Archive for June, 2012

Dougie Hamilton breaks down Malcolm Subban the defenseman

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

WILMINGTON – Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban will be connected by their shared status as top picks of the Bruins. Think of them as the Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne — two high-profile players taking part in 2010’s development camp — of this year. Unlike Seguin and Colborne, Hamilton and Subban’s connection goes a lot farther back.

Though they’ve only been the same organization for less than a week, Hamilton and Subban have shared the same ice since they were kids. As young players growing up in Ontario, the two often played against each other — both as defensemen, as Subban didn’t start playing goalie until he was 12. Since then, they’ve been OHL opponents, with Hamilton being a star player for the Niagara IceDogs and Subban between the pipes for the Belleville Bulls.

“I grew up always playing against him,” Hamilton said Thursday of Subban. “We were always in the same league, and we were talking [Wednesday] about the days when we were both defensemen. I still remember, we were both rushing defensemen, and in those games it was me and him.

“He probably could be here as a defenseman too, but he’s obviously a pretty good goalie, so it’s definitely fun to have him here.”

Given that both players have older brothers — Freddie Hamilton (Sharks) and P.K. Subban (Canadiens) — their parents even became friends from “always seeing each other at the rink,” according to Hamilton.

On the ice Thursday, Hamilton and Subban could be seen chatting from time to time, including during stretches in a photo-opportunistic scene in which the Bruins’ last two first-round picks grinned as they conversed.

For as long as they’ve known each other, Hamilton has known Subban’s talent, regardless of which position earned him his status as a first-round pick.

“As a D, he was pretty fast,” Hamilton said of the now netminding Subban. “He could skate and pretty much do everything. As a goalie, I haven’t seen him too much, but I know he’s pretty athletic and can make pretty spectacular saves and the easy ones as well. I’m excited to be here with him.”

Notes from Day 1 of development camp

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

WILMINGTON — The Bruins have wrapped up the first day of their development camp, with media availability finishing up just after 12:30 p.m. Here are some quick notes from the first day:

– The Bruins wouldn’t divulge the specifics on Alexander Khokhlachev’s situation. The 18-year-old forward for Windsor of the OHL is rumored to be headed for the KHL next season, but assistant general manager Don Sweeney said “those things aren’t set in stone.” Khokhlachev will speak Friday, while Peter Chiarelli is expected to eventually update the media on the 2011 second-round pick’s situation. Regardless of Khokhlachev’s plans for next season, Sweeney said he will be at training camp in September.

Dougie Hamilton has added some bulk, and though he said he has gotten bigger since last season, neither he nor the Bruins said his exact weight (he finished the OHL season at 198 pounds). Hamilton said, “depending on the scale right now, 205 to 200.” Sweeney noted Hamilton will be bigger for training camp.

– Something you probably wouldn’t ever expect in Boston until last week: As the players got off the ice, there was a “Subban! Subban!” chant. It was for first-round pick Malcolm Subban, of course. Subban was one of six goalies in attendance.

– The distinction of most interesting goalie mask goes to Adam Morrison, who has the likes of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons and Doug and Bob McKenzie from SCTV on his mask.

– The only player on the camp roster not in attendance was forward Alexander Fallstrom, who is injured.

Bruins kick off development camp

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

WILMINGTON — The Bruins opened their sixth annual development camp Thursday, as the team’s top prospects and other youngsters took the ice at Ristuccia Arena.

Among the players in attendance are Dougie Hamilton, Malcolm Subban, Alexander Khokhlachev, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. For the complete roster, click here. For some things to keep an eye on throughout the five-day camp, click here.

A look at the Hall-of-Fame career of Adam Oates

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Former Bruins’€™ great Adam Oates was named the head coach of the Capitals and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday in what will certainly be a day he will never forget.

Oates, who is sixth all-time in assists, spent 19 years in the NHL with seven different teams, including the Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Mighty Ducks and Oilers. While Oates is a 5-time all-star and recognized as one of the greatest playmakers in the modern NHL era, he never won a Stanley Cup in any of those 19 seasons.

However, Oates had many other highlights throughout his illustrious hockey career. Here is a list of Oates’€™ top-five highlights as a hockey player.

5) 1985 was a great year for Oates, who led his RPI hockey team to an NCAA championship and signed the richest rookie contract to that date (four years, $1 million) with the Red Wings. Oates broke school records that season with most assists in a season (60), and most points in a season (91) while scoring 31 goals in only 38 games. Oates was an NCAA first team All-American that season in which he cemented himself as one of the greatest college hockey players of all time.

4) In 2001-02, the 39-year-old Oates became the oldest player to lead the NHL in assists in a single season, when he finished the regular season with 64 of them in 80 games between the Capitals and the Flyers. Oates led the league in assists by a wide margin, as the second-best assist-man in the league was Jason Allison with 55. While Oates was traded to a Stanley Cup contender in the Flyers (the second seed in the Eastern Conference), his team was eliminated in the first round by the Senators in five games, destroying a chance at the cup for the aging star.

3) Oates had his best chance at a Stanley Cup in his second-to-last season in the NHL with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, when his team reached Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals only to fall to the Devils 3-0. Oates was tied with Petr Skyora for his team’€™s lead in scoring during the playoffs with four goals and nine assists in 21 games, but despite his effort, along with that of Conn Smythe trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Mighty Ducks could not get Oates his long-awaited Stanley Cup.

2) Oates teamed up with Brett Hull in the 1990-91 season to become one of the most dominant two-player tandems in NHL history. The ‘€œHull and Oates’€ combination combined for 246 points that season, and Hull won the Hart trophy during a year he scored 86 goals (an all-time record for right wingers). Oates scored 25 goals and tallied 90 assists in only 61 games that season, to finish third in points that season behind only Wayne Gretzky (163) and Hull (131). However, had he been healthy all season, he and Hull could have only added to already astounding production that year.

1) Oates’€™ best season in the NHL came with the Bruins in 1992-93, when he scored a career high 142 points (45 goals, 97 assists). With Cam Neely still suffering from his devastating knee injury, Oates, along with Joe Juneau and Ray Bourque, carried the Bruins to a first seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Bruins would eventually get swept by the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs despite Oates’€™ team-leading nine assists in four games.

Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was at Fenway Tuesday to take in a Red Sox game, and he took a few minutes to talk to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:

On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:

“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.

“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”

On the team giving three-year deals to line mates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille:

“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”

On the chemistry between fourth-liners:

“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”

On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:

“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”

Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.

Dougie Hamilton is bulking up… and coming to Boston?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The Bruins just may be adding another giant to their blueline this season.

Niagara IceDogs (OHL) general manager and head coach Marty Williamson told WEEI.com Tuesday that the team is not expecting to have defenseman Dougie Hamilton back next season. Hamilton, the Bruins’ ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, had 17 goals and 55 assists for 72 points in 50 games for the IceDogs while playing between 25-28 minutes a night and occasionally logging more than 30 minutes a game.

Junior-aged played (under 20 years old; Hamilton turned 19 this month) can play up to nine games with their NHL team and be sent back to their junior team without a year being burned off their entry-level deal, but Williamson thinks Hamilton, who will headline this week’s development camp, will have a much longer stay in Boston than that.

“He’s NHL-ready. I would not expect him back,” Williamson said. “I know Boston’s on a different program than some teams — they’re winning every year — and maybe that would factor in or something, but I think he’s definitely going to start with them. We’ll see how his NHL career starts, but I sure don’t anticipate him being back.”

Hamilton had 12 goals and 46 assists for 58 points in his draft year in 2010-11, but topped those numbers in 17 less games (he was suspended 10 games for an elbow to the head). Though Hamilton was already elite entering the season, Williamson said his 2011-12 performance was on another level.

“Just a lot of growth in his game,” the coach said of what Hamilton brought. “His decision-making, he really started to use his body with his size and strength to win battles. The year before he was a little more kind reckless to some extent, and he always used his stick, and now he’s really starting to use that body. He was the top defenseman in Canada in the CHL awards, and he did everything for us.”

One area of focus for the 6-foot-4 defenseman has been the process of filling out his frame. He began the season at 193 pounds but was able to finish the season at 198 pounds, with the coach saying that he’s understanding his frame more and “playing a big game.” Williamson noted that it’s easier to add pounds when one isn’t playing every day, and that he would expect Hamilton to be “damn close to that 205, 210″ pounds by the time training camp opens in September.

Williamson used Erik Gudbranson, the player the Panther’s chose third overall in the 2010 draft (after Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were drafted) to back up his point. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Gudbranson played 72 games last season as a rookie for Florida, putting up eight points (two goals, six assists).

“[Hamilton]’s tall and lean, but he’s very strong. I even think that at 200 pounds, he’ll be fine [in the NHL],” Williamson said. “When you look at a Gudbranson last year, he really wasn’t much more than that. Gudbranon’s a good, safe defenseman. I think Dougie’s got a lot more range to his game, that’s why I think he’ll be able to make that transition.

Hamilton was the 2011-12 recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy for the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman of the year and was one of the league’s top statistical offensive performers despite missing 18 games. While Williamson doesn’t think the Bruins expect him to run the power play right away, there is enough that he’ll bring to the table in his rookie year.

“I think there’s a growing period with him,” Williamson said. “I think he can be a very safe defenseman right off the bat. I was recently at a coaching seminar at the draft and [Bruins coaches] Geoff Ward and [Doug] Jarvis were there, and I think those are the expectations.

“I really don’t think he’s stepping in as the [power-play] quarterback kind of guy right off the bat. I think he’s a couple years away from that at the NHL level, but I think he can take up minutes, I think he can be safe in his own zone. I think he can add offense. If there’s an area where he’s still got a little bit of growth, it’s probably as that quarterback. I think the rest of his game is pretty solid, but I still think he’s got a little bit of growth. He’s got a good shot, but not maybe a pro, pro shot for a top-unit power play. I think there’s some growth there, that he’ll still develop.”

Bruins announce development camp roster

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Bruins announced their roster for this week’s development camp Monday, with the group headlined by prospects such as Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner, Jared Knight and 2012 first-round pick Malcolm Subban. The players attending are as follows:

Forwards: Darik Angeli, Anthony Camara, Colin Campbell, Daniel Carr, Justin Courtnall, Brian Ferlin, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Colton Hargrove, Alex Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Cody Payne, Ben Sexton, Wayne Simpson, Ryan Spooner

Defensemen: Matt Benning, Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Matthew Grzelcyk, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Robbie O’€™Gara, Zach Trotman

Goaltenders: Zane Gothberg, Parker Milner, Adam Morrison, Malcolm Subban, Niklas Svedberg, Lars Volden

Of the above group, Angeli, Campbell, Carr, Castro, Courtnall, Milner and Simpson are invitees.