with his brand of basic-but-brutal hockey. He hasn’t thrown many of the type of Johnny Boychuk bone-rattling open-ice hits that make the highlight reels, but opposing forwards still know they have to keep their head up when McQuaid’s on the ice. And McQuaid has managed to maintain an air of physical intimidation without getting caught out of position for an odd-man rush against.

“The thing with that is, you’ve got to pick your spot. You don’t want to run out of position because most times guys have their head up and they’re going to get around you and it’s going to be an odd-man rush,” he says. “So Johnny’s good at picking his spots with that, and if I get my opportunity I’ll look for it. But mostly I’m just trying to play sound positionally.”

McQuaid says he hasn’t regretted many missed opportunities to put the hammer down on an attacking foe, just as he hasn’t regretted the road he has taken to the NHL through the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League over the last several years. It has been a long process for McQuaid, who’s still not satisfied with his standing in the NHL but has made good on every boy’s childhood dream of one day skating in the NHL.

McQuaid/By S. Bradley

Sheep in Wolves clothing

The oldest of three children, McQuaid said there still wasn’t much rough stuff going on in his household growing up. Maybe that’s why when he joined the Sudbury Wolves, his mild-mannered ways not only made him a great guy to be around but held back his development on the ice. However, everyone tries to throw stones at Goliath, and sooner or later the towering McQuaid was going to have to stand up for himself.

“Adam was always blessed with some great size,” Bob Jones, who was an assistant with Sudbury then and is now the head coach for Windsor, told “And I think as a young defenseman playing junior, he didn’t utilize his size like he should. And I think just over the course of coaching him for a few years there, the biggest thing we worked on was making sure you use your physical presence. He was a very good skater, he was big, he could move the puck. The only thing that was really missing was maybe backing some people off with some [toughness]. … We’d say, it’d be good to get in eight or nine fights a year. Not that he’s a fighter. But you’ve still got to get your gloves off eight or nine times and you’ve got to be able to put people on notice that in front of our net there’s no free ice and make people pay for it.”

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