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Did Nathan Horton’s separated shoulder limit him more than concussion? 09.12.11 at 12:02 pm ET
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BOLTON — One of the more interesting tidbits to emerge from Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli in the days following the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship was that Nathan Horton, who was shut down after his Game 3 concussion, had also been playing the latter part of the postseason with a separated shoulder.

On Monday, Horton talked about the shoulder for the first time of the preseason, saying that his recovery from the injury was just as big a deal as that of his concussion.

“It definitely was my shoulder too, as well as my concussion,” Horton said. “Now I feel good, I feel a lot better than I did. ‘€¦ We still have another month before the season starts, so I’ll be ready to go.”

Horton added that when he had to take a little longer before beginning workouts, it was because of the shoulder.

“I think so,” Horton said when asked whether the shoulder limited him more in the offseason than the concussion. “For a little bit there, for sure, I could have started a little bit earlier, but I took some time off. I guess that’s what happens during the playoffs, right? The season’s so long. Everyone battled through a lot of different injuries. I guess that’s what it’s all about. You want to do that, you want to be able to battle through. In the end, that’s all that matters. We won the Stanley Cup because of people battling through injuries.”

Horton suffered the injury in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, but it certainly wasn’t the notable thing he did in the Bruins’ 1-0. Horton scored the lone goal of the game, taking a pass from David Krejci and tipping it past Dwayne Roloson in the third period to send the B’s to the Stanley Cup finals. After a hit from Canucks’ defenseman Aaron Rome ended his postseason, he was able to remain around the team to celebrate the team’s championship.

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Shawn Thornton speaks out against those ‘exploiting’ deaths of Rick Rypien, Wade Belak 09.12.11 at 11:37 am ET
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BOLTON — Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Monday at the team’s annual golf tournament that he doesn’t care much for the connections some have made between hits to the head (including those sustained in fights) and the suicides of NHL players Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, as well as the death — an accidental overdose — of Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard.

“It kind of [expletive] pisses me off that people take this opportunity to try and exploit a certain part of the game,” Thornton said. “I think those are very, very sad instances, but I don’t think taking it as an opportunity to exploit part of the game is the way to go. Remember the people, the men they were, not what they did for a living.”

Both Rypien and Belak had been battling depression prior to their deaths. Belak was recently retired, but was found dead late last month after hanging himself. Since then, the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (something players suffering multiple blows to the head are subject to) has been brought up by those wondering whether there could be a connection between blows to the head and eventual depression.

Last season, Thornton led the Bruins with 122 penalty minutes.

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How hockey’s horrific offseason impacted Gregory Campbell 09.09.11 at 7:01 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — This time of year, hockey players are used to mostly talking shop. The usual stuff: what shape they’re in, what they learned in the previous season, etc.

This year’s different, though. As hockey starts up again, the game can move on from, but not forget, what has been a devestating summer. Gregory Campbell had to remember fallen friends, smiling only when he could talk shop.

“When he got on the ice, he was like a robot. That guy blocked more shots than anybody I think I’ve seen in my life,” Campbell said of Karlis Skrastins, one of the former NHL players who died in Wednesday’s KHL plane crash. “He had wrist guards, and literally armor underneath his hockey equipment. He was such a warrior on the ice. It was almost contridictory, because he was so gentle off the ice and such a good person.”

Yet as far as anecdotes can take someone mourning multiple losses, Campbell often found himself repeating one word that was used far too often over the summer: tragic.

The sad streth for the sport began during the conference finals, when Rangers tough guy Derek Boogaard died of an accidental drug overdose. Jets forward Rick Rypien committed suicide in August, and newly retired enforcer Wade Belak hanged himself two weeks ago. It was already a gloomy time for the game, but the most horrific blow came Wednesday when a plane carrying the entire KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl killed 43 people, including nine former NHL players.

Given the astoundingly large number of players who perished over the offseason, it’s hard to find a player throughout the league who wasn’t personally impacted by the tragic events the summer held. On Thursday, Zdeno Chara grieved over the loss of close friend Pavol Demitra. On Friday, it was Campbell’s turn.

“I feel like the whole hockey community is really a family, and the longer you play the game, the more players you meet, the more players you play with,” he said. “That’s one unique thing about sports, is you do get to interact with so many different people along your career. … For the hockey family, so to speak, to lose as many members as we did in one summer is really just tragic. I don’t think that there’s ever been a summer like this.”

The summer, which featured Campbell’s day with the Stanley Cup, already had a dark cloud of it prior to Wednesday, as he was close friends with Belak (“I still kept in contact with him,” Campbell said) from the two seasons that they were teammates in Florida. Then Wednesday’s plane crash occured, taking the lives of former Panthers teammates Ruslan Salei and Skrastins.

“Karlis was just the nicest man that I’ve ever met in my life,” Campbell said. “He was really, really soft-spoken. Quiet, but just a gentle, kind person.”

“Rusty was a jokester. He was always the first guy at the card table, one of the louder guys on the team,” he said of Salei. “Guys would tease him as a grumpy old man, but that was in a total joking manner. At heart he was a really good guy, and that was his way of expressing his affection to other people.”

A player with strong family values (he had father Colin on the ice in Vancouver when the B’s won the Stanley Cup), Campbell expressed his sympathies to the families of all the players who died too young. As hard a summer as it’s been for the game, he does feel there is a lesson to be learned amidst the sorrow.

“On the hockey front, we really have to appreciate it and have respect for what we do and how lucky we are,” Campbell said. “More importantly, on the life side of things, you have to appreciate life and appreciate what’s important in life. In sports, there’s often lots of ups and downs, but that doesn’t compare to the times you spend with your family and the people close to you. That’s what you have to appreciate and savor.”

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Dougie Hamilton brings a few more pounds to rookie camp 09.09.11 at 3:00 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — It hasn’t been long since we last saw ninth overall pick Dougie Hamilton, but the young defenseman made sure that his second impression on Ristuccia Arena was different.

Hamilton, 18, worked to address the area he’s been asked about non-stop since he was selected by the Bruins in June: his weight. The Niagara Ice Dog added six pounds since July’s development camp, weighing in at 194 pounds on Friday as rookie camp opened for the Bruins.

“I’ve gained a couple pounds, and I’m the same height,” the 6-foot-5 Hamilton said. “It’s something that I’m kind of focusing on and working on, so I’m pretty happy.”

Players generally don’t need to note where they stand height-wise, but Hamilton was still growing when he was last in town. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli noted over summer that Hamilton had grown between a quarter of an inch and half an inch from the end of the season to development camp.

Wherever Hamilton is size-wise these days, it likely won’t be the same when he becomes an NHL regular, which is more likely to happen later rather than sooner. The common line of thinking is that he’ll need another year in the OHL to bulk up and polish his skill set, with Chiarelli saying in July that 210 pounds would be a “great” playing weight for Hamilton.

For now, the Bruins are simply pleased with the progress Hamilton has been able to make in such a short period of time, as was discussed by assistant general manager Jim Benning after Friday’s double-session.

“He looked real good today, I thought. He’s skating well,” Benning said of Hamilton. “From the summer, he weighed in at 188. He was 194 today, so he put on five, six pounds of muscle. He’s a young player and he’ll continue to get stronger and bigger. He’s going to be a good player. It’s just going to be a matter of time with him.”

Hamilton seems to understand what “matter of time” means, but he isn’t entering camp thinking he’s a sure thing to return to the OHL. After using development camp as a getting-to-know-you period, Hamilton wants to use rookie camp to show the Bruins that even if he doesn’t make the team this year, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with some day.

“I just want to come in and play my best. Obviously there’s a lot of good d-men [on the NHL roster], but I think I’m just going to show my stuff and what I can do,” Hamilton said. “Whatever they want to do with me, that’s what I’ll do.”

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Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner hit the ice as Bruins rookie camp begins 09.09.11 at 12:24 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — With the last veterans’ practice for the next few days (they’ll return to the ice Tuesday) completed, the Bruins began their rookie camp Friday at Ristuccia Arena. A couple of guys from last year’s group made the big club (Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron), so it will be interesting to see who stands out amongst the youngsters with an NHL spot potentially to be had.

Here’s the roster:

FORWARDS: Anthony Camara, Carter Camper, Craig Cunningham, Dylan Hood, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Kyle MacKinnon, Adam Presizniuk, Tyler Randell, Calle Ridderwall, Yannick Riendeau, Ryan Spooner, Conor Stokes.

DEFENSEMEN: Ryan Button, Marc Cantin, Charlie Dodero, Dougie Hamilton, Zach Hamilton, Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky.

GOALTENDERS: Jared DeMichiel, Michael Hutchinson.

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Nathan Horton takes the ice 09.09.11 at 11:29 am ET
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WILMINGTON — There were a couple of notable additions to the group for the Bruins’ second veterans practice, as both Nathan Horton and Tuukka Rask took to the ice Friday at Ristuccia Arena. Newly re-signed defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk was also  present.

For Horton, it’s a sign that he wasn’t kidding when he said a couple weeks ago that he would be ready for camp. Coming off a concussion and separated shoulder, Horton didn’t seem limited throughout the session.

Rask is coming off arthoscopic knee surgery, and as the only goaltender on the ice, was not limited.

The two most significant absences remain Patrice Bergeron (who’s in New York) and Tim Thomas. Still no sign of Benoit Pouliot.

Players spotted on the ice: Horton, Rask, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Sean Thornton, Andrew Ference, Johnny Boychuk, Steve Kampfer, Zdeno Chara, Tyler Seguin, Adam McQuaid, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Joe Corvo, Max Sauve, Jamie Arniel, Colby CohenChris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Bodnarchuk, Gregory Campbell.

Check out the Bruins’ new Stanley Cup statue 09.09.11 at 10:28 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Something was different about the familiar walk into Ristuccia Arena Friday morning, as a statue commemorating the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship in June now sits to the left of the entrance. It arrived Friday, and is certainly worth checking out if you ever take in a B’s practice. It features the results of each series, as well as a reminder as to which Bruin took home the Conn Smythe. Word is the trophy was donated.

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