|09.20.10 at 3:34 pm ET|
With plenty of attention on the center position with Marc Savard being held back from practices with post-concussion syndrom symptoms, Zach Hamill is an interesting name early on in training camp. The Bruins spent the eighth overall pick of the 2007 draft on the WHL draft, and after playing the last two seasons in Providence, his time could potentially come in the 2010-11 season.
“He’s definitely looked better,” Claude Julien said of Hamill after Monday’s intrasquad scrimmage. “I thought he impressed us in that last game against Washington last year. It was his first real opportunity, and I thought he did a god job. He’s one of those guys that keeps improving every year. Everybody’s different. Some guys make that quick jump, some guys take a few years to make that jump, but the one thing is that he’s gotten better and he’s going to deserve to be looked at and given a fair opportunity. We’re planning on doing that.”
The game to which Julien referred was Hamill’s NHL debut and only game with the Boston team to date. In the game, a 4-3 shootout victory over the Capitals, Hamill picked up an assist on a Michael Ryder goal in the first period. On Monday, he centered a line with newcomer Nathan Horton and Lane MacDermid.
|09.20.10 at 2:51 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin’s talent has been put on display in various levels since he became a Boston Bruin. First, YouTube highlights were one’s best bet to see what the second overall could do before he actually donned the jersey. From there, it was rookie development camp.
Last week, he saw game action in two rookie exhibitions against the Islanders. Monday, though, was the closest Seguin has come to playing in an NHL game when he took part in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage. And he looked good.
Playing as a right wing and then left wing on a line centered by Patrice Bergeron with Mark Recchi, Seguin helped orchestrate the scrimmage’s first goal and the only tally for the white squad when he fed Bergeron from behind the net.
Though he figures to be a center in the long-term and entered camp playing the position, the glimpse of Seguin as a wing for two of the Bruins bigger offensive contributors was a welcome sight as the Bruins look to improve an offense that finished dead-last in scoring last season.
Though Seguin didn’t show up on the stat sheet as often as his teammates during the rookie games, playing with Bergeron and Recchi provided evidence that if the three entered the season on the same line, it could be a very productive one for the Bruins.
‘Tyler needs to play with skilled players and I think skilled players need to play with skilled players,’ Mike Vellucci, Seguin’s coach in the OHL, told WEEI.com back in May. ‘Tyler, I think first and foremost, is a playmaker that makes his linemates better around him.”
It isn’t much of a surprise that Seguin, though playing against tougher competition, looked better in a higher-skilled setting. As a guy who went from an average fourth-liner to OHL MVP as a result of being moved to the first line, Seguin has displayed an ability to skate with the big boys, even if it is just after one competitive glimpse.
“Since the draft, I’ve been saying that I’m confident and comfortable to play in the NHL,” Seguin said after the scrimmage. “Obviously, you’ve got to make little strides and you’ve got to adapt to all different stuff in the NHL that comes with it. Right now I feel like I’ve been doing that and I feel like I fit in out there.”
Seguin, who has maintained for months that he is open to playing any position (even offering up his self-proclaimed “brutal” goaltending skills), noted that there are “pros and cons” to playing both right and left wing, though he has no preference. A right-handed shot, he noted that playing right wing makes for an easier time breaking the puck out of his own zone. He saw most of his time Monday at left wing, but when he was made aware of his line, it wasn’t his position that stood out to him.
“Obviously the guys are great hockey players, Bergeron and Recchi,” Seguin said. “They’re phenomenal hockey players, great guys, and when I found out I was playing with them, I was very excited.”
Though the line has a real shot at sticking in the regular season, Claude Julien hinted that the team will give Seguin some looks at center as it determines how to go about utilizing both the rookie and Bergeron and Recchi’s line.
“He’ll get a little bit of everything,” Julien said of Seguin. “I think this is why we have these exhibition games, to try out different things, but no doubt, when you look at [Bergeron] and Recchi last year, putting somebody on that wing that will give them a little bit more of an offensive punch will definitely be something we want to look at.”
Much has been made of a potential relationship between Seguin and Recchi. The veteran could provide a mentor to the rookie while giving Seguin an opportunity to ask him anything and everything about playing in the NHL. Seguin, sticking to his modest “if I make the team” mentality, admitted he would jump at such an opportunity, but won’t assume it’s a given.
“That would be the big privilege if hopefully I earn my spot on this team and I could pick his brain all year,” Seguin said. “I’ll definitely take advantage of that if he allows me. Until then, it’s just trying to make the most impressions I can on the coaching staff and the players here and earn my spot.”
|09.20.10 at 1:42 pm ET|
The Bruins featured a very interesting line Monday in Patrice Bergeron centering Tyler Seguin and Mark Recchi. For Seguin, who played both wings in the day’s black/white scrimmage, he gets an opportunity to play alongside a future Hall of Famer in Recchi and someone who knows what it’s like to make an impact in their rookie year in Bergeron. A key contributor to the team since making the Bruins in the 2003-04 season, Bergeron knows what it’s like to be teamed with players he looked up to early on.
“My first scrimmage was pretty amazing,” Bergeron said after the scrimmage. “It was [Sergei] Samsonov and Glen Murray, so they made it pretty easy for me, to be honest.”
The three players seemed to make things easy for one another in Monday’s scrimmage, with Seguin feeding Bergeron on the white squad’s only goal. Consider Bergeron impressed.
“The first shift, we both thought we were in the middle, but then we figured it out and it was good. He’s always well-positioned and he has that good speed so that helps him a lot.”
|09.20.10 at 1:17 pm ET|
Though the white team featured perhaps the most intriguing line on the ice in Patrice Bergeron centering Mark Recchi and Tyler Seguin, the black team claimed a 3-1 victory in the Bruins’ intrasqaud scrimmage on Monday.
Seguin hit Bergeron in the slot, who promptly beat Nolan Schaefer to open the game’s scoring early in the second half (the sides took the ice for two 20-minute periods), but Zdeno Chara and Jamie Arniel both netted goals for the black squad, with Lane MacDermid potting an empty netter. Check back here for post-game comments from the players and coach Claude Julien.
|09.19.10 at 11:35 pm ET|
Bruins 2008 first-round pick Joe Colborne has a lot of things that should eventually make him a key contributor in the NHL. This summer, his leadership was displayed during rookie development, and last week Peter Chiarelli singled him out as someone whose skating has improved in the offseason. Looking at him, his 6-foot-5 frame makes size his biggest possession, but Colborne also has something that nobody else on the ice at training camp has: a cage.
Colborne got his nose and lip cut up pretty badly last week after taking an elbow to the face in the first of the Bruins’ two rookie games against the Islanders. He had stitches on the inside and outside of nose, as well as the inside of his lip and underwent neurology tests to determine whether he may have suffered a concussion. Everything checked out regarding the latter, but as a result of the facial injuries, he’s been forced to rock a full cage at practice. While wearing the mask doesn’t affect a player’s abilities in any way — he’s gone at 100 percent in practice and will play in Monday’s scrimmage — the quirks of adding a cage have been noticed by the young center.
“Thank goodness I went to college and had to do two years with the cage,” Colborne said Sunday. “It took a little bit of getting used to [Saturday] but today today it felt better.”
The cage isn’t too uncommon for players to wear over short stretches when playing with injuries to the face. The likes of Joe Thornton and Zdeno Chara have sported it in the past for Boston, but it is certainly a nuisance to to those forced to wear them. That’s where the conversation took a turn to youth hockey, when full cages were the norm, and depending on which youth hockey organization one was in, players were instead bugged by the vaunted neck guard.
“Oh yeah. All the way up,” Colborne said when asked if he was forced to wear one while playing as a youngster. “They were pretty pointless to me. We all just taped them up and made them as small as possible so they’re more comfortable.”
Straightening his neck out and moving it side to side, almost robotically, he added, “you walk around like this and you can’t move your neck at all in them.”
The neck guard and the cage both fall into the category of annoying pieces of equipment. Colborne certainly doesn’t miss the neck guard, known more among young players for itchy tags and restricting qualities than any protective benefits, but can find solace in the fact that it’s been a while since he’s had to wear one and, more importantly, that they’re out of his life completely. The same can’t be said for the temporary adjustment back to a cage as he tries to impress the Bruins brass and coaching staff.
“I had to get used to it for college, but then all summer I was back to the half-visor, and in rookie camp I was half-visor. It’s just cooler, it’s easier to breathe, it doesn’t restrict your vision when you’re trying to look out and use your peripheral vision and look down and see the puck,” Colborne. “When you’ve got those bars in the way, it gets in the way.”
Though it could be days before the stitches on Colborne’s nose are gone, he’s been able to feel the ones in his lip dissolving during the practice sessions and even saw some fall on the ice on Sunday.
Colborne said Sunday was the first day he could breathe out of his nose. His right nostril is still giving some issues when it comes to breathing, but thanks to relentless icing his face — which was very swollen a day after the hit — hasn’t been as big a problem as he prepares to ditch the cage within the next couple of days.
“It’s come down a ton. I’ve been icing it non-stop. Literally I’ve just been going home and plopping ice on it all day long,” Colborne said. “The extra time I’ve been putting in has helped out. It already just feels more natural.”
Colborne picked up 72 points over his two-year career at the University of Denver. He finished last season with six games in Providence, his first taste of the AHL.
|09.19.10 at 11:20 pm ET|
Claude Julien announced Sunday that rather than having two sessions each for Groups A and B on Monday, the team would have one session at 10:30 followed by a scrimmage at noon. It is anticipated the lines would be the same as they have been in practice thus far. The scrimmage will be closed to the public but it should be interesting to see how some of the younger guys who got to play against Islanders rookies last week fare against seasoned vets. We’ll have a full report following the scrimmage.
|09.19.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has proven himself as a capable defenseman since coming over from Calgary during the 2006-07 season. One thing he hasn’t been able to prove is an ability to stay on the ice for 82 games. Though he did so in the 2005-06 season, his last full campaign with the Flames, since coming to Boston he has yet to be able to skate in as many 60 games in a season. The most recent hiccup to Ference’s health was a groin that required offseason surgery.
Ference feels good as he enters his 11th season in the NHL, but the 31-year-old knows the game too well to assume a full season of play is a given.
“There’s nothing you can do to stop injuries from happening. It’s hockey. If something else comes up down the road, it’s not because of a lack of rehab or anything like that. It’s just the sport, so I can’t say, ‘Oh yeah. Awesome, nothing’s every going to happen again,’ but I feel great right now.”
Ference took four weeks to recover from the surgery, which took place in late May. He is skating in Group B for the team’s training camp practices and is paired with Cody Wild.
Here are a couple of other notes from a 10-minute long chat that had Zdeno Chara poking fun at the defenseman’s popularity.
– Ference is no stranger to teams making big pushes in the playoffs, as he was a member of the 2000-01 Penguins and the 2003-04 Flames. Asked how he compares this team to the past squads he’s been on, he pointed to his Penguins days in saying, “We don’t have Mario [Lemieux] on our team.” Ference played in 18 games in that postseason, one in which Pittsburgh fell to te Devils in the Eastern Conference finals.
– Ference seemed optimistic for the 2010-11 squad, referencing the Bruins overcoming “a really good test” in some regular season rough patches and earning a playoff berth.
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