|Joe Thornton a captain again||10.07.10 at 12:08 pm ET|
PRAGUE — Joe Thornton was named captain of the Sharks on Thursday, a distinction he once held as a 23-year-old while a member of the Bruins. Thornton gets the C after the offseason retirement of Rob Blake.
Dan Boyle is set to be the first alternate captain, with Patrick Marleau wearing the A for home games and Ryan Clowe wearing it on the road. Marleau had previously captained the team but lost his captaincy in the summer of 2009.
Thornton remained captain of the Bruins until he was dealt to the Sharks during the 2005-06 season. In 12 NHL seasons, Thornton has racked up 931 points.
“You grow as you age, and you kind of mature as a player,” Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News. “I think you become more comfortable in your skin. Back then, you maybe let your game speak louder than your words and I think now you consider both. You can stand up and tell guys how it is or just go out and play.”
|The Czech Republic reacts to the Randy Moss trade||10.07.10 at 9:27 am ET|
PRAGUE — Taking to the streets to get reaction to the only thing anybody is talking about … the Randy Moss trade.
|Shots from around Prague||10.07.10 at 8:53 am ET|
PRAGUE — The Bruins did not skate on Thursday, instead resting up and meeting with fans who made the trek from Boston. As such, there’s been some time here and there to take in the city a bit. Here are a few pictures I snapped yesterday. Notice the restaurant does, in fact, have smelly cheese toasts on the menu…
|Cultural Differences part 5: Aim below the screen||10.07.10 at 8:31 am ET|
PRAGUE — While taking photos in the bathroom may be the weirdest thing one could do, I had to after coming across this in a restaurant. In the states one considers it swanky if there’s a TV in the bathroom, and in rare cases one can find monitors on the wall above the urinals. Not in Prague though. It’s all the same machine.
|Report: Bruins sign McGrattan||10.07.10 at 7:23 am ET|
PRAGUE — According to a tweet from ESPNBoston’s James Murphy, the Bruins have agreed to terms with forward Brian McGrattan, who has been with the team throughout the preseason on a tryout basis. Murphy is reporting that the deal will not be finalized until Monday.
McGrattan has 395 penalty minutes in parts of five NHL seasons. A draft pick of the Kings, McGrattan has suited up for the Senators, Coyotes, and Flames. He has been skating on the the fourth line, which is centered by Gregory Campbell and has Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand also vying for time on the wings.
|Ryder sees last season’s offensive dip as team effort||10.06.10 at 10:33 am ET|
PRAGUE — There’s no hiding how mightily the Bruins struggled in the scoring department in the 2009-10 season. From Blake Wheeler to David Krejci to Michael Ryder, many players saw their point totals take a hit en route to the team finishing with an NHL-worst 2.39 goals per game. After the offseason acquisitions of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin, both of whom scored in Tuesday’s 7-1 victory over Liberec HC, the team appears — on paper, at least — to be in much better offensive standing than their squad of a season ago. Still, if the team is going to get to the Eastern Conference finals after being eliminated in the second round in two consecutive seasons, they’ll need some of their top scorers, like Ryder to return to form.
Last season wasn’t the first sign of a statistical speedbump from Ryder, who throughout his career has seen his numbers go up and down. In fact, almost amazingly, his points have never increased in consecutive seasons. In his six NHL seasons, his totals have been as follows: 63, 55, 58, 3, 53, and 33, the last two of which were with the Bruins. Though certainly accountable for last season, Ryder has hopes that the team can be more productive offensively. Should that happen, Ryder could be a big part of it.
“It was tough here for everyone,” Ryder said of what needs to change this season. “Even though I didn’t score like I wanted to, I was still third on the team. The whole team struggled to score and it was tough. The one thing we want to work on this year is that we want to produce more goals and try and get our offense going and still keep the defense as solid as it was.”
Ryder has been skating on the third line, centered by Tyler Seguin, with Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille the other wing candidates. The line, formerly made up of Ryder, Seguin and Blake Wheeler before Wheeler was moved to the second line, very much has an x-factor intrigue to it, as Ryder could be either the 27-scorer he was two seasons ago or the 18-goal man who drew the criticism of fans last season.
“We’re still getting adjusted,” Ryder said of his chemistry with the second overall pick. “There are little things we need to work on, like trying to get a feel for where each other’s going to be on the ice. I think that comes with practice. The more we practice and get used to each other, it will come and then after that we can get a little more of a feel for each other and make each other better.”
The 30-year-old winger hasn’t jumped off the page through camp so far, with Peter Chiarelli saying in a conference call last week that he didn’t “mind” Ryder’s preseason performance. Even so, Ryder has been commended by many, including Claude Julien, for looking better prepared and stronger at this point of the process than in seasons past.
Ryder identified strength and bulk as areas in which he aimed to improve over the offseason. As a result, he’s up to 197 pounds and taking a mentality of being more focused on being stronger on the puck. With this season being the last of his contract, he’ll be playing for both his contract and proving to the Bruins that sending him and his $4 million cap hit to Providence should be out of the question once Marco Sturm and Marc Savard return from their respective injuries.
|Report: Bartkowski the final cut||10.06.10 at 9:28 am ET|
PRAGUE — According to Steve Harris of the Boston Herald, rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski was notified on Wednesday by general manager Peter Chiarelli that he would be the final player released from camp before the team opens the regular season with two games against the Coyotes (the team is allowed to carry an extra goalie overseas, but Nolan Schaefer will also likely be sent to Providence before the team begins play in North America).
Bartkowski, 22, did not dress in either of the team’s games against the Belfast Giants and Liberec HC, and after Wednesday’s practice seemed to take the right attitude.
“I don’t really worry about it. If it happens, I’m just going to take it and do what I have to do to work my way back up,” Bartkowski said. “All of the positives that I’ve learned here, I’m just going to take those down with me and work on them and earn my spot [in the NHL].”
The Bruins’ thinking with the Ohio State product is that Bartkowski will be better off getting as much as time as he can at his age, and with a crowded group at the NHL level, he will be able to continue to grow as a player in Providence. Bartkowski agreed.
“I’d rather play in Providence than sit in games up here. I think that would be better for my development. Yeah, it would be a little let down, but it wouldn’t be too bad.”
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