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Alexander Khokhlachev hungry for any spot with Bruins

09.18.14 at 10:56 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhlachev

Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that there are four forward spots open this training camp, though he wouldn’€™t specify which. In reality, there’€™s uncertainty in more places than that on Boston’s forward lines.

Jarome Iginla’€™s old spot on David Krejci‘€™s line is the only top-six position up for grabs. On the bottom two lines, however, Carl Soderberg centering the third line looks to be the only certainty. A gaggle of forwards are competing for the wing spots, while the fourth line is one big question mark with numerous potential answers.

That’€™s where Alexander Khokhlachev comes in.

Gregory Campbell has centered the fourth line for the last four seasons, but that may change. The Bruins have a pair of NHL centers knocking on the NHL‘€™s door, and the team has considered moving Campbell to wing if either one wins the fourth-line center.

One of those player is Ryan Spooner. The other is Khokhlachev, who was chosen in the second round in 2011, a year after Spooner. Both players stand at 5-foot-11, but Khokhlachev is thicker, having bulked up to 189 pounds this offseason (Spooner is listed at 181 pounds).

Spooner has more AHL experience, but Khokhlachev hopes that after putting up 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in 65 games last season in his first full campaign with Providence, he’€™s ready for the NHL.

There are two questions with the left-shooting 21-year-old. One is whether he could play wing if need be ‘€” he did at points of a 26-game stint in the KHL during the lockout ‘€” and the other is whether he would make sense as a fourth-liner at either position.

“œSure, why not? I’€™m not just a skill guy,”€ Khokhlachev said Thursday. “€œFor sure, I like to score goals and get points and help my team win, but if this year they put me on the fourth line and want me [play a different role], I’€™m still a young guy and I develop my game pretty much every day, so I don’€™t care where they put me. It doesn’€™t matter for me. I will be happy.”

Campbell is out with a mid-core injury to begin training camp, so the Bruins will be able to get longer looks at Khokhlachev and Spooner, something that Chiarelli sees as a silver lining to having players missing.

“Those guys both tested well and ran well, and they both had real good seasons last year,”€ Chiarelli said of Spooner and Khokhlachev. “€œYou’ll probably see some of the guys higher up on the depth chart for centers, and you might see them on the wing at some point.”

Khokhlachev said he didn’€™t do anything differently this offseason to prepare for being a wing, but he’€™s more than willing to play the position if that’€™s the opportunity given to him. His priority is being in the NHL.

“€œIt doesn’€™t matter where they put me. Coaches, management, they know better,” he said. “For now, I don’€™t really care. I just want to make the team. Wherever they put me, I’€™ll be happy with that and enjoy it.”

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Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell, Linus Arnesson limited to begin Bruins training camp

09.18.14 at 1:32 pm ET
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General manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that three players are limited and/or out to start training camp for the Bruins: Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell and Linus Arnesson.

Lucic is recovering from wrist surgery and had said earlier this week that he would be taking it slow in training camp. Chiarelli confirmed as much, saying that Lucic is ‘€œa little slow’€ to begin camp.

Campbell will not be on the ice when practices begin Friday due to what Chiarelli called ‘€œsome minor mid-core stuff.’€

Arnesson, meanwhile, was given Monday’€™s rookie practice off before leaving Tuesday’€™s rookie game with a tweaked groin. Chiarelli said Thursday that Arnesson ‘€œwon’€™t be skating for a little bit.’€

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Torey Krug, Reilly Smith absent for start of Bruins training camp

09.18.14 at 1:09 pm ET
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Bruins training camp officially began Thursday without Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, and general manager Peter Chiarelli offered no update on their status.

The B’€™s only have $3.218 million in cap space to sign both players, and though neither Smith nor Krug can negotiate with other teams, neither player would be wise to take a contract until the Bruins shed salary cap space in order to offer them more.

Chiarelli said he plans to trade a defenseman. In theory, he could simply sign both players and exceed the salary cap limit as long as he gets the team under the cap by the start of the regular season. Teams can exceed the cap by up to 10 percent until then.

Asked whether he has considered signing the players first and then making a trade, Chiarelli didn’€™t give much of an answer. The obvious downside to that strategy is that it would be harder to get fair return in trade scenarios when trade partners know that a team is over the cap and has to trade players.

“There’€™s different ways to skin the cat, and that’€™s one of 15,” Chiarelli said. “Those are business decisions that I have to make.”

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Bruins announce training camp roster

09.17.14 at 6:21 pm ET
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The Bruins announced their training camp roster Wednesday. It is as follows:

FORWARDS: Patrice Bergeron, Anthony Camara, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Craig Cunningham, Loui Eriksson, Alexander Fallstrom, Brian Ferlin, Rob Flick, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, Simon Gagne*, Seth Griffith, Cory Kane, Bracken Kearns*, Chris Kelly, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, David Krejci, Ville Leino*, Matt Lindblad, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Bobby Robins, Ben Sexton, Reilly Smith, Carl Söderberg, Ryan Spooner, Ethan Werek*

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Matt Bartkowski, Johnny Boychuk, Chris Breen, Chris Casto, Zdeno Chara, Tommy Cross, Steve Eminger*, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg, Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky, Ben Youds*

GOALTENDERS: Tuukka Rask, Jeremy Smith, Malcolm Subban, Niklas Svedberg

Players marked with an asterisk are players at tenting camp on a tryout basis. Smith and Krug are both on the roster, though neither player has a contract. Smith’s agent told the Boston Herald Tuesday that it’€™s expected that neither will sign and attend camp until the Bruins free up cap space.

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Pastrnak Watch: Back to right wing, a goal scored, board work a question and how to pronounce his name

09.16.14 at 5:39 pm ET
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ANTIOCH, Tenn. — David Pastrnak ended his rookie camp by playing right wing and scoring. The Bruins will take that going forward.

Pastrnak, who centered Anthony Camara and Seth Griffith in the first two games of the rookie tournament in Nashville, moved back to his natural position of right wing to play with Matt Lindblad and Alex Fallstrom in the finale of the tournament Tuesday, a 4-2 win over the Predators rookies.

It was in the second period that Pastrnak got his only goal of the tournament, a power play tally on a feed from Seth Griffith.

He was also named to the All-Tournament team by participating teams’€™ scouts and officials, which he probably solidified with his first period of the tournament back on Saturday. All in all, Pastrnak’€™s performance in the tournament was a very shiny mixed bag.

Pastrnak’€™s tournament in a nutshell: He has the speed and hands to play in the NHL right now. As expected, he needs work defensively, as his risk-reward style (taking the puck over the man almost always) will both lead to odd-man rushes for the Bruins and burn them.

Defensive deficiencies can be worth overlooking, however, and Pastrnak genuinely seems like he wants to follow any and all instructions to make him a better two-way player. Pastrnak also turned the puck over multiple times Tuesday, including a neutral zone cough-up that forced him to hook a Predators player to prevent a breakaway, which is something to keep an eye on.

Just one man’€™s opinion, but the only real issue that could keep Pastrnak out of the NHL this season is his size.

At around 170 pounds, Pastrnak is awfully light. Playing right wing Tuesday, his board work left more to be desired and, though he obviously likes going to the net, bigger defensemen didn’€™t have to do much to keep him from getting there.

“His wall work — one game, it’€™s hard to judge him — but that’€™s going to be a big issue,” Bruce Cassidy admitted after the game. “In the National Hockey League, you’€™re expected to win pucks on the walls, get them out or get them into the middle of the ice and get going, so that’€™s going to be part of this.

“It’€™s not just the speed part of the game, the individual and the puck skills; it’€™s the grunt work. They’€™ll get a look at that obviously in the exhibition season and go from there.”

Main camp begins on Thursday, with practices beginning Friday. Pastrnak will open the camp at right wing, with Peter Chiarelli hinting that he could start with Krejci.

Pastrnak said he feels good about where he stands after the camp, but that he has a long way to go. He said it as only he could.

“I feel I’€™m [on] the second floor and the NHL is [on] the fifth,” Pastrnak said. “So I have three more floors.”


Considering how often we’€™re all going to be saying his name in the coming days, we might as well say it right. After double-checking with the player, it is not “PASS-ter-nak,” as we’€™ve all been saying, but rather “POS-ter-nahk.”

Much like Brad Marchand (it’€™s “SHAND,” not “SHOND”) Pastrnak said he doesn’€™t mind if people get his name wrong. He did say that nobody gets it wrong here like they do in Sweden, where he plays for Sodertalje SK and where he’€™ll return if he doesn’€™t make the Bruins. There, they call him POL-ster-nahk.

“I don’€™t know where they got the L from,” he said plainly with a shrug.

Pastrnak said his nickname is Pasta. Given the weight concern, it wouldn’t hurt him to follow the you-are-what-you-eat diet.

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David Pastrnak scores, named to All-Tournament team as Bruins conclude rookie camp

09.16.14 at 5:04 pm ET
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ANTIOCH, Tenn. –€” The Bruins wrapped up their 2014 rookie camp by beating the Predators prospects, 4-2, in the finale of the Predators-hosted rookie tournament at Ford Ice Center on Tuesday.

The B’€™s got goals from Seth Griffith, David Pastrnak, Alex Fallstrom and Brian Ferlin. Pastrnak played right wing after playing center in the first two games of the tournament. He skated on a line with Matt Lindblad (also moved to wing) and Fallstrom. Anthony Camara and Seth Griffith, both of whom played on Pastrnak’€™s line in the first two games of the tournament, played on a line centered by Ben Sexton.

Malcolm Subban was in net for the B’€™s 23 saves on 25 shots faced. He started two of the three games, with Adam Morrison playing in Sunday’€™s loss to the Lightning. The Bruins finished the tournament with one win and two losses.

After the tournament, scouts and officials from all participating teams (the Bruins, Lightning, Panthers and Predators) voted on the six-player rookie team, with Pastrnak and defenseman Chris Casto representing the Bruins. Casto was steady throughout the tournament, doing an impressive job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone throughout.

The all-tournament team is as follows:

F – Filip Forsberg, Predators (tournament MVP)
F – Vincent Trochek, Panthers
F – David Pastrnak, Bruins
D – Aaron Ekblad, Panthers
D – Chris Casto, Bruins
G – Sam Brittain, Panthers

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Milan Lucic still recovering from wrist surgery, not sure of contractual future

09.15.14 at 2:28 pm ET
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ANTIOCH, Tenn. — Milan Lucic told reporters back in Boston Monday that he needed to wear a cast on his wrist for 12 weeks following his offseason surgery.

Lucic, who underwent the procedure on his left wrist following the Bruins’€™ second-round defeat to the Canadiens, said that he figures he’€™ll be limited to begin training camp, and that he’€™ll be cautious as he continues to regain strength.

“I haven’t been able to do a pushup until a week ago just because of it being right there on the joint,” Lucic said. “€œBut still, that’s something you’ve got to work at with rehab. It’s gotten better over the last week and you’ve got some time here before the season starts. As camp goes along here, you want to get your legs and everything underneath you, but you still have time to build your strength up until the season starts.”

Lucic was pretty candid about his contractual situation. With two years remaining on his contract with an annual salary cap hit of $6 million, Lucic might be tough to fit under the salary cap given Boston’€™s current cap situation. Peter Chiarelli recently signed David Krejci to a six-year, $43.5 million extension, but said on Sunday that he ‘€œcan’€™t sign everybody.’€

The 26-year-old Lucic said that with all eyes on Boston’€™s cap, he’€™s thinking about his own future.

“€œIt’s hard not to. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t think about it at all,”€ Lucic said. “With two years left on this contract and when I come out of it, I come out of it as a UFA. You kind of see the direction that the team is going — they just signed Krech for six more years after this one, and obviously he’s a guy I want to play with. My plan’s as far as my future goes is to stay here and stay put in Boston, but obviously a lot of things are going to happen in the next year and two years, but I hope that both sides can keep me here for a long, long time.”

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