|Dougie Hamilton steps up against Toronto, adding to his second-year improvement||11.09.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
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 »
|Bruins season preview: Defense/goalie projections||10.01.13 at 8:24 am ET|
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.
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.
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.
|Peter Chiarelli says Bruins want Dougie Hamilton in NHL, not AHL||09.18.13 at 4:19 pm ET|
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.
|With Zach Trotman emerging, B’s young D competition isn’t limited to three||09.17.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
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.
|Dougie Hamilton is (finally) rested, better coordinated and ready for more||09.04.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Even though he didn’t play in the last two rounds of the playoffs, Dougie Hamilton played a ton of hockey last season.
Last summer, Hamilton went from development camp to the Canada-Russia Challenge to the OHL for the lockout, where he played 32 games. Then the lockout ended and he played 42 games in the 48-game regular season before playing seven postseason games as a rookie.
Hamilton, now 20, is obviously young enough to be able to bounce back from a long stretch of lots of hockey, but he admitted Wednesday that by the time he got to camp for his rookie NHL season last year, he was “pretty worn down.”
So, in an effort to not overdo it, Hamilton said he did what he could to not only not play, but not even think about hockey in the offseason. He trained hard in the short time and continued in his quest to put on a little more weight, but Hamilton said he didn’t look at tape of his play as a rookie or rush to get on the ice early in the summer.
“I just kind of try to forget about hockey for a little bit, and I think you’ve got to be able to come in motivated and hungry,” he said.
That’s not to suggest Hamilton, who made his first appearance at captains practice on Wednesday, isn’t eager to begin his second NHL season. However, after what was probably the busiest stretch of his hockey life (development camp in July, the Canada-Russia challenge in August followed by a long season between Niagara and Boston that went well into June), he tried to get hockey off his mind.
“As a kid, I would always take a break and play other sports,” he said. “I think it’s hard to continuously play. You guys probably feel the same with your jobs. You need to get away from it a bit. I think just going back home, you’re already away from it. Just being away from the team, it makes it feel better when you come back.”
Hamilton will return as the youngest player on the Bruins, but he’s also no longer a rookie. Asked what he needs to work on to become a better player now that he’s a veteran, he joked that he still needs to “get older.”
He said he hasn’t reflected much on his rookie season — he’s definitely the type to look ahead and not back — but he does come in motivated to not let what happened last season happen again. Fellow rookies Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski proved more valuable (or maybe just more left-shooting) than him, and as a result Hamilton watched the Eastern Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals from the press box as a healthy scratch.
“I think you’re doing what’s best for the team, and if that’s what we needed to win, then I was fine with that,” he said. “I think obviously you want to be playing and being on the ice, and of course you spent the summer working your hardest so that you’ll be playing and not sitting out.”
Hamilton, who stands at a what-would-be-towering-if-Zdeno-Chara-weren’t-on-the-team 6-foot-5, didn’t look noticeably bigger on the ice or in person Wednesday, but then again he didn’t have a whole lot of time to bulk up. He wouldn’t reveal how much weight he’s put on (“It’s a secret,” he said with a grin) but he did say the biggest thing he took away from the offseason was getting more comfortable in a frame he hasn’t had for too long.
Remember, Hamilton was still growing as the Bruins were scouting him leading up the 2011 draft, so he spent a good chunk of his workouts focusing on agility and trying to become more coordinated. After all, size is only good if it’s used well.
“[I’m] the most coordinated I’ve been since my growth,” he said. “I can kind of see a change in that. I’ve become a lot more coordinated and gotten a lot quicker in my speed and stuff.
“I still think I need to fill out. I’m not at that point yet, but I started to a little bit. It’s been tough the last couple years with growing so much, especially a couple years ago. Now, just doing sprints and stuff, you can kind of feel like your body’s there and not kind of around you.”
|Dennis Seidenberg a game-time decision for Game 5||05.25.13 at 4:32 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Saturday afternoon that Dennis Seidenberg will dress for warmups prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. The team will decide after the warmup whether Seidenberg will then play in the game.
Seidenberg has not played since Game 7 of the first round against the Maple Leafs, as he suffered a lower-body injury on his first shift and skated only one more shift in the contest.
If Seidenberg is to play, Dougie Hamilton would be the most likely player to come out of the lineup.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I had my problems with the officiating’ in Game 4||05.24.13 at 12:21 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, in an interview with Mut & Merloni on Friday, talked about the B’s letdown that cost them Game 4 against the Rangers.
Of the Bruins’ many mistakes Thursday night, Brickley said Tuukka Rask‘s slip-up that allowed New York’s first goal was the biggest.
“The absolute critical moment in the game was the goal that Rask let in, the first goal of the game for the Rangers,” Brickley said. “Think about the situation: This is a knockout game, you have nothing going in terms of any kind of offensive attack — I think they had somewhere between seven, eight or nine shots on goal; maybe two quality scoring chances — down 2-0, the building’s dead, there’s no signs of believability from the New York Rangers. Then [Carl] Hagelin‘s little backhander eludes Tuukka Rask in a stumble. That was the absolute most critical point in the hockey game because all of a sudden the Rangers started to believe that they had a chance.”
Brickley also took issue with the officiating Thursday.
Said Brickley: “You knew you were in trouble when [Roman] Hamrlik gets the first penalty — that’s black and white, no-brainer, over the glass, delay of game. Then the next penalty comes to [Matt] Bartkowski. He gets locked up with [Ryan] Callahan. Callahan punches him in the head when they’re in separation. Bartkowski gives him a love tap to say, Hey, I’m aware of what just happened, and he’s the only one that gets the minor penalty. I said, Oh, this is going to be a tough night for me to analyze these officials and say that this is going to be OK. And you can even throw the [Jaromir] Jagr penalty in there — how late did that arm go up after the crowd reaction when he was trying to protect the puck in the neutral zone.
“I had my problems with the officiating. Can it be better? Absolutely. But it is what it is, and you’ve got to play through it.”
Another questionable decision came when Rangers forward Derick Brassard threw down his stick and gloves in hopes of fighting Brad Marchand, only to see Marchand skate away.
“I thought Brassard deserved a penalty in that situation,” Brickley said. “Marchand doing his job, getting under his skin. But I’ve seen it both ways. These are judgment calls.”
Dougie Hamilton was beaten on the game-winning goal by Chris Kreider. Brickley said how the 19-year-old defenseman responds will tell us a lot about his future.
“There was some good from Dougie last night and some not so good,” Brickley said. “On that game-winning goal, he’s not out of position. It’s a two-on-two and he’s fronting Kreider. He tries to get his stick right around the top of the circle knowing — and you heard the sound bite, he said, ‘I knew exactly where he was going and what he was going to do.’ But he didn’t get his stick. And when he tried a second time to get it, it was too late and he allowed Kreider to get that inside position. It was a well-executed play, but the microscope is on him because it’s the game-winner.”
Added Brickley: “These are good lessons for a young player. You have to have the heartache and the disappointment in order to reach the levels that you expect to reach as a professional athlete. These are the growing pains that are good to experience. It’s how you bounce back that determines your character.”