|Tuukka Rask has ‘no doubt’ Tim Thomas will be successful with Panthers||09.18.13 at 5:53 pm ET|
With the Panthers brining in Tim Thomas to give 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom a seasoned veteran from whom to learn, Tuukka Rask knows from experience that it could be a very good idea.
Thomas and Rask played three seasons together, with Thomas starting most of the games before taking last season off and opening the door for Rask to step in as the No. 1 goalie — a position he held late in the 2009-10 season before Thomas put up a Vezina season and took the B’s to a Stanley Cup championship a year later.
“He’s a great worker; he works hard every day, so I think that’s the part where younger goalies should take from him,” Rask said of Thomas. “Markstrom’s been around for a couple years, but I think he probably still wants to learn something new out of a veteran goalie, and Timmy is a good example of that. He works hard every day and makes you work harder every day. That’s what I got out of it and I think that’s what every goalie with Timmy will get out of it.”
Thomas is on a professional tryout with the Panthers, so he is not on their roster. If they like what they see and give him a deal, the Bruins could see Thomas back in town on Nov. 7.
“That’d be a media debacle going on if that happened,” Rask said. “I was happy to see him come back. I wasn’t going to be surprised if this happened, and it did. I’m hoping that he’s going to make the team and get a good contract and get a good year out of it.”
Given that he is 39 and didn’t play last season, there is certainly question as to whether Thomas can be anything close to the guy who turned in a record-setting 2010-11 season and followed with a strong 2011-12 season, his most recent. Yet if anyone can do it, Rask believes his former teammate can.
“Absolutely,” Rask said. “I don’t know too many goalies at this level who have done that to compare, but definitely if he wants to be good, he will be good. There’s no doubt about that. I don’t think it’s too big of an issue to take a year off and come back. I’m sure he kept himself sharp somehow and maybe saw some pucks. It’s not going to be that big of a deal to come back, but he’s definitely the guy to make it happen if somebody will.”
|Bruins make six cuts from training camp||09.18.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
There were no surprises as the Bruins made their first round of cuts Wednesday, as camp invites Scott Campbell, Jack Downing, Steven Spinell and Ben Youds will head to Providence training camp. Tyler Randell and Adam Morrison have also been assigned to Providence.
With those cuts made, the group of players in camp is still pretty big and will remain split into two groups. Here’s the total roster for now:
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Loui Eriksson, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Chris Kelly, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Matt Lindblad, Brad Marchand, Bobby Robins, Reilly Smith, Anthony Camara, Gregory Campbell, Craig Cunningham, Alex Fallstrom, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser, Jarome Iginla, Nick Johnson, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Carl SÃ¶derberg, Ryan Spooner, Shawn Thornton
Defensemen: Johnny Boychuk, Chris Casto, Dougie Hamilton, Mike Moore, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg, David Warsofsky, Matt Bartkowski, Zdeno Chara, Tommy Cross, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman,
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|Peter Chiarelli says Bruins want Dougie Hamilton in NHL, not AHL||09.18.13 at 4:19 pm ET|
The Bruins’ defensive picture got a little more interesting this preseason when Zach Trotman and Kevan Miller crashed a competition that was supposed to be between Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for two jobs in the Bruins’ lineup. Yet Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli stressed Wednesday that Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton have the edge in training camp and that he does not plan on sending Hamilton to the AHL.
The Bruins also need a seventh defenseman, so it is likely the B’s will keep all three players on the team. In that scenario, it is likely that Krug and Hamilton would be in the lineup, as Krug and not Hamilton is Bartkowski’s competition. Because there’s an opening for a left shot defenseman and an opening for a right shot defensemen, Krug and Bartkowski are competing for one while Hamilton, Trotman and Miller are competing for the other.
“We’re evaluating everybody,” Chiarelli said when asked if Trotman’s camp has him pushing Hamilton. “I think Miller’s been strong, too. Trotman had a real good rookie camp, and I thought he had a good game the other night. He got lost a little bit in the middle of the game, so we’re going to continue to evaluate those guys. The other D, too, but Trotman and Miller, for me, have stood out in the newcomer category also.
“As far as those D that played last year for us, no spot is guaranteed, but their body of work is greater than these other two, so I would have them ahead.”
Asked whether he would consider having Hamilton start the season in Providence, Chiarelli replied, “My goal is to have him in the NHL.”
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|Gregory Campbell: Playing Thursday a ‘realistic possibility’||09.18.13 at 12:52 pm ET|
Good news on the Gregory Campbell front, as the veteran center didn’t seemed bothered at all Wednesday in a training camp session packed with battle drills. Asked how he felt after the contact-heavy skate, Campbell said he is continuing to improve “day by day.”
It would appear that Campbell is both in game shape and physically capable to play in games after returning from a broken leg suffered in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins. With the Red Wings in town Thursday, Campbell said that the idea of him making his preseason debut in the game is a “realistic possibility.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Tim Thomas speaks: ‘I needed a break’||09.17.13 at 4:14 pm ET|
Speaking to the media for the first time since deciding to take last season off, former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who is currently on a professional tryout with the Panthers, said he simply “needed a break” last season and that not playing was the “right decision” for both him and his family.
Thomas, now 39, still had one year and $3 million in salary left on his contract last season, but he elected to sit out and was traded to the Islanders mid-season. He did not play for the Islanders, who had only traded for him so they could use his $5 million cap hit to get above the salary floor.
“I got tired and I needed a break,” Thomas said Tuesday of his decision. “Now I'm energized and I'm looking forward to it. I feel great.'
Regarding his decision to not play his final season in Boston, Thomas expressed no negative feelings. He also added that he was “so proud” of his former teammates during their run to the Stanley Cup finals in June, and that watching them inspired him to return to the NHL.
“My time in Boston was great,” he said. “I was very fortunate to have the type of personal and team success there, great teammates.”
As for his decision to not attend the White House in 2012 to meet the President the year after he led the B’s to a Stanley Cup victory, Thomas did not elaborate on what he said at the time, which was that political differences led to him skipping the trip in controversial fashion.
“I didn't want to lie and say I was sick,” Thomas said. “I thought I gave, from my viewpoint, a very honest assessment of the situation.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|With Zach Trotman emerging, B’s young D competition isn’t limited to three||09.17.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With two spots in the lineup and three spots on the roster up for grabs on the Bruins’ blue line, it was logical to assume that the competition would be down to three people: Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton. Now, they have company.
In a preseason in which many were eager to see which forward would shine and take the third-line right wing spot, it’s been defenseman Zach Trotman who has been the standout player at a position that wasn’t really begging for more NHL candidates. Trotman, a 23-year-old right shot defenseman with a serious slap shot, was the darling of rookie camp and began training camp paired with Zdeno Chara. He’s made the most of every opportunity so far in camp, scoring in the third period of Monday’s exhibition win over the Canadiens.
On Tuesday, Julien said that the discussion of which young defensemen will make the team has expanded past the trio of Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton to now include Trotman and former University of Vermont blueliner Kevan Miller.
“There’s no doubt there are a lot of guys that are in that conversation,” Claude Julien said Tuesday. “Miller played well last night. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s not the [most notable] offensive guy, but defensively he did a great job. There’s lots of guys right now that we have to have a real close look at because we’re going to need some depth down the road when you have some injuries.”
Who would be the odd man out if Trotman or Miller were to make the team? Likely Hamilton. Last postseason, Hamilton’s chances of getting into the lineup were hampered by the fact that Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg (all of whom were injured at various points) were all left-handed shots. That caused the right-handed Hamilton to get passed over in favor of Krug and Bartkowski, both of whom are lefties.
It seemed that Hamilton being a right shot would help him in camp, as Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk are the only two veteran righties on the back end, meaning that Hamilton had the inside track for one job while Bartkowski and Krug would battle for Ference’s old job. Now, with Trotman (and Miller to a lesser extent) pushing for a job, Hamilton is one of three righties in the mix for that spot.
Following the season, the idea of the now-20-year-old Hamilton potentially starting the season in the AHL seemed possible, but only if the B’s had another right-shot option. With Trotman impressing, it makes that scenario at the very least something the Bruins can entertain. It’s also worth considering that both Bartkowski, 25, and Krug, 22, are more developed than Hamilton and therefore won’t be as negatively impacted by potentially being the seventh defenseman. Hamilton is better off playing now — at either level — as opposed to going days and potentially weeks at a time without game action.
The biggest question with Trotman is a scarily condensed concussion history. He suffered three in a five-month span last season, but he hasn’t been limited in practices thus far in camp.
In addition to his mammoth shot, a plus for Trotman is his size. Hamilton is young and hasn’t had long off seasons the last two summers, so he hasn’t been able to add a ton of weight to fill out his frame. Trotman stands at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds.
Miller, who has skated with Bartkowski in camp, went undrafted but has spent the last two seasons in Providence. Last season, he had two goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 64 regular-season games, with five assists in nine playoff contests.
|Chad Johnson not making strong case for backup job||09.17.13 at 8:40 am ET|
Last year, it was a question of whether the backup could become the starter. Actually, it was a question of whether there would be hockey. But before and after that, it was a question of whether the backup could become the starter.
Now, with Tuukka Rask clearly a No. 1 goalie and certainly being paid like one, the only question the B's have in net is who will back up him up. As the games begin and training camp hits its second week, one of the most important jobs up for grabs remains just that.
The Bruins have two options to replace Anton Khudobin in Nicklas Svedberg and Chad Johnson, the latter of whom was signed on the opening day of free agency for $600,000, or $200,000 less than what Khudobin got when he departed Boston for Carolina in free agency. After a less-than-impressive first few days of camp, Johnson had a much-less-than-impressive performance in Monday's preseason opener against the Canadiens.
Johnson, 27, was given a one-way contract in the offseason with the hope that he could be like Khudobin: a guy who hadn't played more than 10 games in the NHL over the years, but was seasoned enough that he was ready for a backup role at the highest level.
On Monday, Johnson struggled right from the first shot he faced. The former Penguins fifth-round pick couldn't glove a shot from Louis Leblanc, letting the puck bounce off his glove to set up a Travis Moen goal. He was also beaten cleanly by a P.K. Subban shot that was far from the laser Tim Thomas likely still has nightmares about. Given that there wasn't much traffic and the shot was glove side, Johnson should have seen it the whole way and at least gotten his glove on it, but it cruised past him for the second of three goals he would allow on eight shots.
Johnson, who has played 10 career games and had strong performances in his time with the Coyotes last season, has been just as underwhelming in practice. He's got the right attitude and has had his hands full while practicing with a group that includes David Krejci's line, and the good news for him is that the B's should and likely will take their time in making their decision. That gives Johnson some time to settle down and shake out what seemed to be some pretty apparent jitters Monday night.
Monday's struggles aside, both Johnson and Claude Julien have said that after about a week of practices, games are where players will be able to separate themselves. In Julien's words, some players can be 'painful to watch' in practice and excel in games, or vice versa. Johnson agrees, but he still needs to find a place to excel.
'A lot of the stuff you do in practice really isn’t game situation style,' he said prior to Monday's game. 'Games are completely different. You have different momentum and different pressure throughout games. For the most part, you can’t really base a lot on practice. Obviously you want to have good practices — it carries over to the game — but for the most part it’s all about how you do in the games. That’s why you’ve got exhibitions here to kind of get in and show what you can do.'
Given Johnson's struggles, Svedberg, who was the AHL's top goaltender last season with Providence, should have the edge in the competition. Should Svedberg make the jump, Johnson would have to be paid his NHL salary at the AHL level, where he would likely split time with Malcolm Subban.
Julien, who admitted to not knowing much about the goalie prior to Peter Chiarelli signing him, recently defended Johnson. Julien said he liked what he had seen from the goaltender, who picked up a 21-save shutout against the Predators in one of his four starts last season.
'He's had some years in the minors and I think he's had some games in Phoenix and he's had some decent numbers and played well enough to consider signing him. Again I'm not going to sit here and say I was the one pushing for it because I haven't seen him play that much. Our pro scouts and Peter have watched and played enough that he certainly deserving of being brought into our organization and battling for that backup spot.'
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