|09.05.13 at 2:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins center Gregory Campbell skated with teammates Thursday at Ristuccia Arena, a highly encouraging sign for the team with the start of the regular season a little less than a month away.
Campbell broke his leg blocking an Evgeni Malkin slap shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins, famously getting up and finishing his shift despite the break. He underwent surgery on June 10 and spent the offseason recovering.
Campbell did not seem limited on the ice Thursday, skating and shooting without any apparent problems.
The other newcomer to captains practices Thursday was forward Jordan Caron, who figures to compete for a bottom-six job this season.
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|09.04.13 at 9:39 pm ET|
Milan Lucic was very careful to not knock Jarome Iginla‘s decision to choose the Penguins over the Bruins last season, and in doing so he prevented some potential awkwardness between linemates.
Lucic, one of the bigger NHL fans among NHL players, has long respected Iginla, and he has every reason to. As one of the premier power forwards in recent history with 530 NHL goals, Iginla is not only a logical linemate for Lucic, but the type of player a young star like Lucic can look up to.
That isn’t to say there wasn’t some surprise on Lucic’s end when he heard that the B’s had signed the 36-year-old.
“At first I kind of laughed,” Lucic said Wednesday. “It’s great. He’s a great player. He hasn’t scored 500 plus goals by accident, and I think a lot of people kind of doubted him and the way he played at the end of the year, but I think he’s a guy with a lot of pride and a guy that competes hard. '¦ It seems like he’s real excited to be a part of the Boston Bruins, and that’s what you want to see from a future Hall of Famer.”
Of course, the only reason the Bruins got Iginla was to replace Lucic’s good friend in Nathan Horton, who decided after the season that he was not interested in returning to the Bruins. Horton took a seven-year deal in Columbus, leaving Lucic without his linemate of the last three seasons.
“It’s tough. For me personally, it’s more than just losing a teammate,” Lucic said of Horton departing. “It’s someone that you spent a lot of time with in his time here, but at the end of the day that’s where you’ve got to realize that it is a business. It’s unfortunate to see him go — he was a big part of our team the last three years — but you’ve got to move on, turn the page and wish him all the best.”
While Lucic wouldn’t definitely say whether he saw Horton’s decision coming, he defended the decision.
“I talked to him a little bit about it, and being a UFA he’s free to make the decision that he wants,” Lucic said. “He got a pretty good deal out of it, so there’s no grudges, there’s nothing like that.”
Lucic and Horton found success skating on a line with David Krejci that paired one of the league’s better playmakers and two-way forwards with a pair of power forwards. The line could score and wear teams down, all while being more responsible than your average top line.
With Horton gone, the B’s can go for the same dynamic by inserting Iginla into Horton’s old spot. If they do, Loui Eriksson can play the right wing on Patrice Bergeron’s line and give the B’s perhaps the best top-six they’ve had in years.
“Just looking at [it], Horty was a right-handed shot and so is Iggy,” he said. “If you were going to make a pretty good guess, you’d say he fit in pretty well with us. Horty was a great shooter, and [Iginla] is one of the best goal-scorers of the last 15 years. You hope that it fits and you hope the chemistry is there from day one. If he is with us, we’re going to have to work at it a little bit to make sure it’s where we want it to be.”
|09.04.13 at 7:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It isn’t the most glamorous competition, but perhaps one overlooked vacant roster spot heading into training camp is that of Tuukka Rask‘s backup.
The Bruins have two options to replace Anton Khudobin, who left the B’s on the first day of free agency to take a one-year deal with the Hurricanes. They are 24-year-old Niklas Svedberg, last season’s Baz Bastien winner as AHL goalie of the year in Providence, and 27-year-old Chad Johnson. Between them they have played 10 career NHL games, but one of them can expect to play 25-plus this coming season. Johnson, who signed with the B’s on the same day that Khudobin left, hopes it’s him.
“I’m coming into camp here, I’m going to earn my spot, so I’ve worked hard this summer to do that,” he said Wednesday. “Svedberg, [Malcolm] Subban, all the other goalies here, we’re all here to earn our spot. There’s a reason there’s a camp, so I’m looking forward to doing that.”
If Johnson is to be the Bruins’ man, he’ll be doing so with little NHL experience. With that being said, it’s worth considering that Khudobin, who was a fine backup for the B’s last season (2.32 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 14 games), had only played seven career NHL games prior to it.
“I don’t think I’ve at all established myself,” Johnson said. “I think it takes quite a few years to do that. You always have to prove yourself, even if you’ve been in this league for five or 10 years. It doesn’t really matter. For me, this is definitely my opportunity to get my foot in the door. I’m hoping to take advantage of it.”
Johnson was drafted 125th overall by the Penguins in the 2006 draft, but never played in their organization. After finishing at the University of Alaska (where he played well enough to be a Hobey Baker finalist in 2009), he was traded to the Rangers. He spent three seasons there, playing mostly in the AHL but making six NHL appearances before spending last season in Phoenix’ organization. He had a 3.00 GAA and .903 save-percentage for Portland in the AHL, and one of his four appearances for the Coyotes last season was a 21-save shutout against the Predators.
|09.04.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Even though he didn’t play in the last two rounds of the playoffs, Dougie Hamilton played a ton of hockey last season.
Last summer, Hamilton went from development camp to the Canada-Russia Challenge to the OHL for the lockout, where he played 32 games. Then the lockout ended and he played 42 games in the 48-game regular season before playing seven postseason games as a rookie.
Hamilton, now 20, is obviously young enough to be able to bounce back from a long stretch of lots of hockey, but he admitted Wednesday that by the time he got to camp for his rookie NHL season last year, he was “pretty worn down.”
So, in an effort to not overdo it, Hamilton said he did what he could to not only not play, but not even think about hockey in the offseason. He trained hard in the short time and continued in his quest to put on a little more weight, but Hamilton said he didn’t look at tape of his play as a rookie or rush to get on the ice early in the summer.
“I just kind of try to forget about hockey for a little bit, and I think you’ve got to be able to come in motivated and hungry,” he said.
That’s not to suggest Hamilton, who made his first appearance at captains practice on Wednesday, isn’t eager to begin his second NHL season. However, after what was probably the busiest stretch of his hockey life (development camp in July, the Canada-Russia challenge in August followed by a long season between Niagara and Boston that went well into June), he tried to get hockey off his mind.
“As a kid, I would always take a break and play other sports,” he said. “I think it’s hard to continuously play. You guys probably feel the same with your jobs. You need to get away from it a bit. I think just going back home, you’re already away from it. Just being away from the team, it makes it feel better when you come back.”
Hamilton will return as the youngest player on the Bruins, but he’s also no longer a rookie. Asked what he needs to work on to become a better player now that he’s a veteran, he joked that he still needs to “get older.”
He said he hasn’t reflected much on his rookie season — he’s definitely the type to look ahead and not back — but he does come in motivated to not let what happened last season happen again. Fellow rookies Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski proved more valuable (or maybe just more left-shooting) than him, and as a result Hamilton watched the Eastern Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals from the press box as a healthy scratch.
“I think you’re doing what’s best for the team, and if that’s what we needed to win, then I was fine with that,” he said. “I think obviously you want to be playing and being on the ice, and of course you spent the summer working your hardest so that you’ll be playing and not sitting out.”
Hamilton, who stands at a what-would-be-towering-if-Zdeno-Chara-weren’t-on-the-team 6-foot-5, didn’t look noticeably bigger on the ice or in person Wednesday, but then again he didn’t have a whole lot of time to bulk up. He wouldn’t reveal how much weight he’s put on (“It’s a secret,” he said with a grin) but he did say the biggest thing he took away from the offseason was getting more comfortable in a frame he hasn’t had for too long.
Remember, Hamilton was still growing as the Bruins were scouting him leading up the 2011 draft, so he spent a good chunk of his workouts focusing on agility and trying to become more coordinated. After all, size is only good if it’s used well.
“[I'm] the most coordinated I’ve been since my growth,” he said. “I can kind of see a change in that. I’ve become a lot more coordinated and gotten a lot quicker in my speed and stuff.
“I still think I need to fill out. I’m not at that point yet, but I started to a little bit. It’s been tough the last couple years with growing so much, especially a couple years ago. Now, just doing sprints and stuff, you can kind of feel like your body’s there and not kind of around you.”
|09.04.13 at 5:14 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that they will air an all-access television series called “Behind the B” that will air on NESN, and from the looks of the trailer it sounds a lot cooler than your run of the mill rights holder’s show about one of their teams.
In the past, people throughout the Bruins organization have said they would not want to be on HBO’s behind the scenes “24/7″ series, and having the show air on NESN would suggest that there won’t be much negative stuff shown, but one look at the preview makes you think that the B’s just may have changed their minds.
There’s a clip of Claude Julien dropping an F-bomb between periods, video of Cam Neely asking a player (presumably Rich Peverley) to waive their no-trade clause and Peter Chiarelli interviewing a draft prospect among other things.
The most interesting part was saved for last, as Chiarelli, sitting at a table with other decision-makers, is shown saying, “In my mind, guys, his time is done here in Boston.” He could have been talking about anybody, and hopefully the show will reveal whether the conversation was about Tyler Seguin, Peverley, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr or somebody else.
The show will be narrated by Denis Leary. The first episode will air eight times from Sept. 9 to Sept. 28 and will have 13 episodes over the course of the season. It’s too soon to say, but this show has WEEI.com running diary written all over it.
|09.03.13 at 3:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — More and more Bruins are arriving for voluntary practices each day at Ristuccia Arena as the open of training camp gets closer. After last week featured groups of skaters in the single digits, Tuesday’s informal session featured a much larger group. The newcomers among NHLers were Torey Krug and Johnny Boychuk.
The likes of Ryan Spooner, Jared Knight and Malcolm Subban were also in the house, but they were there for the first day of rookie camp, which featured meetings rather than ice time. The youngsters will take the ice Wednesday for the start of on-ice sessions, with the veterans skating beforehand as captains practices continue.
|08.30.13 at 6:24 pm ET|
Speaking at the team’s press conference to announce his four-year extension, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that the move he is most proud of in his seven years wasn’t a player acquisition, but the hiring of coach Claude Julien.
Julien has led the Bruins to the playoffs in each of his six seasons with the Bruins. In his previous two seasons he had been fired by the Canadiens (2005-06) and Devils (2006-07), but Chiarelli said he saw a capable coach with whom he could have a good working relationship.
“I've got to say the single biggest thing was hiring Claude,” Chiarelli said. “He came off of being fired twice and there were a lot of questions about him so I knew he would be receptive to things. So obviously I knew what he was like ' receptive to things so he could evolve with the rest of us.”
Friday’s remark didn’t mark the first time Chiarelli used an opportunity with the media to sing Julien’s praises, saying after the team narrowly escaped the first round last season that he would never fire Julien.
“As long as I'm here, his job is safe,' Chiarelli said on Salk and Holley on May 15.
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