|After long summer, Joe Colborne ready for action||09.09.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With age and experience, hockey players often say that the offseasons shorten up. The time devoted to family and training flies by as training camp fast approaches. Tell that to 20-year-old prospect Joe Colborne.
“You have no idea. It’s finally here,” Colborne said after taking the ice with the veterans for the third day of captain’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “Everyone kept telling me how short the summer was. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I’ve been waiting — it feels like this last month has taken a year.”
This will be Colborne’s first camp with the big boys. After starting the last two seasons playing for the University of Denver and finishing the 2009-10 campaign with six games in Providence, the center is preparing for his first foray in making an NHL squad.
Going the college-to-AHL-to-NHL-hopeful route has been beneficial for Colborne. The 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Colborne has the talent and size that make many believe he has a productive professional career ahead of him. It’s at each stop, however, that Colborne has been able to develop the most important tool — vision and timely decision-making.
“The biggest difference that I’ve noticed is that everyone knows how to play the game at a higher level and you think the game at a higher level,” Colborne said. “When you get to college and you get to the pros, everyone’s a good player and everyone has good skills, but it’s the guys who can think the game and think the game about a step faster than everyone else. You have to be thinking where the puck’s going to be a lot sooner than, say in college, where you’d have an extra second with the puck or so. I’ve noticed that the D-men close the gap better, forwards are on the forecheck quicker, and it’s just making the decisions a little bit quicker.”
In 39 games for the Pioneers in his sophomore season, Colborne had 41 points in 39 games. Over his short stint with the Baby B’s to end the season, he had two assists. Points aside, nothing was more valuable than getting to once again learn to adjust, just as he had when he first arrived in Denver in 2008.
“Playing in the AHL at the end of the year was a big jump,” Colborne said. “I felt like as the games went on, I felt better and better. This summer’s been huge for me, just working on my quickness. I’m looking forward to camp to see how I compare up against some of the best players in the world.”
The odds are that Colborne’s season will begin in Providence, but after an offseason in which he said he took “two or three days off,” his future is bright. He’ll be on display at the Garden for rookie games on September 15 and 16. He jokingly thanked Tyler Seguin for the opportunity to play at the Garden.
“I’m sure if he wasn’t here, we’d probably be playing in some rink in the middle of nowhere,” he said with a laugh.
|Caron, Reich take the ice at Bruins’ captain’s practice||at 11:40 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The third captain’s practice of the weeks just ended. There were some changes in attendance and the practice pretty much had the same deal of basic drills and scrimmaging. Here’s the list of guys in attendance.
Goaltenders: Nolan Schaefer, Mike Hutchinson
– Thursday was the first day that Tuukka Rask wasn’t out there, so it was nice to get a look at Schaefer and Hutchinson in the scrimmage portion of practice.
– After joining his teammates Wednesday, Mark Recchi was not out there for Thursday’s session.
– Attendance means incredibly little for something so nonchalant and optional, but it’s nice to see the newcomers taking initiative. Horton and Campbell have been out there for all three practices. Horton said earlier in the week that they had captain’s practices while he was a member of the Panthers but the players generally didn’t show up to them. Tyler Seguin was out there once again skating with the goaltenders. A lot of younger players partook in Bob Essensa’s camp since the actual captain’s practice itself is not for first-year guys.
|Seidenberg having ‘no problems at all’ with forearm||09.08.10 at 2:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Last year defenseman Dennis Seidenberg didn’t know where he’d be playing the coming season. A free agent, he had yet to find the right deal and didn’t become a Florida Panther until two days in to training camp. After being traded to the Bruins and locked up by the team in the offseason, Seidenberg is getting an early start this year, taking part in captain’s practices in anticipation for the coming season.
“It’s nice, Seidenberg said of starting the preseason process in a situation with which he’s familiar. “I know everybody. I know what to expect, so I think I can just build on what I did last year. I’m really looking forward to getting started and just get going.”
After missing the playoffs with a lacerated tendon in his left forearm, Seidenberg said he is experiencing “no problems at all” and has felt healthy since June. He may begin wearing protective sleeves and socks to prevent any cuts in the future.
A teammate of Nathan Horton’s last season with the Panthers, Seidenberg echoed the winger’s comments about coming into a playoff atmosphere and how it should help Horton.
“I think he’ll flourish a lot. Florida I think can get old after seven years of there and just not being in a hockey city,” Seidenberg said. “I think being here is going to help him a lot, energize him, and I think he’ll be playing great here.”
The Panthers opened last season in Helsinki, Finland, so Seidenberg might know what to expect a bit this year when the team travels to Belfast and Prague. Seidenberg admitted that aspects of all the travel were “a lot to handle” at times, but called it a good experience.
A native of Germany, Seidenberg expects family to make the eight-hour drive to watch the B’s open the season October 9 against the Coyotes.
|Lucic has advice for Seguin, excited for Savard||at 1:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It wasn’t too long ago that left wing Milan Lucic was the most popular Bruins rookie. Now preparing for his fourth season in the NHL, the 22-year-old Lucic can look back on his experience in the 2007-08 season and offer some perspective on what second overall pick Tyler Seguin might go through with the Bruins this year.
“I remember my first year, there were things I needed to do to adjust to this level and adjust to this game,” Lucic said. “There was stuff that I worked on for the first three months that I was here, just little things. You just can’t get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, you’ve just got to keep working at it.
“One thing that I always looked at when I was young like that, I just went out there and played. I didn’t want to let any type of expectations or any type of pressures get to me. I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun with it and enjoy the time that I was here.”
Seguin isn’t the only newcomer Lucic is psyched about. Lucic is generally grinning at all times, but he spoke with a great deal of excitement when asked about Nathan Horton.
“He’s a big body. He can skate and he can score,” Lucic said of Horton. “That’s the expectations on him is just to do that. Obviously, he’s going to be a big part of our team and big part of the right wingers. Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to find his game in our system here. We’ve got some pretty good centermen here that we can match him up with, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The centerman figured to be the best match with Horton might be Marc Savard, who was reportedly shopped by the team at points during the offseason. The rumors led to Savard admitting that he was “hurt” by the idea of the team trading him, but Lucic has been in contact with his friend this summer and has been training harder than he ever has in anticipation of the 2010-11 season.
Though Lucic said he’s excited to see what kind of shape Savard in is after such a good offseason, he is first and foremost glad that none of what was written about Savard came true.
“Clearly they were all rumors,” Lucic said. “Everyone’s different, everyone takes it different. Obviously, Savvy took it the way he did and his feelings were a little bit hurt. I’m happy that he’s still a part of this team because I felt in the three years I’ve been here, he’s been one of the guys that I’ve been closest with, and obviously we have our special bond off and on the ice. I’m happy that he’s back and I hope he’s happy that he’s still around, too.”
Lucic played in only 50 games last year due to a nagging ankle injury but is skating now with any hindrance or tape. He felt he was able to get into a groove in the playoffs, when he had nine points in 13 games, and feels that if he can keep it up, he’ll be effective as ever.
“I felt like at the end of the season there against Philly, I felt like I played my best hockey and I thought I was good and strong with the puck, being able to be hard with the puck and be that physical presence,” Lucic said. “It’s basically the same thing. Just go out there and do that. If I’m just being a physical presence out there, everything always seems to take care of itself.”
|Recchi joins teammates, Seguin makes appearance||at 11:37 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The second day of captain’s practice is in the books for the Bruins. The Big Bad Blog nearly came to a tragic end when a flying puck took someone’s attention away from their tweeting, but all is well. Once again, the skate consisted of basic drills and scrimmaging. Here’s the initial list of guys in attendance and a few notes:
Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Nolan Schaefer
– The newcomers to practice were Bodnarchuk, Bartkowski, Recchi and Kampfer. Recchi took to the ice with his teammates after doing a little solo skate following Tuesday’s session.
– Second overall pick Tyler Seguin was in the house, skating with the netminders as part of goalie coach Bob Essensa‘s camp prior to captain’s practice. Seguin likely won’t skate with teammates for captain’s practice, as it seems to only consist of returning players or veterans.
– *The captain wasn’t technically out there for the practice, though Chara did skate with goalies before.
|Mark Stuart feels better about the hand, NHLPA||09.07.10 at 6:02 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart has been paying close attention to everything that has gone on this season regarding the Ilya Kovalchuk contract saga, and not just because he’ll have a deal of his own to sort out following the season.
The team’s player representative last season, Stuart is invested in seeing that both the NHLPA and the league are on the same page. With the Devils tacking on extra years to what would have eventually been a 17-year deal, the NHL blew the whistle on the contract, stating it circumvented the salary cap by paying top dollar up front and lowering the cap hit with additional, cheaper years. Through the ordeal it came to light that Stuart’s teammate in Marc Savard had one of the contracts the league felt may not have been kosher. After agreeing to a revised calculation of cap hits, the league dropped the investigation.
“I think it was nice to get a rule in place, first of all so those players know whether they have deals or not, and also it helps the GM’s to know what they can and can’t do,” Stuart said. “It was kind of a grey area there. It always helps to have the rules in place. It’s pretty clear-cut now.”
Technically, the teams weren’t breaking any rules by signing players to such contracts. They were cleverly exploiting a loophole, to be sure, and in correcting it the league essentially patched up a problem on the fly. Stuart doesn’t look at it that way, and instead sees the rule change as a beneficial clarification.
“I think it was fair,” Stuart said of the rule change. “It wasn’t really specified before. I think the NHL and NHLPA did a great thing by talking and coming to an agreement. Now there’s a rule in place that’s pretty clear-cut. There wasn’t anything in there before so it was kind of hard to really see if those deals were legal or not.”
Stuart said there is no news on former MLBPA leader Donald Fehr, who has been rumored to be in line for the same job with the NHLPA after serving as an advisor. The defenseman added that there is no planned vote in place to elect Fehr to the position.
“He’s been helping us out,” Stuart said of Fehr’s affiliation with the players association. “This summer, he’s been a huge help with the different things we’ve been looking at. We’re just talking right now and figuring out which direction we want to go in. ”
After playing 82 games each in 2007-08 and 2008-09, Stuart was able to suit up for just 56 games last season due to a broken sternum, a broken finger, and finally an infection to his hand. Missing time wasn’t something the team’s first round pick from the 2003 draft was exactly used to.
‘It wasn’t very fun. That was one of the hardest parts, was just mentally getting over it,’ Stuart said after Tuesday’s captain’s practice. ‘I think at first I didn’t handle it very well. It was just a miserable situation. But once you realize [that] it doesn’t help to get down about it and just try to get back, I think I came a long way, especially the third time, I guess.’
Now with a clean bill of health, Stuart is excited about the upcoming season. The players will vote on his re-election as player rep following training camp, something he is hopeful for.
WILMINGTON — The argument against the Bruins last season was that they could not generate any offense. Given that they finished dead last in scoring in the regular season, one would have to guess that the stats were on the side of whomever would make such a claim.
But days before the team was set to draft the counterargument for the future in Tyler Seguin, they made a big splash by trading for Nathan Horton. Now the former Panthers winger is charged with being part of the group that re-establishes the Bruins as a major scoring threat. Speaking after captain’s practice on Tuesday, he looked to the team’s offensive core as something that can meet expectations in his first season as a Bruin.
“You look around and I think there’s obviously going to be high expectations on everyone,” Horton said. “It’s a great team, a great bunch of guys, and a lot of good hockey players. I think it’s great to have high expectations and I think it’s going to be a fun year.”
Horton, who has scored over 25 goals in three of his six seasons since being the third overall pick of the the 2003 draft, looks forward to whatever pressure may be placed on him and a squad that has been eliminated from two consecutive Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I grew up in Canada, so I know what that’s like, but I’m excited,” Horton said. “It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s pressure to perform, and I think that’s what any player wants.”
That pressure, especially in Horton’s case, could be alleviated a touch if he ends up being on a line centered by Marc Savard. The two have been discussed throughout the summer as good complements to one another, especially with Horton’s scoring touch, since the winger joined the team in June.
But it was following his arrival that rumors that Savard could be a goner via trade picked up steam. Many wondered whether the man some thought could make Horton a 40-goal scorer would be around to help potentially form a line. With Peter Chiarelli recently stating that Savard would not be traded, Horton seems that the center, who in December signed a seven-year extension, is staying.
“I don’t know who I’m playing with, but I think obviously he’s a great player,” Horton said. “He’s been a great player for a long time, he sees the ice real well and it’s tough to say, but obviously I would like to see him here. He’s been here for a while, and like I said, he’s a great player.”
Regardless of who he ends up playing with, Horton seems most excited about the team he’s playing for. Expected to contend for a Stanley Cup this season, the 2010-11 Bruins could be Horton’s first shot at the playoffs. Having to endure regular season after regular season without any postseason play has been a challenge for Horton, but with his career overdue for a run at a Cup, Horton’s glad he found his way to Boston.
“It’s been tough,” Horton said. “Seven years is a long time. It’s where you want to play the most, I think, is the playoffs. When you never get there, you don’t taste it. It’s tough, but I guess it’s a new page, a new chapter, and I couldn’t be more excited and thrilled to be here.”