Bruins center David Krejci (bruised right knee) did not play last night against the Jets, and rookie Ryan Spooner was thrown into the fire. He took Krejci’s spot on the line with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.
And though it was a tough night for the B’s, who squandered a third-period lead and lost, 3-1, Spooner looked comfortable on both sides of the puck. He played 15:29, had two shots and won half of his eight faceoffs. He looked like a kid with an NHL future.
“The nerves weren’t there quite as much as when I played my first game in Montreal,” Spooner said. “I was definitely feeling a lot more easygoing.”
Coach Claude Julien was asked after the morning skate about opting to play Spooner, who leads Providence in scoring with 12 goals and 33 assists, between Lucic and Horton.
“We’re giving him the opportunity, being a real good centerman, to play with some good players,” he said. “He’s a great playmaker, so I think it’s a great opportunity. We’ll see where he goes with it. If it doesn’t work out, we can always make some changes. But we’ve seen him play enough to know he can probably be a good fit there.”
Told of his recall Monday afternoon, the 21-year-old Spooner dealt with flight delays in Boston and Toronto and didn’t arrive in Winnipeg until 3:30 a.m. yesterday. He was looking forward to a nap, and to the chance to play on one of the B’s top lines.
“I’ve never played with players of that skill before,” Spooner said. “I’m excited if I get the chance.”
Spooner was nervous at the start of the AHL season and again when he made his NHL debut in Montreal on Feb. 6. He played only 5:29 in that game, with no points and one shot.
As with many talented youngsters moving up from the junior ranks, Spooner had to improve his play without the puck. He feels he’s done that.
“In junior hockey I guess the knock on me was that I wasn’t good in my own end,” he said. “I’ve really tried to focus on that aspect of my game this year. And for the first time, I’ve been a plus player.”
Spooner fed nice spot between Horton, Lucic
Boston Herald | Mar 20