|Tyler Seguin’s fantastic adventure||07.10.10 at 10:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The initiation of Tyler Seguin couldn’t have gone much better.
Fans turned out in record numbers at the team’s fourth annual summer development camp to see No. 57 in a yellow pinny skate in Bruins black and gold on the ice at Ristuccia Arena. [For the record, he’ll wear No. 19 when the real games begin].
He handled every media request flawlessly (see below for an example of that). He survived his first hockey test with an NHL organization. He was even matched up against the “veteran” of development camp, “Jumbo Joe” Colborne, who stands about 6-9 on skates, and handled himself with confidence and determination that showed Bruins executives like Don Sweeney that he might indeed be ready to compete for a spot on the big club this fall.
And most importantly, he made it through without any freak injuries and appears ready to get some R&R and come back in September and skate against the big boys.
“Obviously, I’m very excited,” the 18-year-old Seguin beamed. “This has been my dream my whole life to get this opportunity. It’s right around the corner, training camp, I’m going to come in here and work my hardest and hopefully, earn a spot.”
What’s the biggest lesson he’s learned in one week on the job?
“Here you have to be a professional,” Seguin answered. “This is a job. You’re trying to take other players’ jobs here and trying to get to the next level. I think it’s just the adjustment of how much bigger the players are here and I think it’s different than sometimes in the OHL, everyone here are 100 percent committed to their dream. It’s just a little bit different than what I’m used to. It’s just a whole other step.”
Still, there were moments for Seguin when he was reminded that he’s no longer with Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League in junior hockey but rather in the big time. Like on Thursday when he arrived at practice and already had a little fan.
“I thought it was pretty cool a little kid saying my name,” he said. “Other than that, there’s no special treatment here. Everyone is treated fair. I don’t think it matters if you go first round or fifth round, everyone coming in here has the same opportunity to earn their spot and that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
|Don Sweeney’s shining moment||at 7:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — These are proud times for Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney.
All one had to do was take one look at the massive crowd that turned out at tiny Ristuccia Arena here for the final day of the team’s week-long development camp for rookies and young prospects.
It was Sweeney who organized and ran the team’s first such off-season camp in July, 2007. He said after Saturday’s workout that the 2010 edition was another success, featuring star prospects Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne.
“Not really comparing years here, I think we’re excited about the skill set we’ve gone out and identified and brought in,” Sweeney said. “Be it through the draft or through the acquisition side of it, I think, overall, our group should be proud and excited about the guys they’ve identified and brought in.
“Now, it’s time for the players to continue to get better and our coaching staff, who we feel teaches the game very, very well, and our management group, to continue to push these guys all forward. That includes our workout guys, everybody. You see all of our group here, from player personnel, to scouts, you can tell how much our organization is taking care of it and that comes from Peter [Chiarelli] and filters down.”
Under Sweeney, the team has brought the club’s top prospects to Ristuccia in advance of the main September training camp.
“Make no mistake about it, the ultimate goal is to produce the best NHL players we can,” Sweeney said. “The more we can build camaraderie and using that as an example of them understanding they have a chance to be teammates and be part of something where we hope to win.
Development camp gives the prospects the opportunity to get to know each other on and off the ice while teaching them the level of dedication and training necessary for them to reach the next stage of their careers.
“Ultimately, we’re just trying to win,” Sweeney said. “I hope with all my heart that these guys come in here and they grab a hold of it right from the get-go and the culture we’re trying to create and the momentum we have and they continue to push that forward and I think that helps in that regard.”
“We referenced earlier in the week where Joe Colborne had reached out to a number of these kids and gave them a little heads up. That’s the stuff we hope each and every one [understands]. Next year, it might be somebody else that reaches out to a young draft pick and so you’ve created that momentum and the culture that we’re hoping to continue to build going forward.”
Colborne was only too happy to help.
“These guys have been coming up to me the whole camp with questions,” Colborne said. “I’ve tried to be as welcoming as possible and make sure they all feel comfortable because I know what it feels to be a new guy coming in with no idea. So I’ve been up front with them, trying to give them the heads up on what the tougher parts of camp are, the things you’re going to have to learn and they’ve all taken it in stride and improved since the start of camp.”
One of the bonding activities that Colborne helped lead was a bowling outing on Thursday night.
But perhaps the biggest confirmation of Sweeney’s optimism came from Colborne, who just completed his third such development camp with the B’s.
“Right from Day 1, when we were doing the program with the Marines, that’s all they talked about was doing that extra little bit that will be the difference between winning a Stanley Cup championship or losing in Game 7 like we did this year,” the 20-year-old Colborne said.
“Obviously, you can tell the management is hungry. The guys like [David] Krejci have been back here and he’s ready to get going. It’s going to be a very hungry group next year and hopefully, I’ll be part of it.”
|Young leadership, excitement on display at development camp||07.06.10 at 5:58 pm ET|
With the team’s first day of development camp in the books, Bruins youngsters have endured plenty — from fitness testing in the morning to swarming media to a hellish afternoon of team-builing activities with a Marine. Despite how difficult the first day may have been, the promise shown and words spoken from the players during a day that didn’t feature a second of ice time was a good start to the five-day camp.
The players on display at this year’s camp may make this the best such class in the program’s four-year history. From those considered to be in the upper echelon among the league’s prospects (Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne, and Jordan Caron) to local players (BC’s Tommy Cross, BU’s David Warsofsky), there was plenty on display the first day.
Despite how anxious and eager they may be however, the camp is merely a group of sessions to familiarize the players with their peers and help management gauge what to expect from the players likely to contribute to the NHL club. Players were assured of that by assistant general manager Don Sweeney at a welcoming meeting Monday night.
“It’s a place to make an impression for everybody and I did tell them that last night as well,” Sweeney said. “You’re not making our hockey club and playing for Claude [Julien] this week. We’ve had players as our reference that have done that, but it’s really about getting an understanding of what those coaches are going to require of them as players of the National Hockey League level for them to be able to play.
“In a perfect world, they’re all going to wear a Bruins jersey. Is that a reality? Probably not. Which they should understand as well and how difficult it is to get to that level. They all have a chance and that’s all it really takes to have that opportunity.”
Seguin continued to stress his ultimate goal of making the Bruins as a rookie, which both he and the Bruins seem to expect at this point. Though he did note he saw that Taylor Hall had signed his entry level deal with the Oilers on Monday, he didn’t seem to be in a rush to have his agent, Ian Pulver, finish up a contract with the Bruins. The task at hand appeared to be the priority for Seguin, with his new jersey the constant reminder.
“I’ve got the [No.] 19 Boston jersey in my bedroom,” Seguin said. “Before I go to sleep every night, I get to look at that and say, ‘That’s where I want to go. That’s my goal,’ and that’s what I have to work hard for all summer.”
The team-building activities did more than just drain the players physically. They helped highlight the potential leadership roles that some of the players could have in the future. Cross, goalie Zane Gothberg, Colborne, and Warsofsky were among the first to volunteer to lead exercises.
It wasn’t the first exercise in leadership for Colborne. The 2008 first-rounder has been proactive about welcoming younger players into the organization via text message, as he did with Seguin.
“That’s music to all of our ears to be honest with you,” Sweeney said. “Joe actually asked me for a couple of guys numbers and I was quick to shoot them out to him because I love initiative on all of our players. He’s a great kid and each and every one of these kids should understand that we hope that more will emerge.”
For Warsofsky, who was acquired from St. Louis on the second day of the NHL draft in exchange for center Vladimir Sobotka, Monday was the first day on the Marshfield native’s dreamjob.
“Every since the trade I’ve been really excited to get started with the Bruins, so it’s enjoying to get my future started here,” Warsofsky said.
The camp runs through Saturday. Practice on Wednesday will be open to the public at 1 p.m.
|Team-building kicks off||at 3:44 pm ET|
BEDFORD — Bruins prospects struggled plenty in the morning on the first day of development camp, but based on the way their afternoon team-building activities have kicked off in Bedford, the heat was nothing.
Upon arriving at The Edge Sports Center, youngsters including Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne, and David Warsofsky took in an hour-long presentation from Eric Kapitulik, who shared both gut-wrenching and inspiring stories from his life with the NHL hopefuls. Kapitulik, who played lacrosse at Navy, experienced a life-changing tragedy in 1999 during his time as a Marine. A helicopter crash in San Diego saw him and those under his command sink in the chopper under water as they tried to swim out while drowning. Kapitulik was one of 11 who survived, but they lost seven men in the December crash.
Kapitulik, who since has competed in eight Ironman triathlons and raised money for a scholarship to benefit the six children who lost their parents in the disaster. In speaking with the players, he addressed them as “warriors” and preached that the most important people in the room were the people to the left and right of one another. In leading workouts with the team that have ranged from pushups to flutter kicks to carrying sandbags, he continued to preach the logic, as Boston College defenseman Tommy Cross learned.
“We don’t care about you, Tommy,” Kapitulik shouted as the defenseman led the team in pushups. “All we care about are the warriors to your left and to your right.”
The team-building activities, which consisted of four quarters of what Kapitulik called “judgement day,” were certainly challenging on the players, many of whom had attended development camp in years past. Rather than counting off pushups in traditional style, whomever led the exercises (players volunteered, with Cross being the first to successfully do so — Zach Trotman tried to but was sent back to his teammates for walking) would push up, down, and up, counting one, two, and three at each move, before his teammates would yell “one” back as they pushed up again. As a result, the 17 pushups Cross led the players in to lead off the first quarter were more like 37.
“If you don’t think you can possibly do one more pushup, do one more,” Kapitulik said before the first quarter kicked off. “Then do one more.”
Colborne, the 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft, was the first prospect to get an earful from Kapitulik. After the Marine’s initial speech, which was given in a room next to the indoor turf the players then exercised on, he asked the center if he felt he could get his teammates to fold up their chairs, put them away, and be lined up on the field in 60 seconds. Colborne accepted the assignment, and when the 27 players couldn’t finish in time, Kapitulik shouted to the center that it was only his fault.
Exercises were often stopped by Kapitulik and members of the Program when players were not calling out their teammates for slipups. Though the likes of Don Sweeney and Peter Chiarelli were in attendance, the lasting image of the day might be president Cam Neely sitting by himself on a bench in the middle of the turf, completely silent as he watched the players struggle in the first 16 minutes.
|Chiarelli: “There is no done deal”||02.28.09 at 4:45 pm ET|
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was loathe to respond to an online report that the Ducks and Bruins have “agreed in principle” on a deal that would send Chris Pronger and forward Travis Moen to Boston. According to the report, an unnamed roster player, defenseman Mark Stuart, prospect Joe Colborne and a 2010 first round pick back would be shipped to Anaheim for the bruising blueliner.
The trade rumors picked up steam when Pronger and the sinking Ducks visited on Thursday night and were blown off the ice by the Bruins, but nothing has been finalized. The report is awfully close to a rumor first published on SI.comyesterday that had a theoretical package of Chuck Kobasew, Stuart, Colborne and a 2009 pick headed to the Ducks for Pronger and Travis Moen.
All Chiarelli would say is that there haven’t been any agreements made in principle with anyone at this point with the NHL trade deadline still looming on Wednesday afternoon, and that the result from the overtime loss to the Capitals didn’t tip the trade scales one way or the other.
“There are a million different reports out there and I’m not going to deny or confirm each one,” said Chiarelli. “There is no done deal.
“This was a game between two of the top teams in the conference,” added Chiarelli. “Does it change my plans going into the trade deadline? No. We take a look at the whole year, and the team as a whole.”