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Huge improvement for McQuaid this season

BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW [email protected] It's the second period of a Sudbury Wolves game and the action is about to pick up with an intense bodycheck, but not too many people will notice.

It's the second period of a Sudbury Wolves game and the action is about to pick up with an intense bodycheck, but not too many people will notice.
An opposing player is cruising down the boards looking to fire a puck into the Wolves' net.

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NHL scouts are drooling over the talents of second-year Sudbury Wolves defender Adam McQuaid.
As he winds up to shoot, a looming shadow swoops in on the attacking player.

In one aggressive, yet, smooth and controlled move, Wolves defenceman Adam McQuaid smashes his six-foot-four, 200-pound frame into the player, sending him haplessly out of the play.

McQuaid then quickly joins his teammates for a rush to the other end of the ice.

It's just another routine play for McQuaid, and one of the main reasons professional scouts are drooling when it comes to analyzing the rugged, yet disciplined game of the rangy defenceman.

McQuaid, 18, has been a solid contributor to the Wolves this season by keeping things tidy in his own zone, and chipping in occasional, but much-needed offence.

McQuaid leads the Wolves in plus/minus with a plus-25. That places him in the top dozen players in the OHL and among the top defenders in the OHL.

Last season, McQuaid played 47 games, and produced three goals, nine points, 25 penalty minutes and a minus three rating. This year, McQuaid has three goals and 19 points in 58 games. He has also added some fiery grit as he has accumulated 82 penalty minutes so far this season.

For McQuaid, the answer to his steady play during his sophomore season comes from a burning internal desire to be the best he can be.

"I really want to work on my consistency," said McQuaid. "Last year, I felt I had too much of an up-and-down season. This year, I really focused and worked hard on showing up to play well every night. I came back prepared and was ready for the rigours of practicing and playing everyday. I am more mentally prepared for the season."

Wolves head coach and GM Mike Foligno sees a nifty package in McQuaid that can only get better.

"We asked him to bring a better intensity to the game this season,"said Foligno. "He's done a good job of that. He's an in-your-face type of player, yet he's very disciplined in the way he takes people out. He's really a good defensive position player. I also think his attitude is a lot more positive than last year.

"He's done a tremendous job for us. He has opened a lot of scout's eyes, who are saying boy-oh-boy this guy plays hard every game and is still growing. The best is yet to come from Adam. He's one of our leaders on the blue line, and we can play him against anybody and know he will do a good job."

McQuaid also answered any doubts about his toughness earlier this year when he took a violent cross-check to the mouth courtesy of Mississauga's Dan Carcillo. this left him with smashed teeth and numerous cuts, yet McQuaid never missed one game.

McQuaid likes to keep things simple.

"I am mainly a defensive defenceman," said McQuaid. "I like to work on all my skills. I don't just want to be a defensive defenceman. I focus on trying to shut down the other team's top lines. I don't want to get scored against. I want to show I can be a consistent player and help my team out on a daily basis and become a better all-around player."

Even though it's his NHL Draft year, McQuaid isn't letting the lockout damper his spirits.

"It doesn't weigh on my mind. Not at all," said McQuaid. "Whenever there's a new collective bargaining agreement, there will be a draft and we will see what happens."

The scouts are watching McQuaid with eagle eyes.

"Along with an increase in size and strength, has come a sense of confidence and poise," said Marc Seidel, chief scout for International Scouting
Services. "Although McQuaid will never be an offensive force, his decision-making is solid and his skating is strong enough that ISS feels he will be
a solid NHL player for years."


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