|Claude Julien on Rangers: ‘Let’s go at it’||01.19.13 at 12:39 pm ET|
For the most part, the Bruins have a relatively easy schedule for the first third or so of the season. They’ll only face two teams that made the playoffs last season in their first 15 games, but one of them is the Rangers, and they’ll face them three times.
To narrow it down even more, the Bruins will face the Rangers twice in their first three games of the 48-game season. The B’s and Rangers are two popular favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference this season, as the B’s no longer have the Stanley Cup hangover excuse, while the Rangers have added six-time 30-goal-scorer Rick Nash to a roster that grabbed the top seed in the East last season.
That means both teams will have a couple of big tests right off the bat, and could easily begin the season with two early losses if they aren’t sharp enough. Claude Julien said after Saturday’s morning skate that he embraces the challenge.
“I don’t know if I feel more weight; I think I like that opportunity,” Julien said. “I really do. I’d rather play one of the best teams in the conference than not. And right now let’s go at it. Like I said, we’re both at the same stage where we’ve had six days of training camp. Let’s go at it. You know, we go at it again on Wednesday. So there’s no issue from my end of it, and as I’ve always said you control what you can and control your team and the schedule is made and then you go with it.”
Tuukka Rask, who will get the nod in net for the B’s Saturday, said that he expects the Rangers to be a difficult opponent with the addition of Nash, but that he expects every game to be a challenge.
“You know what? It doesn’t matter who you play against in this league,” he said. “Every team has good players, and everybody knows they added him during the offseason. They’ve got some power up front, so we’ve just got to be aware of that and get ready.”
|Dougie Hamilton ready for NHL debut||01.19.13 at 12:20 pm ET|
It’s cliche to say that every young hockey player dreams of one day being in the NHL, but it’s true. Dougie Hamilton will finally realize his dream when he takes the ice Saturday night at TD Garden against the Rangers.
Hamilton, 19, comes into the NHL with some big expectations. The 6-foot-5 blueliner was drafted with the ninth overall pick in 2011 and dominated the OHL last season with 72 points (17 goals, 55 assists) in 50 games.
Maybe Hamilton will deal with nerves (often times veterans will tell young players to try to hit someone as soon as possible on their first shift to get it out of their system and get comfortable), or maybe there will just be excitement. Hamilton doesn’t know exactly what it will feel like, but he’s guessing he’ll like it.
“I’m sure I’ll have a smile on my face,” Hamilton said after Saturday’s morning skate. “It’s a dream come true for me. The opportunity is really special, and I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Hamilton’s parents will be in town for the Ontario native’s debut after catching brother Freddie Hamilton‘s game for the Worcester Sharks Friday night. Dougie didn’t go to Friday’s Worcester game, electing to rest up for what figures to be a big day. Though he may have felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, Hamilton said he “slept great.”
Claude Julien hasn’t hidden the fact that he has quite a bit of faith in the 19-year-old. In addition to putting him on an important pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, Julien has trusted Hamilton with a spot on the team’s second power-play unit.
This is the same coach who took heat (much of it unfair) for not playing Tyler Seguin enough on the power play in his rookie year, but Julien clearly likes what Hamilton brings to the table even as a rookie, and he wants to see as much of it right away as possible.
If the mistakes come from the rookie, they come. Julien would rather Hamilton play his game and learn as he goes than take a timid approach.
“If he’s still here, it’s because he’s good enough to play,” Julien said of Hamilton. “I think you’ve got to allow players to go out there and play. You’ve heard me say that before: Go out there and play. I’d rather pull him back than have to push him. So he’s got to go out there with confidence, and he’s got to go out there knowing that we have the confidence in him, and just play his game.”
Hamilton projects to be a top-pairing defenseman one day and has drawn comparisons to former Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake. He still needs to fill out his frame (he’s a bit lanky at 199 pounds, though both Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara have each gained 20 or more pounds since coming into the league as rookies) and adjust to the physical demands of the league, among other things, but Julien looks at Hamilton’s game and sees NHL experience as the only thing missing.
“He’s a pretty good all-around defenseman. What he’s got to do is gain some experience, and that will only come with time,” Julien said. “I think we all know he’s got the size, we all know he can move the puck well. We all know he skates well, we all know he’s got great hockey sense, so where is his weakness? I don’t think he has a weakness more than the only weakness he has is his lack of experience. We’ve got to allow him to get that.
“We like where he is, we like what he’s brought so far, and you’ve seen lots of guys come in the league the same way he has and do well, and we expect him to be that guy.”
|Adam McQuaid cleared to play, no surprises in morning skate||01.19.13 at 11:40 am ET|
Everybody was on the ice and the lines and defensive pairings were as expected as the Bruins held their morning skate in anticipation of Saturday’s season opener against the Rangers.
Claude Julien said that Adam McQuaid has been given clearance to play after recovering from blood clot surgery over the last few months, so expect to see him in the lineup.
In a bit of obvious news, Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, meaning he’ll get the nod in net for the B’s. Depth guys Lane MacDermid, Jay Pandolfo and David Warsofsky were also on the ice, meaning everyone was accounted for at the skate.
Based on morning skate, the lines, defensive pairings and goaltenders are as follows:
|Bruins hold off-ice workouts||01.18.13 at 12:00 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins stayed off the ice Friday at Ristuccia Arena, taking a day for off-ice workouts after skating for the previous five days. Only Jordan Caron (out with an upper-body injury) and Milan Lucic (who missed Thursday’s practice due to the birth of his daughter) took the ice, which had to be disappointing for those in the packed stands.
The Bruins will kick off the season Saturday at TD Garden against the Rangers, marking the first game of their 48-game schedule. Two of the Bruins’ first three games will come against the Rangers, who finished first in the Eastern Conference last regular season and added power forward Rick Nash in a trade with the Blue Jackets.
“I think it’s a good want to start for us,” Claude Julien said. “It’s a team that I think a lot of people are predicting has a real good chance of winning a Stanley Cup, so we might as well get at it right away and play against a good team. If anything, it will certainly make us better quicker, and to me, it’s a great way to start.”
|Ryan Spooner, Matt Bartkowski among Bruins camp cuts||01.17.13 at 9:59 pm ET|
The Bruins cut down the number or players in camp Thursday night, announcing four player moves. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Ryan Spooner were assigned to Providence, forward Jamie Tardiff was waived with for the purpose of assignment to Providence and defenseman Aaron Johnson was sent to Providence on a conditioning loan.
The transactions leave forwards Chris Bourque and Lane MacDermid as well as defenseman David Warsofsky as the Providence players still in camp. Bourque is expected to begin the season on Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley’s line, with MacDermid and Jay Pandolfo left to battle for the extra forward spot. Pandolfo is in camp on a tryout.
The Bruins could recall Johnson from his conditioning stint. Should he remain in Providence, Warsofsky will begin the season as the team’s seventh defenseman.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Fan suffers cardiac episode at Bruins practice||01.17.13 at 1:31 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It was a very scary scene at Ristuccia Arena Thursday as one fan had a cardiac episode in the stands, stopping the Bruins’ practice and providing Terry Gardner to be an unlikely hero.
Gardner, an EMT, was watching practice from the stands when he heard somebody scream to call 911. He rushed over to the fan and recognized agonal breathing (gasping). He began performing chest compressions on him as uniformed paramedics showed up and used the defibrillator machine to determine that it was a cardiac episode before eventually reviving him and taking him to the hospital.
“It was a cardiac episode,” Gardner explained. “The [defibrillator] picked up a shockable rhythm on him, which means that it was a cardiac issue. It obviously wasn’t a seizure, but it appeared to be at first because at that point he was still moving, he had rapid breathing at first. That’s what it appeared to be at first. It only took a couple seconds before that subsided, and it became apparent that he needed CPR.”
Gardner said that the presence of the defibrillator machine, which was on hand at Ristuccia, was critical in saving the fan.
“They had the defibrillator here on scene, which probably made a world of difference for him,” he said. “If this happened at home, it may not have had such a good outcome.”
The Bruins, meanwhile, all took a knee as fans scattered to make room. Claude Julien then pulled them off the ice until everything was resolved.
“Obviously we knew something was going on in the stands and that it was an emergency,” Julien said. “I don’t know the details of what happened, but all I saw was a bunch of people there on the spot obviously helping. As far as I’m concerned, I thought when we stepped on the ice and found out what was happening, I think the last thing they needed was to hear pucks banging off the glass. I think out of respect we just let them do their job.”
The players were both relieved and thankful to see a fan step up in such a critical situation.
“That’s incredible,” Gregory Campbell said of Gardner’s work. “Obviously that gentleman was lucky to have that. For somebody to have that knowledge is an important thing. You never know when that’s going to come in handy, and that’s very special.”
Gardner showed up to Ristuccia on Thursday planning to watch the B’s practice, but as an EMT, he is always ready to be called to action. The circumstances were certainly different this time around, but he was glad to help.
“Having the spotlight on you is definitely a little weird,” he said. “I don’t normally work with this kind of crowd when we do it coming with the ambulance and stuff like that. It’s definitely a little weird having the Bruins watch you, as opposed to you watching the Bruins. It was a little role reversal.”
|Jordan Caron skates, Milan Lucic absent from Bruins practice||01.17.13 at 11:04 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A familiar face made an appearance as injured forward Jordan Caron skated with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides prior to Thursday’s Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena.
Caron, who had been playing at Providence this season but is out with an upper-body injury, did not stay on the ice for practice.
Absent from Thursday’s session was Milan Lucic (personal reasons), with Jay Pandolfo filling in for him on the first line in practice and Gregory Campbell replacing him on the first power-play unit during special teams work. The power play units were as follows:
Practice was delayed for a number of minutes due to a fan in the stands needing medical attention. The fan was placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.