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B’s send Nick Johnson, David Warsofsky to Providence 12.24.13 at 3:25 pm ET
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The Bruins on Tuesday assigned forward Nick Johnson and defenseman David Warsofsky to AHL Providence, an indication that some of the injured B’s are ready to return.

Johnson, a former Dartmouth College star, played in seven games since his call-up on Dec. 10, recording no points or penalty minutes, with six shots on goal.

Warsofsky, from Marshfield and Boston University, made his NHL debut on Thursday against the Sabres. He collected five shots but no points in three games.

Forward Daniel Paille (out seven games with concussion symptoms) and defenseman Dougie Hamilton (out since Dec. 8 with a lower-body injury) have made progress as they’ve recovered from their injuries, but Paille did not travel to Nashville for Monday’s game and Hamilton, though he has been skating, has yet to practice with the team. The B’s could ice six defensemen without him and Warsofsky thanks to the recent return of Adam McQuaid. With McQuaid returning to the lineup Monday, the B’s made Matt Bartkowski a healthy scratch against the Predators.

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Dougie Hamilton (lower body) begins skating 12.21.13 at 6:43 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton skated for the first time Saturday morning since suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 8. The Bruins said following his injury that he would miss between two and four weeks.

“He started skating for the first time this morning, so it was his first time on the ice,” Claude Julien said prior to Saturday’s game. “We’ll see how he progresses.”

Hamilton is the second injured Bruin to return to the ice this week, as Daniel Paille (concussion symptoms) began skating Friday and is expected to return to practicing with the team on Sunday.

“He’s skating, coming along,” Julien said of Paille Saturday. “He should be skating with our team tomorrow.

Adam McQuaid (lower body) was kept out of Saturday’s lineup, but he is a “possibility” to play Monday in Nashville, according to Julien. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had said Wednesday that the B’s might keep him out through the Christmas break as a means of getting him more rest.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Dougie Hamilton out at least a week, Kevan Miller expected to play Tuesday 12.08.13 at 11:46 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is out for at least a week, Claude Julien told reporters after Sunday’s game.

Hamilton left the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs in the first period following a hit along the boards. The injury is lower-body and Hamilton will fly to Boston Monday to be be evaluated.

Kevan Miller, who also left the game after being hit from behind by Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, is likely to play Tuesday against the Flames. Julien said that the status of Johnny Boychuk will determine whether the B’s call up a defenseman for Tuesday, with the team “more optimistic than pessimistic” that Boychuk will be available.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Dougie Hamilton steps up against Toronto, adding to his second-year improvement 11.09.13 at 11:58 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton saw his three-game point streak come to an end Saturday night. He couldn’t get off the ice during a two-and-a-half-minute shift in the second period. And he said after the game that he didn’t know where the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” came from.

There you go. Those are all the things that went wrong for Hamilton in the Bruins’ 3-1 win over Toronto. The list of things that went right is much, much longer, as the 20-year-old defenseman played arguably his best game of the season, and maybe the best of his young career.

With Adam McQuaid playing just 44 seconds before leaving the game with an injury, the rest of the Bruins’ defense corps had to pick up his minutes. But it was Hamilton who saw the biggest spike in playing time. He wound up playing 24:43, a career high for a 60-minute game and a full five minutes more than his season average entering Saturday.

“His first part of the year he was in and out a little bit. But he’s played really solid for us,” Claude Julien said after the game. “Offensively he continues to make good decisions, good plays, very aggressive. Defensively he’s becoming better and better all the time. So he’s a young player — he’s a 20-year-old — but with experience, he’s starting to flourish and he just has to keep going that way.”

Hamilton would’ve picked up a couple extra minutes no matter what, but the way he played warranted even more than that. He created a number of scoring chances in the offensive zone, including one in the first where he made a nice move around Nikolai Kulemin at the blue line before zipping a pass over to David Krejci, only to have Krejci flip the shot off the side of the net. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins season preview: Defense/goalie projections 10.01.13 at 8:24 am ET
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Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara

Here’s the second installment of the player projections for the 2013-14 season, featuring defensemen and goalies. For a look at the forwards, click here.

Note: It’s silly to predict injuries, so all players’ projections will assume they play somewhere in the 75-82-game range. Extra forwards/defensemen aren’t shown given the uncertainty of whether (and where) they’ll play. 

DEFENSEMEN

Zdeno Chara: 13 goals, 37 assists, 50 points

Chara wasn’t bad in the Stanley Cup finals; he was hurt. When he isn’t hurt, he’s one of the best defensemen in the game. It’s as simple as that.

Dennis Seidenberg: 5 goals, 22 assists, 27 points

It’s a contract year for the 32-year-old Seidenberg, so he’ll have plenty of motivation to perform. Depending on what happens cap-wise and given the Bruins’ group of young defensemen, this could very well be Seidenberg’s last season in Boston.

Dougie Hamilton: 10 goals, 20 assists, 30 points

Don’t forget how good Hamilton was at the start of last season. If he can sustain that throughout this campaign, the 10-goal mark is certainly within reach.

Torey Krug: 11 goals, 19 assists, 30 points

After what he did against the Rangers, people’s expectations of Krug might be a little high, but here’s what we do know: He can skate, he’s smart, and he’ll be on the power play. Points will find him.

Johnny Boychuk: 4 goals, 15 assists, 19 points

Johnny Rocket turned into Johnny Wrist Shot last postseason. It will be interesting to see if his offensive success changes his regular-season approach.

Adam McQuaid: 2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points

McQuaid isn’t there for his offense, which actually makes him a logical defensive partner to balance out Krug.

GOALIES 

Tuukka Rask: 54 starts, 2.20 goals-against average, .922 save-percentage

This isn’t a suggestion that Rask will take a step backwards performance-wise, but smaller goalie pads plus a Red Wings team that should score more than it did let season minus Andrew Ference should equal more human numbers.

The only question regarding Rask there should be is whether he can physically handle a full season and playoffs, something he’s never done as a starter at the NHL level. Rask did play 57 regular-season games and 16 playoff contests in the 2008-09 season for Providence, but he hadn’t played into late June in the previous season.

Chad Johnson: 28 starts, 2.41 goals-against average, .912 save-percentage

The 27-year-old Johnson doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience (10 games), but he’s been good at the NHL level with a 1.97 GAA, .929 save percentage and a shutout. We’ll see how good a replacement for Anton Khudobin he ends up being.

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Peter Chiarelli says Bruins want Dougie Hamilton in NHL, not AHL 09.18.13 at 4:19 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins’ defensive picture got a little more interesting this preseason when Zach Trotman and Kevan Miller crashed a competition that was supposed to be between Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for two jobs in the Bruins’ lineup. Yet Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli stressed Wednesday that Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton have the edge in training camp and that he does not plan on sending Hamilton to the AHL.

The Bruins also need a seventh defenseman, so it is likely the B’s will keep all three players on the team. In that scenario, it is likely that Krug and Hamilton would be in the lineup, as Krug and not Hamilton is Bartkowski’s competition. Because there’s an opening for a left shot defenseman and an opening for a right shot defensemen, Krug and Bartkowski are competing for one while Hamilton, Trotman and Miller are competing for the other.

“We’re evaluating everybody,” Chiarelli said when asked if Trotman’s camp has him pushing Hamilton. “I think Miller’s been strong, too. Trotman had a real good rookie camp, and I thought he had a good game the other night. He got lost a little bit in the middle of the game, so we’re going to continue to evaluate those guys. The other D, too, but Trotman and Miller, for me, have stood out in the newcomer category also.

“As far as those D that played last year for us, no spot is guaranteed, but their body of work is greater than these other two, so I would have them ahead.”

Asked whether he would consider having Hamilton start the season in Providence, Chiarelli replied, “My goal is to have him in the NHL.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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With Zach Trotman emerging, B’s young D competition isn’t limited to three 09.17.13 at 2:43 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton is no sure thing to make the Bruins with Zach Trotman pushing. (AP)

Dougie Hamilton is no sure thing to make the Bruins with Zach Trotman pushing. (AP)

WILMINGTON — With two spots in the lineup and three spots on the roster up for grabs on the Bruins’ blue line, it was logical to assume that the competition would be down to three people: Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton. Now, they have company.

In a preseason in which many were eager to see which forward would shine and take the third-line right wing spot, it’s been defenseman Zach Trotman who has been the standout player at a position that wasn’t really begging for more NHL candidates. Trotman, a 23-year-old right shot defenseman with a serious slap shot, was the darling of rookie camp and began training camp paired with Zdeno Chara. He’s made the most of every opportunity so far in camp, scoring in the third period of Monday’s exhibition win over the Canadiens.

On Tuesday, Julien said that the discussion of which young defensemen will make the team has expanded past the trio of Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton to now include Trotman and former University of Vermont blueliner Kevan Miller.

“There’s no doubt there are a lot of guys that are in that conversation,” Claude Julien said Tuesday. “Miller played well last night. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s not the [most notable] offensive guy, but defensively he did a great job. There’s lots of guys right now that we have to have a real close look at because we’re going to need some depth down the road when you have some injuries.”

Who would be the odd man out if Trotman or Miller were to make the team? Likely Hamilton. Last postseason, Hamilton’s chances of getting into the lineup were hampered by the fact that Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg (all of whom were injured at various points) were all left-handed shots. That caused the right-handed Hamilton to get passed over in favor of Krug and Bartkowski, both of whom are lefties.

It seemed that Hamilton being a right shot would help him in camp, as Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk are the only two veteran righties on the back end, meaning that Hamilton had the inside track for one job while Bartkowski and Krug would battle for Ference’s old job. Now, with Trotman (and Miller to a lesser extent) pushing for a job, Hamilton is one of three righties in the mix for that spot.

Following the season, the idea of the now-20-year-old Hamilton potentially starting the season in the AHL seemed possible, but only if the B’s had another right-shot option. With Trotman impressing, it makes that scenario at the very least something the Bruins can entertain. It’s also worth considering that both Bartkowski, 25, and Krug, 22, are more developed than Hamilton and therefore won’t be as negatively impacted by potentially being the seventh defenseman. Hamilton is better off playing now — at either level — as opposed to going days and potentially weeks at a time without game action.

The biggest question with Trotman is a scarily condensed concussion history. He suffered three in a five-month span last season, but he hasn’t been limited in practices thus far in camp.

In addition to his mammoth shot, a plus for Trotman is his size. Hamilton is young and hasn’t had long off seasons the last two summers, so he hasn’t been able to add a ton of weight to fill out his frame. Trotman stands at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds.

Miller, who has skated with Bartkowski in camp, went undrafted but has spent the last two seasons in Providence. Last season, he had two goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 64 regular-season games, with five assists in nine playoff contests.

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