WILMINGTON, Mass. — Young professional athletes undergo ups and downs during the early stages of their careers. Few know that better than Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner.
The young forward was playing Xbox on Monday night when he got the call that he once again had been recalled by the big club. The 22-year-old was on the ice Tuesday morning at Ristuccia Arena in what’s the latest development in a weird season for Spooner.
Spooner is quite familiar with this installment of the Bruins. He’s already played 22 games this season at the highest level, as he was recalled after Chris Kelly suffered a leg injury in December. At times, Spooner was as good as advertised. His blinding speed gave teams fits, and his play-making ability was evident with his 11 assists. He didn’t find the back of the net, but it wasn’t for a lack of chances.
But at other times, Spooner’s lack of experience exposed him as a player. He also was outworked by bigger and stronger players at times. Things really got dicey when he fell victim to the flu bug. He was sent back to Providence in late January and continued to battle illness, which was a big reason for a sharp drop in production.
“I think I had three points in the month of February,” Spooner said after practice Tuesday. “I wasn’t playing well and was getting really down on myself. I just tried to kind of get through that. In the last month, I thought I played a lot better.”
Once he finally got healthy and started to put weight back on — he had dropped about 10 pounds — Spooner started to find his game again. In what’s probably far from a coincidence, the P-Bruins have worked their way back into playoff contention. At the time of the call-up, Spooner had registered 40 points in 42 games with the Baby B’s, no small feat given his lackluster February. Providence also currently holds the seventh spot in the AHL’s Eastern Conference standings.
In addition to learning more about health and nutrition, Spooner has had to learn about dealing with the highs and lows of a season.
“For someone like myself, I kind of go up and down a lot,” Spooner admitted. “So for right now, I’ve got to just kind of focus on just playing your best at all times.”
It’s unclear what the Bruins’ plan for Spooner is after this most recent call-up. He’ll travel with the team to Detroit for Wednesday’s game and could play. That depends on what happens with Carl Soderberg (his wife is expected to go into labor soon) or David Krejci, who is dealing with a sore throat.
Even if Spooner doesn’t crack the lineup, he certainly seems like a candidate to be called up and travel with the team as one of the Black Aces during the playoffs. Regardless, there’s still plenty for Spooner to sink his teeth into as his roller-coaster season nears the end.