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What went right and wrong as Bruins beat Islanders 01.25.13 at 9:35 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton had the first multi-point game of his career as Bruins improved to 3-0-1 with a 4-2 win over the Islanders at TD Garden Friday night.

Hamilton had two assists on the night, with the B’s getting scoring from Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. The Islanders got a pair of goals from Keith Aucoin.

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves on 26 shots in the win, his third of the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– It was another strong game for Hamilton, who picked up his second career and third career points with assists on Thornton and Bergeron’s goals, and could have had more. Hamilton fired the shot that led to Thornton’s goal in front in the first period, while his long pass from the corner to Brad Marchand in the neutral zone started the play that resulted in Bergeron’s breakaway goal. Late in the third period, arena-wide “Dougie” chants filled the Garden.

Though Hamilton had only two shots that actually reached Rick DiPietro Friday, he once again displayed an impressive ability to get pucks through. Another one of his shots, an intentionally wide blast, nearly resulted in a goal when it bounced off the board to Patrice Bergeron, whose bid was stopped.

– Speaking of defensemen, the Bruins got Dennis Seidenberg back on Friday, and though Claude Julien limited his time somewhat (he did not get any time on the power play), he didn’t appear to be in any noticeable discomfort. Seidenberg had a team-high six hits for the Bruins.

– Though the power play remains unsuccessful, the penalty kill was sharp as usual for the Bruins. In killing off three penalties, the team’s penalty kill improved to 16-for-16 through four games.

Johnny Boychuk showed his tolerance for pain by not missing a shift after clearly feeling a blocked shot from Kyle Okposo in the third period. Boychuk struggled through the rest of the shift and went down the tunnel afterwards, but was back out on the ice for his next turn.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Though they finally scored their first power-play goal of the season on Wednesday, the struggles on the man advantage continued for the Bruins on Friday. In turning in an 0-for-3 showing, the Bruins saw their power play sink to 1-for-17 on the season.

Zdeno Chara took his third minor penalty in four games when he mauled John Tavares in the neutral zone in the second period. The stakes were much lower without Chara this time around, as Chara’s previous penalties came late in tie games and involved a 5-on-3 for the opponent, and the B’s penalty killers once again came up big without their top man.

– The line of Chris Kelly between Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque had another underwhelming night, as Aucoin blew right by Bourque and Johnny Boychuk in front to score the Islanders’ first goal. The goal and minus-1 showing dropped both Peverley and Bourque to a minus-3 thus far on the season. Kelly, who picked up the secondary assist on Campbell’s goal but had changed before the puck went in, was also a minus-1 and saw his rating fall to minus-3.

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Late charge: Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron lift Bruins to win over Islanders at 9:35 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara fired a wrist shot past Rick DiPietro with just under 13 minutes left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, as the Bruins bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 4-2 win over the Islanders Friday night at TD Garden. Rookie sensation Dougie Hamilton added two assists and set up Boston’s fourth goal with a pretty outlet pass as the Garden crowd began to chant his name.

The Bruins overcame a two-goal night from Waltham and Chelmsford, Mass. native Keith Aucoin to improve to 3-0-1 in the young season. With seven points on the season, they also have gained a point in all four games.

Tuukka Rask has started all four games and stopped 24 of 26 shots on the night to record his third win.

The Bruins jumped on top just under five minutes into the game when Shawn Thornton collected a loose puck and put it past DiPietro. Hamilton set up the goal when he took a shot from the right point that deflected off the stick of Daniel Paille. DiPietro couldn’t control the shot and Thornton was in the right spot on the doorstep for his first goal of the season and Hamilton’s second NHL point.

The Islanders tied it six minutes later when the red-hot Aucoin took a pass from Colin McDonald from the side of the net and put it past Rask.

The first period featured a fight between Milan Lucic in which the Bruins leveled Matt Carkner with a right cross, getting the Friday night Garden crowd into the game.

The Islanders opened the second period on the power play. While they couldn’t score, they used the advantage to gain momentum of the game. That proved productive when Rask and the Bruins allowed a loose puck to bounce uncontrolled to the high slot. Aucoin was in the right spot at the right time again and blasted a slap shot past Rask at 9:50 of the period for an unassisted goal, his second of the game and third in two nights.

The Bruins used good fortune to gain the equalizer four minutes later when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the far boards. The puck glanced off the skate of Islanders defenseman Joe Finley and onto the stick of Gregory Campell, who put it past DiPietro to make it 2-2 after 40 minutes.

With just under 13 minutes left, the Bruins regained the lead when Lucic took a pass from Nathan Horton and fired a pass from the right circle to the tape of Chara. The Bruins captain snapped a wrist shot from the slot past DiPietro to give the Bruins the lead with 12:53 remaining. It was his first goal of the season and he pumped both hands in the air in relief after the goal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Daniel Paille, Dougie Hamilton, Gregory Campbell
Dougie Hamilton embraces more physical play in NHL 01.20.13 at 5:01 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton may have had to wait a little too long to make his Bruins debut, but now that it’s come and gone he’s just happy to officially be an NHL defenseman.

Hamilton, who spent the first few months of the season playing junior hockey in the OHL and the World Junior Championships, took his first NHL shift with the Bruins on the power play early in the first period. Before that, he was welcomed with one of the loudest receptions in the pre-game player introductions, accompanied with massive sprays of fog as he stepped onto the Garden ice.

“It was pretty cool, just with the smoke or fog or whatever that was,” Hamilton said. “It’s pretty cool to go out there, and you don’t really hear much of the cheering, but it’s pretty cool to go out and look around and realize that your dream has come true.”

Hamilton finished last among Bruins defensemen with 13:40 of ice time, but he played 4:25 on the power play and registered two shots on goal and three hits on the night with an even rating.

It may be a big adjustment from junior hockey to the NHL, but Hamilton is embracing the physical challenge that comes with it. At 6-foot-5, Hamilton felt that he couldn’t play a physical game at the junior level without getting penalized. He felt he had the opportunity to use his body more to his advantage Saturday against the bigger-bodied Rangers.

“I thought that was fun, just getting hit by those big guys and having them come at you and just being able to hit them too,” he said. “It’s a little bit different in junior when you can’t do much or they’re smaller than you, so I thought that was a pretty fun part of the game.”

Claude Julien agreed that Hamilton may have been at a disadvantage in the OHL given his size, and that he shouldn’t have to worry about it in the NHL.

“I experienced it in juniors coaching [6-foot-5 defenseman] Jiri Fischer at the time; he was the same kind of player, he was in the box a lot in junior because he was so much stronger than everybody else. And when I watched Dougie play this year in junior if there’€™s one thing you could tell was his size, you know at 6-foot-5 and in the corners he had to watch himself because again they’€™re not as strong. If he wasn’€™t careful he’€™d end up in the box.

“Here he doesn’€™t have to hold back, and I think he’€™ll be able to play more to his strength and it will certainly help his game. Like I said, he needed to move on and I think what he’€™s done here is enough for him to stay here at the time being.”

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Dougie Hamilton ready for NHL debut 01.19.13 at 12:20 pm ET
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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.”

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Ray Bourque on M&M: Dougie Hamilton ‘a little bit like I was at that age’ 01.16.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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Bruins legend Ray Bourque talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the end of the NHL lockout, his son’s play at Bruins camp, and Dougie Hamilton‘s situation as a promising teenage defenseman.

Through Celebrities for Charities, Bourque is sponsoring a raffle in which the winner gets to watch the Bruins’ season-opener with him and his family — an opportunity many Bruins fans would love no matter what, but even more so considering that Chris Bourque could be taking the ice.

“He is so excited about the opportunity,” Bourque said of his son. “This kid grew up in the old Garden and the FleetCenter and the new Garden, skating. I’d bring him to the rink as much as as I could, two, three times a week, and he’d start skating. He was on skates at 2½. Chris and his brother Ryan ran around that room and drove the trainers crazy for many, many years. To put that Bruins jersey on last night [in the Bruins’ scrimmage against the AHL Providence Bruins] and go out and play in the Garden was a real thrill for him.

“I wasn’t at the game last night — I actually went and saw my younger son Ryan play in Portland as part of the Rangers’ farm team — but I’m really excited and hoping to see [Chris] this weekend. And I got a lot of texts saying he played well and did a good job.”

Bourque also weighed in on Hamilton, who will try to establish himself as a high-scoring 19-year-old Bruins defenseman this year, just as Bourque himself once did.

“The position is not an easy one to play in the NHL at a young age,” Bourque said. “But I’ve got to say, he’s coming into such a good situation, just like I did. I didn’t come in with an expansion team or where expectations are for you to carry a load, to be the savior. He’s just here to do his job and play his game, and his game is a very good game.

“He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got great size, he’s got all the tools. Who knows how it’s going to start, but this kid could play for the Bruins for many many years. It’s a comfortable situation to come into as a young guy you’re supported by so many veterans. Guys like [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg and their whole defense corps are very solid and such great veterans in how they go about their business and how they prepare and all that stuff. For a young guy to see that and to live that, there’s no better situation to be in, and I know they’re going to be right there in terms of support for him and giving him advice. Just watching with your own eyes and seeing how they’re doing their job will be great for him.

“I met him the other night. He was at my restaurant, Tresca, and he was coming out. Very quiet, very shy, a little bit like I was at that age. I just spoke to him for a little bit and look forward to talking with him more. He’s excited about the opportunity. I think we’re going to see him around this year, but many, many years to come, we’re going to see this guy and he’s going to be a big part of the Bruins.”

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Claude Julien: Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Seidenberg pairing not ‘carved in stone’ at 1:46 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been paired with Dennis Seidenberg from the start of training camp, and with little time to mix and match in a shortened camp, it would appear that the two will be partners as the season opens this weekend.

Claude Julien did his best to pump the brakes on the buzz the pairing has created, saying Wednesday that while the two are partners for now, there’s still the possibility that Hamilton will play with another B’s blueliner in the coming days or weeks.

“You put those guys with the guys you know you can trust, but this is just a start,” Julien said. “I don’t want anybody thinking that it’s carved in stone that that’s his partner. You’re probably going to see throughout the year pairs moved around a little bit, but certainly he can benefit from the wisdom of those veteran players around him.”

Julien did say that he’s liked the job that Seidenberg, 31, has done helping the 19-year-old along.

“Any time a young player plays with a veteran you can gain a lot, especially if the veteran is a good veteran that will share his experience, his expertise with the player and help calm him down when maybe he gets running around a little bit or he gets uptight, whether it’s on the bench or on the ice. Coaches do a lot, but a teammate with some experience can do a lot as well.”

Though Hamilton and Seidenberg seem to be the pairing for now, it wouldn’t be crazy for the B’s to try to get some games out of the usually reserved-for-playoffs pairing of Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara early on. That would certainly be an easy way to prevent getting off to a slow start in the 48-game season.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton,
Bruins get to work on power play 01.14.13 at 10:23 am ET
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WILMINGTON — The second day of training camp meant addressing a common source of frustration for the Bruins, as they worked on the power play in anticipation of the upcoming season.

The B’s, who finished 20th in power play efficiency (scoring 16.2 percent of the time) in 2010-11 and 15th (17 percent) last season, used the following units, with Rich Peverley and Gregory Campbell mixing into the first unit:

PP1: Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic

PP2: Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Chris Bourque, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand

Campbell rotated in for Lucic as a net-front presence, while Peverley would replace Krejci on the point. Krejci said that he played some point on the power play in the Czech Extraliga during the lockout.

After the practice, Bergeron spoke about the power play work, noting that the B’s will have to put Claude Julien and Geoff Ward‘s planning during the lockout to good use, and quickly.

“It’s a short season. We don’t have that much time, and we need to be prepared right away,” Bergeron said. “Special teams on both sides are going to be very important. The power play is no different. We don’t have that much time to work on it, so today was the perfect day to do that.”

The Bruins have been pretty forthcoming with their intentions to have Hamilton on the team this year, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that he’s already being used on the power play. After all, the season is five days away, so cushiony period of easing him into scenarios doesn’t really exist. Bergeron thinks he’ll handle the challenge well.

“He looks good,” Bergeron said of Hamilton. “He seems to be pretty poised with the puck and making the right plays. It’s only his second practice ‘€¦ but today I got the chance to work with him a little more and he seems to be a very good player, very smart. He doesn’t look like he’s 19 out there.”

Hamilton is an obvious choice on the power play, as the 6-foot-5 blueliner had 17 goals and 55 assists for 72 points in 50 games last season as the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman.

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