|07.06.10 at 5:58 pm ET|
With the team’s first day of development camp in the books, Bruins youngsters have endured plenty — from fitness testing in the morning to swarming media to a hellish afternoon of team-builing activities with a Marine. Despite how difficult the first day may have been, the promise shown and words spoken from the players during a day that didn’t feature a second of ice time was a good start to the five-day camp.
The players on display at this year’s camp may make this the best such class in the program’s four-year history. From those considered to be in the upper echelon among the league’s prospects (Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne, and Jordan Caron) to local players (BC’s Tommy Cross, BU’s David Warsofsky), there was plenty on display the first day.
Despite how anxious and eager they may be however, the camp is merely a group of sessions to familiarize the players with their peers and help management gauge what to expect from the players likely to contribute to the NHL club. Players were assured of that by assistant general manager Don Sweeney at a welcoming meeting Monday night.
“It’s a place to make an impression for everybody and I did tell them that last night as well,” Sweeney said. “You’re not making our hockey club and playing for Claude [Julien] this week. We’ve had players as our reference that have done that, but it’s really about getting an understanding of what those coaches are going to require of them as players of the National Hockey League level for them to be able to play.
“In a perfect world, they’re all going to wear a Bruins jersey. Is that a reality? Probably not. Which they should understand as well and how difficult it is to get to that level. They all have a chance and that’s all it really takes to have that opportunity.”
Seguin continued to stress his ultimate goal of making the Bruins as a rookie, which both he and the Bruins seem to expect at this point. Though he did note he saw that Taylor Hall had signed his entry level deal with the Oilers on Monday, he didn’t seem to be in a rush to have his agent, Ian Pulver, finish up a contract with the Bruins. The task at hand appeared to be the priority for Seguin, with his new jersey the constant reminder.
“I’ve got the [No.] 19 Boston jersey in my bedroom,” Seguin said. “Before I go to sleep every night, I get to look at that and say, ‘That’s where I want to go. That’s my goal,’ and that’s what I have to work hard for all summer.”
The team-building activities did more than just drain the players physically. They helped highlight the potential leadership roles that some of the players could have in the future. Cross, goalie Zane Gothberg, Colborne, and Warsofsky were among the first to volunteer to lead exercises.
It wasn’t the first exercise in leadership for Colborne. The 2008 first-rounder has been proactive about welcoming younger players into the organization via text message, as he did with Seguin.
“That’s music to all of our ears to be honest with you,” Sweeney said. “Joe actually asked me for a couple of guys numbers and I was quick to shoot them out to him because I love initiative on all of our players. He’s a great kid and each and every one of these kids should understand that we hope that more will emerge.”
For Warsofsky, who was acquired from St. Louis on the second day of the NHL draft in exchange for center Vladimir Sobotka, Monday was the first day on the Marshfield native’s dreamjob.
“Every since the trade I’ve been really excited to get started with the Bruins, so it’s enjoying to get my future started here,” Warsofsky said.
The camp runs through Saturday. Practice on Wednesday will be open to the public at 1 p.m.
|07.06.10 at 3:44 pm ET|
BEDFORD — Bruins prospects struggled plenty in the morning on the first day of development camp, but based on the way their afternoon team-building activities have kicked off in Bedford, the heat was nothing.
Upon arriving at The Edge Sports Center, youngsters including Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne, and David Warsofsky took in an hour-long presentation from Eric Kapitulik, who shared both gut-wrenching and inspiring stories from his life with the NHL hopefuls. Kapitulik, who played lacrosse at Navy, experienced a life-changing tragedy in 1999 during his time as a Marine. A helicopter crash in San Diego saw him and those under his command sink in the chopper under water as they tried to swim out while drowning. Kapitulik was one of 11 who survived, but they lost seven men in the December crash.
Kapitulik, who since has competed in eight Ironman triathlons and raised money for a scholarship to benefit the six children who lost their parents in the disaster. In speaking with the players, he addressed them as “warriors” and preached that the most important people in the room were the people to the left and right of one another. In leading workouts with the team that have ranged from pushups to flutter kicks to carrying sandbags, he continued to preach the logic, as Boston College defenseman Tommy Cross learned.
“We don’t care about you, Tommy,” Kapitulik shouted as the defenseman led the team in pushups. “All we care about are the warriors to your left and to your right.”
The team-building activities, which consisted of four quarters of what Kapitulik called “judgement day,” were certainly challenging on the players, many of whom had attended development camp in years past. Rather than counting off pushups in traditional style, whomever led the exercises (players volunteered, with Cross being the first to successfully do so — Zach Trotman tried to but was sent back to his teammates for walking) would push up, down, and up, counting one, two, and three at each move, before his teammates would yell “one” back as they pushed up again. As a result, the 17 pushups Cross led the players in to lead off the first quarter were more like 37.
“If you don’t think you can possibly do one more pushup, do one more,” Kapitulik said before the first quarter kicked off. “Then do one more.”
Colborne, the 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft, was the first prospect to get an earful from Kapitulik. After the Marine’s initial speech, which was given in a room next to the indoor turf the players then exercised on, he asked the center if he felt he could get his teammates to fold up their chairs, put them away, and be lined up on the field in 60 seconds. Colborne accepted the assignment, and when the 27 players couldn’t finish in time, Kapitulik shouted to the center that it was only his fault.
Exercises were often stopped by Kapitulik and members of the Program when players were not calling out their teammates for slipups. Though the likes of Don Sweeney and Peter Chiarelli were in attendance, the lasting image of the day might be president Cam Neely sitting by himself on a bench in the middle of the turf, completely silent as he watched the players struggle in the first 16 minutes.
|07.05.10 at 5:18 pm ET|
Agent Matt Keator has confirmed to WEEI.com that Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler filed for arbitration before Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline. The Boston Globe was the first to report the story. Center Gregory Campbell also filed, as he was on the list of players to elect the process by the NHLPA Monday night.
Though Wheeler and Campbell both filed, a possibility still exists that the team could reach agreements with the forwards before their respective arbitration hearings, as the team did last summer with Matt Hunwick.
Defenseman Mark Stuart, the other Bruin eligible for arbitration, did not file, as Keator, who represents both Stuart and Wheeler, indicated that the two sides felt they were close enough to reaching a one-year deal that filing wouldn’t be necessary.
Wheeler had 38 points this past season for the Bruins, scoring 18 goals while playing in all 82 games.
|07.05.10 at 4:43 pm ET|
The Bruins announced the signings of veteran defenseman Nathan McIver and goaltender Nolan Schaefer on Monday. McIver, who has played in 36 NHL games in his career, was given a two-year deal while Schaefer comes in on a one-year pact.
The 25-year-old McIver should serve as an option for organizational defensive depth, but after spending all of last season in the AHL, he likely won’t be a game-changer among the Bruins’ blueliners. He last played in the NHL in 2008-2009, picking up one point (an assist) in 18 games for the Ducks. He also played 18 games between 2006 and 2008 for the Canucks. Last season with the Manitoba Moose, McIlver skated in 44 games, tallying five points and racking up 109 penalty minutes.
Schaefer, the younger brother of former Bruin Peter Schaefer, played in seven games in the 2005-2006 season with the Sharks, but bounced around the AHL before playing the last season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. The now-30-year-old had a 2.66 goals against average in 22 games last season in the Russian league.
While playing for Providence College, Shaefer set the school record for saves by stopping 2,848 shots as a Friar in 99 games.
|07.05.10 at 3:48 pm ET|
The top overall pick in the NHL draft, Taylor Hall, has officially signed with the Edmonton Oilers, and the contract comes with very few surprises as Bruins fans anticipate what their team may be paying Tyler Seguin.
Hall’s three year deal finds ways around the $900,000 maximum salary for an entry level deal, as has become a trend in recent years. CapGeek.com (which every hockey fan should check about 12 times a day in the offseason) has the deal including $2.85 million in performance bonuses, which swells that dinky $900,000 into a cap hit of $3.75 million. The cap hit puts Hall’s deal right on par with the pact John Tavares signed a year ago with the Islanders.
There might not be much of a dropoff in what the second pick commands in comparison to the top choice, as Hall and Seguin co-headlined the draft class with 106 points apiece in the OHL and Seguin being the top-ranked player according to NHL Central Scouting.
|07.05.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
For those planning on making it out to Ristuccia Arena this week for the Bruins’ fourth annual development camp and snag a look at prospects such as Joe Colborne, Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron, Jared Knight, David Warsofsky, and Ryan Spooner, here’s the run-down for when the camp is open to the public.
All the practices will take place at Ristuccia, which is located at 190 Main St. in Wilmington. Though only practice is open to the public, there will be media availability each day so follow the Big Bad Blog for the latest interviews and news as it comes.
Tuesday: Closed to the public.
Wednesday: Practice at 1:00 p.m.
Thursday: Practice at 10:00 a.m.
Friday: Practice at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday: Practice at 11:00 p.m.
Here’s the roster of players that will be in attendance, courtesy of the Bruins:
Tyler Brenner, Jordan Caron, Joe Colborne, Craig Cunningham, Alexander Fallstrom, Justin Florek, Mark Goggin, Jared Knight, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Tyler Seguin, Ben Sexton, Ryan Spooner, Nick Tremblay
Yuri Alexandrov, Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Marc Cantin, Tommy Cross, Ryan Donald, Steve Kampfer, Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky
Adam Courchaine, Matt Dalton, Zane Gothberg, Mike Hutchinson
|07.02.10 at 12:54 am ET|
Though Tim Thomas rumors have been more or less overflowing from the internet this offseason — some feasible, some outrageous — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is certainly speaking like a guy who wouldn’t feel it was the end of the world if he goes into next season with his No. 2 goalie making $5 million.
‘I’m comfortable with our goaltending duo,” Chiarelli said. “There will be an intense competition, that’s the way we had planned it and I’m comfortable with it. I’m not saying it’s going to end up that way, but I’m certainly comfortable if it is.’
With the looks of free agency so far, it’s a good thing he’d be comfortable with it. With Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov still on the open market, it’s hard to believe teams would rather trade for a guy who’s two years older and seemingly better-suited for a tandem.
Some may view it as a waste to keep the 36 year-old Thomas around at such a high price tag, but he undoubtedly adds security to a goaltending position that may be a bit overestimated due to solid play down the stretch from Tuukka Rask. Thomas has the track-record of being able to play at a high level despite age and Rask hasn’t been the man for a full season yet.
The Bruins are in a tight spot regarding cap space, and though Thursday’s two-way deal given to old friend Jeremy Reich won’t be a back-breaker (he’ll get $500,000 if he’s on the NHL club), the team has just $4,465,357 in cap space, with Tyler Seguin set to seemingly get the entry-level maximum of $900,000 in salary (he’ll get more in bonuses) and deals still to be done for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart.
Making all three deals happen may be tough given their current cap number and a contract may have to be moved around to make the signings a possibility, but don’t count on it being Thomas.