|Early training camp observations: Jimmy Hayes on left wing with Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak skates with David Krejci||09.18.15 at 3:29 pm ET|
The Bruins began their on-ice training camp sessions Friday at TD Garden in anticipation of Sunday night’s preseason opener. Predictably, Friday saw more change than Septembers past, both from personnel and strategic standpoints.
Here are some observations from the first day of camp:
– As expected, Dennis Seidenberg did not take part in Friday’s sessions. The 34-year-old defenseman is dealing with an upper-body injury that is expected to keep him off the ice for a few days.
– Breakouts were the name of the game Friday, as the B’s got right to work on implementing Claude Julien‘s changes.
In running through the breakouts, one defenseman fed the other behind the goal line before jumping to the front of the net. The strongside D then sent the puck up (both to the center and up the wall to the wing were practiced) and the three forwards, who were joined by the weakside D, raced up the ice as a four-man attack.
While the changes may take some getting used to, forwards and defensemen expressed their excitement for the quicker pace and, hopefully, increased scoring chances.
– As for who will play where, the three groups presented some interesting possibilities. The most notable trio was David Krejci between Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak. Such a trio would keep a bit of snarl to left of Krejci after Milan Lucic‘s departure while teaming a pair of Czechs in Krejci and Pastrnak.
Loui Eriksson, a left-shot right wing who could play left wing this season, skated on the right wing of a line with Alexander Khokhlachev and Jake DeBrusk.
Jimmy Hayes, a right-shot right wing with experience on both sides, played left wing on a line with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly. That line could certainly be in consideration for a longer look.
The right wing fortunate enough to play Ringo to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron‘s John and Paul was… first-round project Zach Senyshyn. Consider that line more of a fantasy camp-type scenario than an indication that the 15th overall pick is anything close to a first-line NHL forward.
– Defensively, Zdeno Chara and Zach Trotman were paired together. The duo played together at points last season, including late in the season while Dougie Hamilton was out with broken ribs. Other pairs included Joe Morrow with Kevan Miller and Linus Arnesson with Colin Miller.
– With the NHL changing its overtime format to 3-on-3 and a shootout rather than 4-on-4 and a shootout, the B’s spent time scrimmaging 3-on-3. Julien, who used one defenseman and three forwards in 4-on-4 the last two seasons, sent out looks of either three forwards or one defenseman and two forwards.
– The second session saw the day’s first injury scare. Zac Rinaldo caught goaltender Zane McIntyre in the face with his stick during 3-on-3s, seemingly cutting the goaltender above the eye in the process. McIntyre went to the bench to get patched up, though he returned to drills in short order.
– Senyshyn led off the third session’s shootout by beating Tuukka Rask. Malcolm Subban was beaten by both Seth Griffith and Jake DeBrusk in the first session’s shootout, though he did stop the other shooter he faced in Eriksson.
|Jimmy Hayes looks forward to ‘Black Mass’ despite family’s Whitey Bulger story||09.17.15 at 3:34 pm ET|
Folks around the country are excited to see “Black Mass,” the movie adaptation of Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s book about the relationship between Whitey Bulger and the FBI, yet there are plenty of reasons for Boston natives to pass on the film. For some, the story of Whitey Bulger hits close to home.
“Yeah, I’m aware,” Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes said slowly on Thursday.
Hayes was either 4 or 5 years old when Bulger and his associates allegedly kidnapped his father, Kevin, back in 1994. The group was said to have taken him to a house where three people allegedly had been killed by the notorious gangster previously. Kevin Hayes later testified that he was led to a basement with a tarp on the floor and told that he would be killed if he did not pay a sizable ransom. Bulger associate Kevin Weeks allegedly demanded $100,000 from Hayes, a ticket broker and bookmaker, though an agreement was reached that Hayes would pay a smaller lump sum in addition to regular payments of $1,000. Bulger was found not guilty of extortion in the matter when tried in 2013.
Jimmy doesn’t remember when he first learned of his father’s frightening encounter with Bulger. Given the subject’s sensitivity, it’s hard to blame him for putting it out of his mind.
“It is what it is. It’s not uncomfortable, it’s just … you grow up and you learn more and more,” Jimmy said, adding, “a lot of people have stories.”
Despite Hayes’ family’s story, Jimmy won’t hesitate to see the movie. Born and raised in Dorchester and educated at Boston College, the 25-year-old said he loves movies with a local flavor.
“I just love seeing movies about the city of Boston,” he said. “I mean, I’m really proud to be from Boston, like any other person from Boston. It’s a lot of fun seeing movies and seeing where they take place. When ‘The Town’ was in there, they did some shooting near my hometown. Just to know that I grew up hanging around some of the areas where they had the shoots and stuff was a pretty cool experience.”
“Black Mass,” which stars Johnny Depp as Bulger, opens nationally Friday. Steven Davis, the brother of Bulger victim Debra Davis, appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday. Click here to listen to Davis’ interview.
|Bruins will experiment with Loui Eriksson, Jimmy Hayes as potential left wings||09.17.15 at 2:37 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson will have a new line as he takes on life without Carl Soderberg. There’s also a good chance he’ll have a new (old) position.
A left-shot right wing, Eriksson may see quite a bit of time at left wing due to a large group of right wings that includes Eriksson, David Pastrnak, Brett Connolly and Jimmy Hayes. The same goes for Hayes, a right shot who can play left wing.
Both Eriksson and Hayes have experience playing the left side, though both are years removed from doing it. Eriksson was used at left wing during his time with the Stars, while Hayes played left wing a couple years back in Chicago.
Don Sweeney said Thursday that the team will experiment with both players in training camp as it tries to find line combinations.
“We’re excited with Loui having the versatility that he does to play both positions,” Sweeney said. ‘Clearly, the production was back for him last year. We need to have that with him, so we need to put him in situations with other guys, and we’re going to play around with the combination piece of that. I think Jimmy Hayes will probably play both sides. We’re going to experiment a little bit with guys at different positions.”
It’s likely at least one of Eriksson or Hayes will be a left wing this season. There’s something of a dropoff at the position after Brad Marchand and Matt Beleskey, though center Chris Kelly could play there if he doesn’t center the fourth line.
|Upper-body injury will keep Dennis Seidenberg off ice for opening days of Bruins training camp||09.17.15 at 2:24 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will not be on the ice for the opening days of training camp, as the 34-year-old is dealing with an upper-body injury suffered in training.
General manager Don Sweeney shared the news on Thursday following the team’s off-ice testing. He noted that Seidenberg is the only player of the team’s 60-man camp roster that is not expected to be ready to go.
“Dennis Seidenberg will not likely skate of the next few days,” he said. “He reported to our trainers on Monday with an upper-body injury from training, and our doctors have chosen to take a conservative approach and re-evaluate day-to-day.”
Seidenberg had been skating with his teammates at informal skates at Ristuccia Arena in recent weeks. He was spotted on the ice briefly on Tuesday, though he did not participate in a scrimmage that took up the vast majority of the session.
Though his 2013-14 season was cut short by a torn ACL, Seidenberg played in all 82 games last season for the Bruins.
|Bruins announce training camp roster||09.16.15 at 6:47 pm ET|
The Bruins announced their 60-player roster for training camp on Wednesday. Camp opens with off-ice testing Thursday, with the team taking the ice the following day in anticipation of Sunday’s preseason opener.
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is the team’s only player in camp on a professional tryout. Lee Stempniak, who had been participating in informal skates with Bruins players in recent weeks, will attend the Devils’ camp on a PTO.
The Bruins’ camp roster is as follows:
Forwards: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Patrice Bergeron, Anton Blidh, Anthony Camara, Colby Cave, Andrew Cherniwchan, Brett Connolly, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Brandon DeFazio, Loui Eriksson, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Seth Griffith, Colton Hargrove, Jimmy Hayes, Justin Hickman, Chris Kelly, Joonas Kemppainen, Alex Khokhlachev, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Eric Neiley, David Pastrnak, Zack Phillips, Tyler Randell, Zac Rinaldo, Zach Senyshyn, Ben Sexton, Ryan Spooner, Max Talbot, Frank Vatrano
Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Chris Breen, Brandon Carlo, Chris Casto, Zdeno Chara, Tommy Cross, Max Everson, Max Iafrate, Matt Irwin, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg, Frankie Simonelli, Zach Trotman, Ben Youds, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Matthew Ginn, Jonas Gustavsson, Zane McIntyre, Tuukka Rask, Jeremy Smith, Malcolm Subban, Dan Vladar
|After skating with Bruins, free agent Lee Stempniak awaits call||09.15.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When players took the ice at Ristuccia Arena for an informal session Tuesday, former Bruin Daniel Paille was long gone. Having agreed to attend the Blackhawks’ camp on a professional tryout, Paille’s long offseason of waiting for a chance was over.
The same could not be said for free agent right wing Lee Stempniak, who was still skating with the Bruins Tuesday after spending recent weeks at either Ristuccia or Boston University preparing for the season.
Stempniak still hasn’t agreed to anything with a team, though it’s likely a PTO is in his near future. The Dartmouth graduate, who has played for seven teams over his 10-year career, has lived in Boston with his now wife since he graduated college. Now 32 with a young family and looking for a job, Stempniak wouldn’t mind a shot with the Bruins.
“I think it would be a good fit. It’s a great organization,” Stempniak said. “I’ve heard great things. I’ve gotten to know some of the guys. I like them and have a lot of respect for some of their players, just the way they train, the way they play and as people. It’s definitely appealing, but for me, it’s sort of weighing the options. I’ve talked to more teams over the last couple of weeks and things have really picked up. [It’s about] finding the right opportunity at this point.”
Stempniak scored 15 goals last season between the Rangers and Jets over a combined 71 games. Though he’s on the back nine of his career, he is a more-than-servicable bottom-six forward with ample special teams experience. If he were to get a tryout with the Bruins, he would have his work cut out for him, given that the B’s already have a number of right wings in David Pastrnak, Loui Eriksson, Brett Connolly, Jimmy Hayes, Seth Griffith and Brian Ferlin. It’s likely the B’s will play Eriksson at left wing due to the abundance of righties.
This isn’t the first time Stempniak has waited to learn his fate. As a free agent last summer, he didn’t sign until late July, when he took a one-year deal with the Rangers. Back in 2010, Stempniak lasted until late August on the open market before re-signing with the Coyotes.
Though Stempniak has learned to expect the unexpected, the fact that he remains unsigned should still come as a surprise. After scoring six goals for the Jets in 18 regular-season games and then potting the Jets’ first playoff goal since the team’s return to Winnipeg, Stempniak figured he would be back with the Jets. Instead, the Jets opted to give their younger players a shot.
“I felt like I had a good year and a strong finish to the season,” he said. “I was hoping to go back to Winnipeg. I liked it there. It’s a great hockey city, a a great organization and I thought it was a good fit. It didn’t work out for one reason or another, and I’m just looking [for] the next thing. I’ve been on quite a few teams over the course of my career. Change is something I’m used to.”
Camps open across the NHL on Thursday. Given that Stempniak is good for 10-15 goals, he figures to be at one of them. That doesn’t make it any less stressful as the clock continues to tick.
“For me, it’s sort of out of sight, out of mind a little bit,” he said. “It’s hard. I have a young family, so it’s not just a matter of packing up and moving. I haven’t changed how I’ve prepared at all. I’m just preparing for training camp on Thursday. Right now, it’s just figuring out where will that be.”
|Simon Gagne announces retirement||09.15.15 at 1:05 pm ET|
Simon Gagne announced his retirement Tuesday. The 35-year-old forward’s career ended with a 23-game stint with the Bruins last season.
“Today, I want to thank my trainers and teammates,” Gagne said in a statement. “You inspired me to surpass myself. You made me understand that you need more than talent; it takes sacrifice and discipline and you need to work harder than your rivals. I also wish to thank my fans. Every evening, you energized me and inspired me to perform.”
Gagne played 822 games over 15 seasons in the NHL, scoring 291 goals and adding 310 assists for 601 points. He spent 11 seasons with the Flyers over two stints in Philadelphia.
Following his second stint with the Flyers, Gagne took a professional tryout with the Bruins last fall before signing with the team early in the season. He had three goals and one assist before leaving the team to be with his family in the final weeks of his father’s life. Gagne’s father died of liver cancer in late December, two weeks after Gagne took a leave of absence from the team.