By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Adam McQuaid is never going to see his No. 54 raised to the TD Garden rafters like 2011 brethren Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara most definitely will when the time comes.
But there’s no denying the impact the bruising defenseman out of Prince Edward Island made throughout the era of Boston Bruins hockey that saw the team return to relevancy in both the Boston sports scene and in the NHL. The epitome of ‘Bruins Hockey’ with a team-first attitude that made him prone to fisticuffs and board-rattling bodychecks, McQuaid’s gritty style over a nine-season run with the Bruins — one that included countless postseason runs and his presence as a key piece of a team style that at one point became copycatted — was enough to earn him a legion of fans for life.
Traded out of town on Tuesday in what was a cap-clearing move by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, though, McQuaid leaves behind a Boston legacy that includes 13 goals, 66 points, and 652 minutes in penalties in 462 games in a B’s sweater.
And while those 462 games played are the 52nd-m0st by any Bruins player (impressive considering the considerably long list of games McQuaid missed due to injury), McQuaid was known for much more than those ‘basic’ totals.
His 871 hits are the third-most among Bruins since the start of the 2007-08 season (only Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara are above him), same for his 746 blocked shots (only Chara and Dennis Seidenberg have more). And his 56 major penalties rank as the second-most among all Bruins since 2007, tied with Lucic, and 46 behind enforcer Shawn Thornton’s 102.
Oh, and he won a Stanley Cup ring while actively sporting a mullet, which is just downright impressive.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, but let’s get nostalgic (already?) with the top five fights and moments of McQuaid’s Boston run.
5. Adam McQuaid vs. Raffi Torres (Dec. 28, 2011)
If there’s one thing Adam McQuaid was known for during his time with the Bruins, it was his on-ice accountability as a teammate. You were never going to do anything even remotely cheap to a Boston skater and get away with it if McQuaid was on the ice. Hell, sometimes he didn’t even need to be on the ice for payback to come, so long as he saw it from the B’s bench.
Then-Coyotes winger Raffi Torres learned this when he tried to get away with a cheap elbow against Andrew Ference in 2011.
Torres, who would go down as one of the biggest dirtbags to play professional hockey in the 21st century, was ultimately pounded into oblivion as McQuaid took advantage of a size advantage, and needed some stitches for his trouble.
4. Adam McQuaid vs. Brian Sutherby (Feb. 3, 2011)
In the start to a seemingly meaningless February head-to-head with the Dallas Stars in 2011, Gregory Campbell and Steve Ott dropped the mitts one second into the game. Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch followed that up with a fight two seconds later. And sure enough, McQuaid got in on the fun, too, with a fight with the Stars’ Brian Sutherby just one second after that.
Riding the momentum of those back-to-back-to-back fights, the Bruins scored two goals on their first shots and chased Andrew Raycroft from the net with the former Bruin recording a grand total of zero saves in the effort. The B’s won by a 6-3 final.
McQuaid’s night wasn’t done after that fight, though, as he would actually come through and score a goal in this game, too! (Unfortunately for McQuaid, however, the goal was ultimately called back for reasons that presently escape my aging brain.)
More importantly, this was just another of those games that you looked back on as somewhat defining for the 2011 Bruins, as they won this game — and 17 of their last 31 overall — before entering the playoffs as a favorable No. 3 seed.
You know that one ended, of course.
3. Adam McQuaid vs. Derek Grant (Jan. 12, 2017)
A word to the wise: Don’t challenge Adam McQuaid unless you can legitimately throw hands.
Interesting tidbit: This was around the start of referees straight-up not letting McQuaid fight because he would just obliterate people at will. This drove then-coach Claude Julien absolutely bananas, as he felt that his defender wasn’t going to be allowed to defend himself if such a strategy became the referee’s norm for any post-whistle incident involving McQuaid.
2. Adam McQuaid vs. Matt Martin (Feb. 4, 2017)
Before this became known as Julien’s final game as the Black and Gold’s head coach, this game featured what most would consider to be the Heavyweight Bout of the 2017 Year, as McQuaid and Matt Martin dropped the gloves at center ice.
Bomb after bomb, man.
1. McQuaid sends Bruins to 2013 Stanley Cup Final (June 7, 2013)
In search of the game’s first goal in the third period of a decisive Game 4 in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, an anxious TD Garden waited for a Boston hero to emerge. Knowing history was on their side in this building under such circumstances — the Bruins were just two years removed from Nathan Horton playing the hero in a 1-0 Game 7 final in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals in the very same building — the Garden crowd waited with bated breath with each and every shift up ice.
Enter… Adam McQuaid?
Catching the Penguins in the midst of a weak change, Brad Marchand found a streaking McQuaid entering the attacking zone. Without even the slightest hesitation, McQuaid teed one up and blasted it through the Pens’ Tomas Vokoun.
The goal would indeed hold up as the game’s lone tally, pushing the Bruins to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.
And though the Bruins would ultimately fall to the Blackhawks in six games in the Final, it was more than entertaining to see McQuaid — a man that took every shot off his body to keep pucks out of the net — get the glory of a series-deciding goal.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.