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Dougie Hamilton wins Bruins’ Seventh Player Award 04.25.13 at 7:45 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton (27) celebrates a goal against the Capitals earlier this season.

In what could be the first of many individual honors, Dougie Hamilton received his first Thursday night.

The Bruins announced that the 19-year-old defenseman is the winner of the NESN Seventh Player Award. Voted on by Bruins fans, the Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.

Ironically, Hamilton was a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Lightning as the team gives him a rest before the start of the playoffs next week.

In his first season with the Bruins, Hamilton has notched five goals and 11 assists in 42 games with a plus-6 rating. The rookie ranks second among Bruins defensemen in points (16) and goals (5).

Hamilton is tied for third in the NHL among rookie blueliners in points (16), third in assists (11) and tied for third in goals (5).

Hamilton started the season with the Niagra IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League), skating in 32 games, notching eight goals and 33 assists for 41 points. Last year, he was named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year.

The 6-foot-5, 199-pound native of Toronto was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (9th overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.

In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Hamilton will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.

Recent recipients include Tyler Seguin (2012), Brad Marchand (2011), Tuukka Rask (2010), David Krejci (2009) and Milan Lucic (2008).

The Seventh Player Award sweepstakes winner was Scott Martioski of Orange, Mass. Martioski wins a three-year lease on a 2014 Kia Sorento courtesy of Central Auto Team of Norwood and Raynham.

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Brad Marchand: ‘I was definitely fighting back tears’ 04.18.13 at 11:19 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand could not have picked a more emotional night to make their returns from concussions.

Bergeron hadn’t played since April 2, a span of six games. Marchand missed the last two games since being elbowed by Anton Volchenkov of the Devils.

Neither player figured in the scoring but both had a positive signs of bouncing back on a night the city of Boston looked to bounce back.

“They both played well and they both played hard,” their coach Claude Julien said after Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres. “You know, it’s unfortunate they didn’t get rewarded with anything tonight, but they had some great opportunities. And you’ve got to give their goaltender credit; he played extremely well for them tonight and allowed them to stay in that 2-1 game for a long time. I think had there been another goaltender it could have been a totally different story.”

Marchand, like everyone in the building, wasn’t thinking about himself but rather being part of something bigger during the national anthem.

Never were the emotions higher than during the national anthem for Marchand.

“It was extremely emotional. I was definitely fighting back tears,” he said. “To see again how everyone was reacting to that video, it obviously touched not only people who were here tonight but everyone at home, too, watching. It’s something that we’ll never forget. For everyone to show their respect and obviously give their thoughts and prayers for everyone, it’s great that everyone is kind of coming together at this time and helping each other out.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Claude Julien: Bruins fans ‘made you feel proud of this city’ 04.18.13 at 9:32 am ET
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Whether player, coach or team staffer, Wednesday night was a night of solidarity.

That was a point made unmistakably clear by Bruins coach Claude Julien, even after a 3-2 loss to the Sabres at TD Garden.

Julien was asked about his reaction to the fans singing the national anthem and the “We are Boston” chants throughout the game.

“Well, I think like everybody else, it was pretty emotional,” Julien said. “In a way, it made you feel proud of this city and of our fans of this solidarity that was shown throughout this whole thing. Certainly, like I said, proud of this city for how they responded.

“The national anthem was pretty touching. And, obviously, everything that they did. I remember the video, I remember the national anthem and we even saw those people up there on the screen in the TV timeouts. And looking up there and realizing that those guys have done an unbelievable job for this city throughout this crisis and we should be grateful to a lot of people and we should also feel for the people that are going through it right now. I think we still do.”

Did it ever felt like a normal hockey game to Julien and his staff?

“I don’t know,” Julien said. “I think through it all, our guys really wanted to battle hard and make it happen. We had a lot of chances and, sure we probably didn’t bury those and we’d like to be better in regards to that, but the main goal is to go out there and really play well for the cause and I thought we played a really decent game. Unfortunately, sometimes bounces don’t go your way. They tied it up late in the game and I thought we probably deserved to win at that point.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Video: With national anthem, Bruins fans show just how Boston Strong they are 04.17.13 at 8:26 pm ET
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In one of the most powerful and stirring moments in recent Boston sports history, Bruins fans took over for national anthem singer Rene Rancourt Wednesday night, singing the entire national anthem in tribute to the victims and the heroes from Monday’s Boston Marathon attacks that killed three and left over 170 injured. Before the anthem, the Bruins showed a wonderfully crafted video tribute to the first responders who rescued victims from the carnage on Boylston Street. That video – courtesy of the Boston Bruins – is below.

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Shorthanded: B’s fall to Islanders 04.11.13 at 9:24 pm ET
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Casey Cizikas watches as Josh Bailey's shot flies by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask late in the first period Thursday at TD Garden. (AP)

Josh Bailey scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 30-of-31 shots as the Islanders beat the Bruins, 2-1, Thursday night at TD Garden. The Bruins (26-10-4) had their modest two-game win streak snapped and more importantly, fell back into second place in the Northeast Division, one point behind Montreal, which beat the Sabres in Buffalo.

The Bruins played their first game without Brad Marchand, who was diagnosed Thursday with a concussion. He becomes the second player on his line out of action with a concussion, though Patrice Bergeron did return Thursday morning and participated in a light pre-game skate at the Garden.

With Marchand out coach Claude Julien was forced to juggle the lineups again, starting with a line Jaromir Jagr and Milan Lucic, and centered by Gregory Campbell. David Krejci centered the line of Nathan Horton and Daniel Paille.

Adam McQuaid returned after missing the previous 11 games with a shoulder injury. McQuaid’s return allowed Julien the chance to rest rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton for the first time this season. The rookie had played in all 39 games before Thursday’s game.

The Bruins and Islanders appeared destined for a scoreless opening period before the Bruins allowed the Isles to break out on a 4-on-2. Bailey ripped off a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Tuukka Rask to the top far corner with 20.5 seconds left in the first.

The Bruins got the goal back on a pretty power play feed from Campbell to Tyler Seguin across the low slot. Seguin’s one-timer cleanly beat Nabokov 3:41 into the second for the equalizer. Despite the power play goal, the Islanders carried play though the period, outshooting Boston, 19-8. The hard work paid off for the visitors when Bailey fired a bad-angle shot from the left circle on Rask. The Bruins goalie appeared to have the play covered but allowed the puck to leak through and the Islanders had their second one-goal lead of the night.

It could’ve been worse for the Bruins but Rask made a spectacular sprawling save on Matt Moulson with 10 minutes left in the second to keep the game tied, three minutes before Bailey’s second of the night put New York back on top.

Bailey looked for the hat trick with 5:45 left in the third but Rask made a save that kept the Bruins within one. The Bruins could not sustain any pressure in the Islanders end for most of the third period as the Bruins continued to all the opponent to rack up high shot totals. The Islanders finished with 36 shots on goal.

Rask was pulled with 1:23 left as the Bruins failed in their attempt to get the equalizer.

The Bruins are off Friday before taking on the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday night. For more from DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia from the Garden, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Anton Volchenkov suspended 4 games for elbowing Brad Marchand 04.11.13 at 2:18 pm ET
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Brad Marchand, left, holds his head while going down after being elbowed by New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. (AP)

The justice for Brad Marchand was swift.

Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov has been suspended for four games, without pay, for elbowing Marchand during Wednesday’s game in New Jersey.

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced the ruling Thursday afternoon.

The incident occurred at 15:11 of the second period. Volchenkov was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct (per Rule 45). [The NHL details the hit and the explanation for the suspension in the video below].

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Volchenkov will forfeit $91,891.88. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Bruins know Tuukka Rask can do only so much to save the D 04.09.13 at 11:20 am ET
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Tuukka Rask can only do so much.

He’s been outstanding in the last week, turning away 40 shots in a 1-0 shutout last Thursday over the Devils and making another 40 saves Monday night in a 6-2 win over the Hurricanes.

And in some ways, Monday’s performance in what looked like a blowout on paper was more impressive than the shutout.

The Hurricanes opened the game with a five-minute flurry of action in front of Rask, trying to get that all-important first goal to set the tempo for the game. Rask turned away the first eight shots and allowed the Bruins to find their scoring touch.

Boston scored twice in the first eight minutes and took the spirit out of Carolina. After Monday’s 40-save effort, Rask was asked if all the action is sharpening him up for the playoffs that start in just over two weeks.

“I don’t know,” Rask said. “I’ve felt sharp throughout the year, trying to be calm and just poised out there. It’s been good the past three games so I’m just trying to work on that and keep that up.

“I think defensively we’ve been pretty good, if you look at the goals against. I don’t think we’re the best we can be in that area. Especially today, a couple let downs there. Still we’ve been pretty solid defensively, that’s our bread and butter, as you know, it was good to see that offense get going. Every team goes through phases like that. I don’t blame the guys because they’re trying and sometimes you just don’t have it. It was good to see.”

While defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had three assists, he remains concerned about the team’s defensive approach – or lack thereof.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’re getting into that phase of the season that we have to get sharp for the playoffs, and we only have I think 10 games left now, and it comes down to the wire for us to get into playing playoff hockey, and just playing that style of hockey makes you successful going into the postseason.

“If [Rask] doesn’t stop the puck we’re behind in the game, and you know how the game changes once the team is up. They sit back, so we got lucky in the first. Obviously we converted on those chances, but if we had fallen behind it would have been tough to come back from. It’s been a few games now that we haven’t been sharp in the first period. I don’t know how many games we’ve given up the first goal and had to battle back or try to come from behind, but tonight Tuukka saved us, kept us 0-0, and we luckily scored.”

Rask knows how very important these next two weeks will be in establishing the right defensive trend for postseason.

“Yeah I think so,” he said. “I think we kind of have to build that momentum in the last 10 games or whatever we have left. Build it off of the defense and try to get that offense going like we can. Sometimes it feels like we are trading those chances and I get a lot of shots, it plays into my advantage, but I don’t think in the long run that would be a good idea.

“I mean there’s always room to improve. I think sticking with the structure and not getting caught running around and stuff like that. Keeping our heads up and protecting that net front, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Claude Julien wants to see a defensive urgency in front of Rask in the final two weeks.

“There’s no doubt, we need to see that urgency to get ourselves better,” Julien said. “Although defensively we weren’t very good, it was a step in the right direction, as far as being a little bit better offensively. We’ve got to carry that into the next game, where it’s going to be even tougher, against a Devils team that doesn’t give much. But at the same time, hopefully we’re better defensively as well.”

Rask isn’t nearly as hard on the defense in front of him as fans and his own teammates are. Read the rest of this entry »

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