Troy Wotherspoon had to ditch the fan gear.
The lifelong Canucks fan — he still has season tickets — had to start pulling for the Bruins once his son, Parker, pulled on the spoked-B for the first time.
“Yeah, I don’t think he’s thrown on the Canucks jersey in a while,” Parker said, before the Bruins shut out Western Conference-leading Vancouver, 4-0, Thursday night at TD Garden. “He’s definitely been a fan of mine, and my brother [Tyler is] in Utica as well [playing for the Devils’ AHL team] so he just kind of follows us. I don’t think he’s a huge fan of them anymore.”
Parker, a native of Surrey, British Columbia, is very well-versed in the Bruins-Canucks rivalry. As a 14-year-old, he attended Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, won by Boston. He has vivid memories of that Cup clincher.
“Yeah, that was tough. It was weird. I remember when Boston scored the first goal, just the air went out of the building and we knew it was over,” the defenseman said. “It was a tough one, yeah. Obviously, it hurt a lot as a kid.”
He couldn’t help but to think back on those days when he signed with the Bruins as a free agent last July 1 and then slipped into a Boston sweater for the first time.
“It was super special. Obviously, such a storied franchise and there was a little thinking about that for sure, growing up as the opposite, but it was such a great moment for me,” said Wotherspoon, who counted twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ed Jovanovski, Dan Hamhuis, and Kevin Bieksa among his favorite Canucks back in the day.
Wotherspoon, who entered the season with just 12 NHL games on his resume, played in his 21st game of the season Thursday night, paired with Derek Forbort. He’s added some toughness and grit to the backline corps and has chipped in with three assists.
Poitras’s healthy future at play
The decision to shelve rookie Matt Poitras this week was done with an eye toward the future, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.
With a five-month recovery period expected following shoulder surgery, the forward is expected back for training camp. If he had played through the injury and the Bruins played well into the spring, he might not be ready until October or November.
“There was a lot of discussion about what was best for Matty Poitras. I think in the end [general manager] Donny [Sweeney] and I talked with Matty and then Donny and Matty talked with his family and the people that advise him, and everyone was on the same page that this is what would be best for him moving forward cause he’s 19,” Montgomery said. “He’s going to have the full summer to prepare for next year. If we waited, then the summer gets compromised.”
Poitras played in 33 games, collecting five goals and 15 points. He also played for Canada in the World Junior Championships after Christmas.
Montgomery said Poitras grew in a lot of areas in his first pro experience and knows what the future holds as well.
“He knows he can have success in the league, he knows his brains, his skill level, all that, and he knows the areas that he needs to grow in in order to get that man strength to also get the stamina required to be a player that we don’t have to do the maintenance with so that he can play full-time next year,” Montgomery said, “because he is a big piece of what we’re going to be doing moving forward.”
It’s all about those hugs
Jeremy Swayman loves to hug it out, so it was no surprise he offered embraces to several fellow All-Star goalies prior to the Skills Competition a week ago in Toronto. In a since gone-viral video, the Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck and Jake Oettinger of the Stars took Swayman up on a hug, but the Canucks’ Thatcher Demko walked on by, leaving Swayman a bit flabbergasted and open-armed until Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers jumped in for one.
At first it seemed like a major league snub by Demko, but Swayman said it was more a case of the former Boston College standout being locked in.
“He came up the next day and was like, ‘Sway, I’m so sorry about that,’ " Swayman said. “He just didn’t see [me] I guess. I was laughing like, ‘Totally cool. There’s still love.’ He’s a good guy.”
Negative thoughts abound
Rough night for Vancouver’s six-pack of All-Stars. Demko had his nine-game winning streak snapped, while the skaters were all in negative numbers: Elias Lindholm (minus-4), Elias Pettersson (minus-4), J.T. Miller (minus-2), Quinn Hughes (minus-2), and Brock Boeser (minus-2) … With an open roster spot, the Bruins recalled forward Anthony Richard, who has 19 goals and 38 points in 41 games with AHL Providence this season. Richard, wearing No. 90, took the pregame skate but did not play … Kevin Shattenkirk was the healthy scratch on defense … Coach Rick Tocchet and assistant Sergei Gonchar give the Canucks a pair of former Bruins on staff … Song of the night: “Here Comes the Hotstepper,” by Ini Kamoze … The Bruins will practice Friday and host the Capitals Saturday afternoon.