|07.15.15 at 3:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins prospects took the ice for the second day of development camp Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, with the injured Joonas Kemppainen (hamstring) still not participating.
Here are some notes from the second day of the four-day camp:
– Joonas Kemppainen said he suffered his hamstring injury while training last Monday. The 27-year-old Swedish import does not speak English well, but he articulated his frustration with being kept off the ice well enough.
Said Kemmpainen: “It sucks to do some rehab work, but I hope to [have] a quick recovery.”
It’s still possible that Kemppainen could get on the ice Thursday or Friday.
– Providence College coach Nate Leaman was among the instructors on the ice Wednesday. The coach of the national champions is familiar with at least two players in camp in forwards Noel Acciari and Brandon Tanev, both of whom played for him last season. Acciari signed with the Bruins as a free agent, while Tanev is in camp on an invite basis.
– Fifteenth overall pick Zach Senyshyn showed off his skill set a bit more Wednesday, beating defenseman Jeremy Lauzon in a 1-on-1 drill and sliding the puck past third-round pick Daniel Vladar from a tough angle.
– Defenseman Max Iafrate is an interesting kid. While he too has a very hard shot, he doesn’t have much in common with his father, Al Iafrate, regarding their paths to the NHL.
Al, a longtime NHL defenseman who played for the Bruins when Max was born back in 1994, was the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft. Max, meanwhile, went undrafted and had been in three different development camps (Washington, San Jose and Colorado) prior to signing his first professional contract this summer with the Bruins.
“I’m a 21-year-old on an AHL contract,” he said. “There’s tons of different ways to get there, but [Al] got there pretty easy. He was in the NHL when he was 18. He didn’t really face anything that I’ve had to face.”
The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder will play in Providence next season, where the Bruins hope he will follow Kevan Miller as an unheralded player who developed into an NHL contributor.
“I think any defenseman that goes into Providence is going to learn a lot quickly,” Jay Pandolfo said. “Bruce Cassidy and Kevin Dean do an unreal job down there. I played a long time, and going down there this year, I learned a ton from those guys.”
– P.J. Axelsson, a Bruins scout who is serving as an instructor this week, is enjoying his new profession. Axelsson, who played his entire NHL career with the Bruins before playing four seasons back home in Sweden, admits he’s still getting used to being a scout.
“So far, I love it,” Axelsson said. “I’m still learning, obviously; I’ve only been doing it for two years, but it’s fun.”
|07.14.15 at 3:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins held their first day of on-ice work as the ninth annual development camp got underway Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena. The camp, which is headlined by goaltender Zane McIntyre and Boston’s trio of first-round picks from last month’s draft, will run until Friday.
Here are some notes from Tuesday, which featured two different groups that took the ice two times apiece in addition to off-ice testing:
– Absent from the sessions was Joonas Kemppainen, a 27-year-old center from Finland who was signed this summer. Development coach Jay Pandolfo said that Kemppainen suffered a hamstring injury in recent weeks, but could be on the ice later in camp. Kemppainen is on a two-way contract and could potentially contend for a spot in Boston this season.
– After the on-ice sessions, Pandolfo reiterated what we already knew: None of this year’s draft picks will be in the NHL this season.
Said Pandolfo: “I don’t think we’re expecting to see another [David] Pastrnak here, so we’ve got to make sure we’re patient with those guys.”
– McIntyre is here for the sixth consecutive year, making him the most frequent attendee in the camp’s history. The 2010 sixth-round pick was a project when he was drafted, but he comes to New England this season as one of the best goaltending prospects in hockey. The 22-year-old signed with Boston this offseason, but could have opted to become a free agent and sign elsewhere. Check back later for a piece on his decision to sign with the B’s.
McIntyre was joined by 2015 third-round pick Daniel Vladar and Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig.
– It’s early for real impressions to be made, but Jake DeBrusk stood out the most among the Bruins’ three first-round picks based solely on his size. Listed at 6-foot-0 and 174 pounds, DeBrusk looks a bit bigger and thicker. Pandolfo said the 18-year-old is not done growing, so he could be a powerful player down the road.
“He plays hard. … He’s still got plenty of room to put on weight, but he was a little taller than I thought, too,” Pandolfo said. “If he can keep gaining some weight and add size, it’s going to help us for sure.”
– Former Bruins forward and current Bruins scout P.J. Axelsson served as a coach for Tuesday’s sessions. As a responsible forward who hails from Sweden, he would figure to be a good influence on 2015 second-round pick Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.
Other coaches included Bruins assistants coach Joe Sacco and Doug Jarvis, goalie coach Bob Essensa, Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy, Providence assistant coach Kevin Dean and skating coach Kim Brandvold.
– Miami University center Sean Kuraly, whom Boston acquired from the Sharks in the Martin Jones trade, is among the attendees. Pandolfo said after the on-ice sessions that Kuraly “fits the mold of a Bruin.”
– Pandolfo isn’t wild about spending much of the camp scrimmaging, though he did say he’s thinking about potentially having a 4-on-4 scrimmage on Friday. That would provide some of the stronger skaters an opportunity to showcase their attributes.
|07.13.15 at 12:51 pm ET|
Former Bruin and current Panthers forward Shawn Thornton joined Middays with MFB on Monday from the Red Sox Foundation charity golf tournament at Belmont Country Club to discuss his time with the B’s and his opinion on the NHL‘s new rules on fighting. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Thornton discussed how the Bruins fan base motivated him and why he continues to call Boston home.
“I love the passion,” Thornton said. “I’ve always tried to self-motivate. If you’re a professional, you should show up to work either way. I didn’t miss the winter, I miss the fans, I miss the city and I’m back here for the summer. … This is still home and I love it here.”
When asked about the tendency of teams in the NHL to move toward smaller, skilled lineups as opposed to the roster construction of the Big Bad Bruins, Thornton maintained his faith in the success of physical teams.
“I don’t really pay attention to a lot of what’s said,” Thornton said, “but I saw, I think it was somebody in LA, the assistant GM or something, people were asking him sort of the same type of question, I think. … He said, ‘We take a step back and look, are we a team that made the playoffs this year or are we a team that’s contended in the last five years? And we’ve answered yourself as being closer to a team that’s contended in the last five years.’ They brought in [Milan Lucic], they kind of still play the big, bad — I mean, when you play against LA, you’re in one. It’s physical, they keep coming and coming and coming. And they went to the finals whatever, four times, however many times.
“Listen, we in Boston lost to Montreal and it was Armageddon, and people said, ‘You can’t win running people over anymore, you’ve got to be small and skilled.’ They forgot, LA won that year with the biggest, baddest team in the league. But it all got forgotten because we lost.”
|07.10.15 at 10:54 am ET|
The Bruins have signed defenseman Matt Irwin to a one-year deal worth $800,000, the team announced Friday.
The 27-year-old Irwin has spent the last three seasons with the San Jose Sharks and registered eight goals and 11 assists in 53 games last year while playing 17:01 per game. Irwin, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, played two years of college hockey at UMass from 2008-2010.
The strength of Irwin’s game is his offense, as he likes to jump into the rush and has a good shot. He has generally been pretty sheltered in terms of usage and has seen his CorsiRel go from a stellar plus-3.9 in 2012-13 to a not-so-stellar minus-4.0 in 2013-14 before settling in the middle at an even 0.0 in 2014-15, according to war-on-ice.com.
Irwin adds to a logjam of Bruins defensemen who would ideally be suited for a third-pairing role, but he probably won’t be the top-four solution they need unless the defensive side of his game really improves.
Still, he should be able to push for playing time, especially if the Bruins want someone who can bring more puck-moving and offensive skill than Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller.
|07.09.15 at 2:39 pm ET|
New Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes joined Middays with MFB on Thursday afternoon to talk about coming home to Boston and how he’ll fit in with the B’s. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Hayes was traded from the Panthers to the Bruins on July 1 as return for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract. As a native of Dorchester, the trade and subsequent signing served as a kind of homecoming for the 25-year-old.
“I was down on Cape Cod with six of my best buddies,” he said. “It was pretty cool, I got a phone call and turned around and told them I got traded to Boston, everyone’s high-fiving. It was just a really cool feeling to be around friends and family, to get traded back to your hometown.”
One of those with him during the call was his brother, Kevin, who played alongside Jimmy at Boston College and now suits up for the Rangers. This past season marked the first time that the brothers ever played on opposing sides of the ice as they grew up playing with one another.
“He was laughing,” Jimmy said. “He didn’t see it coming … he’s in a great situation right now with New York, but it was just funny because we both dreamed of playing for the Bruins as kids, and now for me to finally be able to do it on a nightly basis is going to be incredible.”
Initially drafted by the Maple Leafs in Round 2 of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft prior to his first season at BC, Hayes was then traded to the Blackhawks in June of 2010 in exchange for a second-round pick in that year’s draft. In 2013, the 6-foot-6 forward was part of a deal sending him and defenseman Dylan Olsen to Florida for Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre. Now he’s back in Boston.
|07.08.15 at 7:58 pm ET|
The Bruins announced the roster for next week’s development camp on Wednesday. The group of prospects is headlined by the team’s trio of first-round picks from last month’s draft, as well as development camp mainstay Zane McIntyre.
The roster is as follows:
Forwards: Noel Acciari, Jack Becker, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Frank Dichiara, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Colton Hargrove, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Cameron Hughes, Alex Iafallo, Joonas Kemppainen, Sean Kuraly, Andrew Poturalski, Zachary Senyshyn, Brandon Tanev, Frank Vatrano, Mike Vecchione
Defensemen: Matt Benning, Brandon Carlo, Brien Diffley, Zach Frye, Mark Hamilton, Max Iafrate, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Michael Garteig, Zane McIntyre, Daniel Vladar
Dichiara, Iafallo, Poturalski, Tanev, Vecchione, Diffley, Frye, Hamilton and Garteig will attend the camp on an invite basis.
The annual prospect camp, now in its ninth year, will begin Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.
|07.07.15 at 5:32 pm ET|
New Bruins Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes met with the press at TD Garden Tuesday. Both players come to Boston with the pressure of improving an offense that struggled last season, but the duo embrace the idea of playing in Boston.
For Hayes, it’s a return home. The Dorchester native is on his fourth organization at just 25 years of age, but it’s the organization he’s long wanted to call his employer.
“This has been a dream come true for me,” Hayes said. “To be able to come home to my hometown and my family and be able to have this opportunity to win another championship for this city is a dream come true.”
The 6-foot-6 right wing is coming off a 2014-15 season in which he scored a career-high 19 goals for the Panthers. Upon being traded to the B’s last week for Reilly Smith, Hayes inked a three-year contract extension with a $2.3 million average annual value.
Even richer is Beleskey, who took a five-year contract worth $19 million (an AAV of $3.8 million) on the first day of free agency. The trade of Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract for Hayes’ rights gave the B’s financial flexibility to sign the player with some breathing room against the salary cap’s $71.4 million upper limit.
Beleskey is the most notable player the B’s have added in an offseason that has seen Dougie Hamilton (Flames) and Milan Lucic (Kings) depart. Beleskey figures to replace Lucic on David Krejci‘s left wing, but he says he’ll play wherever coach Claude Julien feels is appropriate.
“I’m going to play my same game: be a power forward, get in on the forecheck and go to the net hard,” Beleskey said. “That’s what I’m going to do, and if he sees me play wherever, it doesn’t really matter. I’m going to do what he needs me to do, and he’ll put me where he thinks I belong.”
The 27-year-old Beleskey hopes to build on the first 20-goal season of his career. Asked whether the vacancy in Boston’s top six (and thus opportunity to skate with Krejci or Patrice Bergeron) made the B’s an attractive destination, he said Boston would be an ideal landing spot regardless of the roster.
“It’s the Boston Bruins. It’s an extremely attractive place to be,” he said. “I looked at their team, and I talked with my agent, my family, and it’s always been a place I’ve liked.”
One pressure that Beleskey won’t face is that of playing in his hometown. The Windsor, Ontario native is far from home, whereas Hayes now has the opportunity ‘ and potential burden ‘ of playing in front of friends and family.
Hayes says he hasn’t gotten ticket requests just yet, but given that his father is a ticket broker, that might work out well for his family.
“I’ll leave that one for my dad,” Hayes said with a grin. “Keep his ticket business going in a little bit.”