|07.08.10 at 6:32 pm ET|
Bruins sixth-round draft pick Zane Gothberg is dialed in at development camp in Wilmington and thrilled to have the stands packed with fans as he looks to show the Bruins front office and die-hards alike what he’s got. A skater comes in and tries to go stickside on him, but the goaltender quickly reacts and uses his blocker to deflect the puck.
Disappointed, the crowd moans.
The next day, a skater beats him during drills for a goal.
No, the world isn’t out to get the Minnesota native, but when the skater in each instance happens to be second overall pick and center of attention Tyler Seguin, it’s a bit easier for the goalie to laugh it off.
“It’s a little discouraging when he snipes you and stuff and the crowd goes wild,” Gothberg said with a laugh on Thursday. “You just get a little flustered and stuff out there. It just makes you that much better because you just have to know that they’re going to do that and prepare for it [the] next shot when he comes down or when any other player comes down.”
The peculiar thing with Gothberg, however, has nothing to do with the crowd’s reaction to him or any other goalie facing Seguin. It’s the fact that in a locker room full of young prospects, it’s the goalie that appears to be among the most outgoing and, to a degree, a serious candidate for draft class clown honors.
Though many goalies throughout the history of the game have kept more to themselves and been among the quieter players on teams, it’s Gothberg who was among the first to volunteer to lead exercises on the first day of team-buliding activities with Marine Eric Kapitulik. In the two days of on-ice activities thus far, it has appears that Gothberg, who as a 2010 draft choice is in his first development camp and meeting the other hopefuls for the first time, is one of the biggest characters of the lot of 27 (26 if you exclude Max Sauve, who has only been able to skate in between sessions).
“I just like to keep the room spunky and stuff, just have a good time and kind of goof off with the guys and stuff,” Gothberg, who has also played with the USA U-18 team, said after practice Thursday. “It’s a good opportunity hanging out with these guys from around the country and around the world too, so it’s a good time.”
Gothberg doesn’t see himself as the typical goalie. He’s not the type to sit by himself or try to get into a deep focus before the game. In fact, Gothberg says he doesn’t even put his headphones on until “five minutes before warmups” on game day, instead electing to “interact and hang out” with his teammates. When he does put the head phones on, “Hell’s Bells,” “Black Betty” and other hockey standards aren’t the sounds coming from his mp3 player. Instead it’s Lil’ Wayne, “a lot” of techno, and, when the mood should strike him, Miley Cyrus.
“Yeah, for sure, Miley Cyrus,” Gothberg said, laughing despite seemingly meaning it. “There it is. She’s amazing. Gets me every time. Gets me deep.”
Through the Cyrus talk (“Not Hannah Montana — just Miley. The original.”) that ensued, a reporter couldn’t help but ask the goaltender if he was actually serious. The laughter subsided a bit as Gothberg responded, “Yeah, for sure. It’s good.”
The 6-foot-1, 177-pound Gothberg has looked good thus far in development camp but any contributions the 17-year-old will make for the Bruins are a ways away. He is set to go to the USHL, where he will man the pipes for the Fargo Force for a season or two. From there, it’s off to the University of North Dakota, where he is committed to play under coach Dave Hakstol.
A football player through his sophomore year of high school, Gothberg gave the sport up to focus on hockey. He excelled at Thief River Falls high school, recording three shutouts as a senior 1.81 goals against average and .925 save percentage.
As Gothberg makes saves on top prospects and continues to display behavior that strays from his position’s norm, he may gain more attention among fans and reporters alike, though he understands he won’t draw attention like Seguin or 2008 first-rounder Joe Colborne. Either way, he’s alright with it.
“There’s been a couple of reporters on me and stuff, which is good, but every guy in this room deserves to have an interview or two here too,” Gothberg said. “It’s pretty easy to fall under the radar, but it’s alright.”
|07.08.10 at 3:07 pm ET|
|07.08.10 at 1:26 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Sporting an air case on his right arm, injured center David Krejci spoke with contained optimism as he updated reporters on his progress recovering from an injury that left both him and and the Bruins helpless in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He said Thursday that he plans to be ready for training camp upon getting screws removed from his wrist in a month. Krejci has frequented Ristuccia Arena as he continues to recover from the injury suffered in the third game of the series.
“I’ve been doing rehab for the past month and it’s going good so far, so hopefully it will go that way,” Krejci said. “I’m going to have surgery in [four weeks] to take the screws out and after that I should be able to go on the ice and start lifting much heavier weights than I’m used to right now.
“I’m really excited,” he later added. “It feels pretty good right now but it’s not 100 percent.”
Krejci had surgery on the wrist in early May and began his rehab a month ago. He plans on being ready to go after another month, meaning he should be at 100 percent well before Bruins training camp opens on September 17.
Though he said Thursday that he is “looking forward to being in the best shape possible,” such a positive view may have been a little more difficult to take on the night of his injury, a hit from Flyers center Mike Richards.
“It hurt,” Krejci said. “I tried to ice it but then when I had to go on the ice, I couldn’t lift it, so I knew there was something wrong.”
Following x-rays, it became apparant that the wrist would recquire immediate surgery, but it didn’t play out like that. Because the injury occurred early in the first period of the game, Krejci actually had to wait until the game was over so the doctor on hand could tend to him without putting other players in the game at risk. This led to Krejci spending the rest of the game in a room by himself. Though the Bruins eventually won the game, 4-1, the other events of the night seem to stand out more so for Krejci.
“I was sitting in some little room. No TV, nothing, so I couldn’t watch the game,” Krejci said, almost in disbelief all over again.
The doctor and Krejci then waited for the arena to empty so they could leave, but they ended up stuck in traffic. Eventually the surgery was performed and the 24-year-old has proven to have a steady recovery to this point. Now that he’s nearly done with the healing process, Krejci is eager to put the injury and the series — a seven-game defeat — in the past.
“It’s a new year,” Krejci said. “Everybody starts from basically nothing and I’m really excited.”
|07.08.10 at 11:14 am ET|
A source has told WEEI.com that the Bruins and restricted free agent Mark Stuart are “very close” to reaching a one-year deal. Stuart recently chose against filing for arbitration, as he felt comfortable enough that he would be able to come to agreement with the Bruins.
In 56 games this past season, the defenseman had two goals, five assists and racked up 80 penalty minutes. He set a career high in points in the 2008-2009 season with 17.
|07.07.10 at 5:00 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Boston College defenseman and Simsbury, Conn., native Tommy Cross knows all about Bruins development camp. Sort of.
The 6-foot-3, 209-pounder was the Bruins’ second-round pick in the 2007 NHL draft after the team traded up to the 35th overall spot in order to secure him. Since he was selected in ’07, the first year the Bruins began running the camp, he has been eligible for each and every one of them. His right knee, however, has unfortunately dictated his participation, just as it has effected much of his hockey career.
Playing baseball in 2007, Cross slid into third base and injured the knee, which has since been operated on three times. As a result, he was on crutches for his first two camps (he did not attend in ’08), and could only work out and skate by himself for last summer’s camp. Those sessions were his first on the ice in six months. Though the knee has put a damper on his attempts to impress both BC and the Bruins, he enters this camp with something he has learned not to take for granted: health.
“Just to think a year ago I was skating in between sessions,” Cross said Wednesday. “The guys were in the locker room, [and] I’d go out and skate laps. I think they gave me a puck one day. That was my excitement. To be out there with the guys and be able to do the drills … the fans in the stands, the kids chanting, it’s just awesome. I certainly don’t take it for granted and it’s as fun as it gets.”
Though he ended his freshman year at BC, the ’08-09 season, off the ice with one of his three injuries to his right knee meniscus, Cross has been on a positive trail of late. He played a mostly healthy sophomore season with the Eagles in which he racked up 10 points (5 G, 5 A) and 36 penalty minutes. He led exercises at Tuesday’s team-building activities and enjoys what he feels is a close group of prospects at camp.
“No matter what you do, no matter how involved you say, there’s something about being out on the ice with your teammates and going through the ups and downs that you miss out on. I’ve experienced that when I’ve missed games, I missed long periods of time the end of my freshman year (12 games), but certainly this past season I was healthy [for] all but three games over the course of three weeks. Even in those three weeks I was skating, so I was still involved.”
Assistant general manager Don Sweeney noted that the team has been impressed with what they have been able to see out of the defenseman over the last season. Sweeney said that Cross deserves “a lot of that credit” for being able to go from injured to a solid prospect once again.
“Things have come in fits and starts with him,” Sweeney said. “It’s been a frustrating situation for him. He’s worked awfully hard to overcome a lot of lose adversities and put himself in a situation where he’s added a lot of strength to take advantage of the situations of being able to skate and be healthy enough to do things that he’s accustomed to doing.”
Now that the issues involving the knee are seemingly in the past, Cross gets to set about showing his promise as a blue-liner to the Bruins. Though many players come back as different players in some way, shape or form, following an injury or multiple injuries, Cross has kept the same work ethic and mindset.
“I don’t think I’ve changed anything. I think it’s made me better. A better person, a better player. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. I’m here now, I’m healthy, and I think that’s all that matters.”
|07.07.10 at 4:04 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Though the first day of on-ice activities for Bruins prospects at development camp featured 26 hopefuls on display, second overall pick Tyler Seguin attracted much of the attention. Those in attendance at Ristuccia Arena frequently chanted his name and cheered or moaned depending on whether he scored in drills. Though he has dealt with the hype and fanfare for much of his young playing career, Seguin refused to count himself as a member of the Bruins squad for when the season opens in October, which he pointed out Tuesday (‘I’m not looking at the situation [as] just because I went high in the draft, I make the team.'”)
Though he finally got to skate in a Bruins uniform after months of buildup, Seguin noted that he will not sit back and take it in until he has established himself as a presence in the NHL.
“It feels nice, but nothing’s settled in,” Seguin said. “Everything will settle in when I’m a year or two into my career. That’s when I can sit back, relax, and say, ‘I have a spot on this team.’ Right now I’m just trying to impress the scouts in the stands.”
Seguin looked good in his first day of drills, and having added six pounds since the end of the OHL he said that he feels both stronger and faster. He plans to add six more before training camp kicks off.
Though one shouldn’t read much into drills, on the ice he appeared to be every bit the player he was in Plymouth, as he placed wrist and snap shots wherever he wanted while also setting up the other forwards in offensive drills. He skated with 2009 first-rounder Jordan Caron to his right and 2010 32nd overall pick Jared Knight on the left in three-on-two drills.
As for the screaming of his name — which happened so often that he and his teammates were smirking as they skated off the ice to its final chorus — Seguin was merely impressed the children lined up against the boards got his name right.
“Usually if anyone’s talking about me it’s like Seguini or Seegin or something,” Seguin said with a laugh. “These guys, they have it right on point.”
|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.