|09.21.10 at 3:20 pm ET|
There’s been a lot of hockey equipment talk coming from the Bruins over the last few days. The Joe Colborne neck guard post was supposed to be the lone tune of its genre played at this dance, but Blake Wheeler spoke at length Tuesday about switching up his skate of choice as he enters the 2010-11 season. After feeling that his second season in Boston featured more trouble turning and getting out of stops than usual, he’s sporting a new pair of CCMs this training camp.
“I had worn CCM skates my entire life,” Wheeler said Tuesday. “I gave Bauers a shot last year, and I don’t know, they didn’t really work out as well as I would have liked. It’s a great product, a great skate, and for me, I guess the best fit was [CCM].
“I feel different,” he added. “I feel a lot better out there and just a lot quicker and a lot more like myself. I’m able to make a little bit more one-on-one moves, be a little more effective.”
Wheeler said that he didn’t consider a change back to CCM during his sophomore season, nothing that “nothing felt wrong” for the most part during games, but that he did feel hindered in “crucial spots” when needing a burst in attempt to chase a puck or create a turnover.
“It was very frustrating for me,” Wheeler said. “I couldn’t really pinpoint it and once I threw these on this summer, I felt it right away. It was good to get that behind me.”
Though he’s glad to be back with CCM, Wheeler didn’t knock the Bauer product, likening the preference to one’s choice of shoe.
“It’s like anything else,” he said. “Some guys like Nike shoes, some like Adidas. It is what it is.”
|09.21.10 at 1:26 pm ET|
One day after the Bruins held goaltender Tim Thomas out of the team’s black/white scrimmage, the 2008-09 Vezina winner was once again missing when Group A took the ice for Tuesday’s practice.
Thomas is recovering from hip surgery and participated in some of the team’s captain’s practices earlier in the month in an effort to hopefully be at 100 percent by the time the Bruins begin their season next month in Prague. Even so, the team sees no use in rushing the 36-year-old back.
“Something that we’ve said right from the get-go, [is that] we’d monitor [him],” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday. “He’s had that surgery and we have to take our time to bring him [back].”
Julien added monday that though Thomas “is actually ahead of schedule” if anything, the team’s plan is to “bring him along slowly.”
|09.21.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
Milan Lucic is entering the first year of a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4.008 million. Though just 22 years of age, the physical forward will play the 2010-11 season as the fourth-highest paid member of the Bruins, behind only Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, and Patrice Bergeron. As he trains with teammates for what he hopes is a more healthy campaign than his 50-game 2009-10, he hopes to make himself worth every dime of his contract. In particular, he hopes to find the back of the net more.
In three NHL seasons, Lucic’s career high in goals came in the 2008-09 season, one in which he added 25 assists in his 77 games for a career-best 42 points.
“I feel like have the ability to help contribute to this team a little bit more,” Lucic said Tuesday. “I still in my three years haven’t been able to hit the 20-goal mark. I feel like that’s a realistic goal for me this year and that’s a personal goal that I should be able to meet.
“In saying that, I shouldn’t just be thinking that way. If I start thinking ‘goal, goal, goal, goals’ and just getting points, that’s when my play starts to suffer. I think if I’m just moving my feet and playing physical, everything else tends to fall into place. I think going into my fourth year, what I really want to do is try to be the best player on the ice on a more consistent level. I think that’s the challenge for myself and that’s what I’m going to be looking forward to doing this year.”
Lucic added that he hopes to spend more time on the power play. With much being made of the Tyler Seguin–Mark Recchi connection as far as learning the trick of the trade as a young player, Lucic freely admitted that when it comes to making a difference with a man advantage, he’s still taking notes from the veteran.
“There’s a lot to learn from Mark Recchi, who does such a great job in front of the net with tips and just establishing body presence. For a little guy like him, he’s able to establish really good body presence in front of the net. I’ve learned a lot from him and I’m still learning,” Lucic said. “Hopefully I can translate that into this year.”
|09.21.10 at 11:05 am ET|
A day after following up a practice session with an intrasquad scrimmage that the black unis took, 3-1, the Bruins are back to their traditional training camp schedule of two sessions apiece for Groups A and B. Group B just finished up their first skate, which featured the same lines offensively as when they took the ice on Sunday.
Though second overall pick Tyler Seguin played left wing for Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi in Monday’s scrimmage, he was back to in the middle on Tuesday, centering Recchi and Jeff LoVecchio. Bergeron centered Daniel Paille and Jordan Caron. Group B will skate in one more session before Group A’s day begins at around 12:30.
Following the day of practices, the Bruins will hold their annual town hall meeting in which season ticket holders can address both management and the team’s captains. Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs, Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara, Recchi, and Bergeron will be in attendance. Check back throughout the day for news from the practices and the meeting.
|09.20.10 at 6:33 pm ET|
Those pundits who are quick to find the timing of the Bruins announcement that Marc Savard will be sidelined indefinitely while suffering from post-concussion syndrome somewhat dubious, should take note of a similar situation effecting skilled NHL veteran winger Paul Kariya.
Kariya had suffered serious concussions earlier in his career and while skating for the St. Louis Blues last season he was elbowed in the head by Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta on Dec. 27.
Kariya missed six games after the December hit, but he returned to play out the remainder of the Blues schedule.
Yet, on Aug. 28 Kariya’s agent issued a shocking statement indicating that Kariya would miss the entire 2010-11 season due to post-concussion syndrome. Kariya is an unrestricted free agent and could hardly be seeking to help his market value by being held out for a full season.
Savard missed nearly two months of play after suffering a serious concussion resulting from a Matt Cooke blindside hit on March 8. Like Kariya, Savard returned to play, skating in all seven games of the Bruins second-round series with Philadelphia. But simply returning to game action does not necessarily mean that the effects of Savard’s concussion were fully resolved.
While there has been no suggestion that Savard could miss the entire season like Kariya, the full specter of post-concussion syndrome is not something to be taken lightly, or quickly ridiculed.
|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.”