|If you don’t know Nathan Horton’s face yet, you soon will||09.15.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The process of acclimation continues for Nathan Horton, who has been out there for each of the Bruins’ captains practice. Though he will technically be a newcomer come Friday’s opening of training camp, Horton, acquired in June from the Panthers, has been everywhere for the Bruins since arriving in town. In addition to his aforementioned attendance on the ice, he’s participated in charity events and has thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park.
One of his more recent adventures around New England came Monday, when he and Milan Lucic delivered tickets to a season-ticket holder. Though his teammates are plenty familiar with the winger, Horton understands the fans may not quite have his mug memorized.
“We did surprise them. I’m not sure they knew somebody was coming, and then it was me and Milan,” Horton said. “[I don’t think] they know my face real well, but they know him and they were pretty excited.”
Wednesday night Horton will try his luck in Marco Sturm‘s charity poker tournament. Though the getting-to-know-you process has been an enjoyable ride thus far, Horton’s ready to get down to business on Friday.
“It hasn’t started yet,” Horton said of his new job. “It’s been fun till now, but once Friday comes I think it will be a little more serious. It’s been fun though. I get to do a lot of stuff and see a lot of the things in Boston.”
|Cam Neely can offer perspective on Marc Savard trade rumors||09.13.10 at 2:41 pm ET|
BOLTON — Cam Neely and Nathan Horton could be seen talking and laughing prior to teeing off at The International for the Bruins’ annual golf tournament on Monday. For Horton, his Bruins career has consisted of throwing out a first pitch at Fenway, playing street hockey with kids, scrimmaging with no coaches, surprising season-ticket holders by delivering their tickets with Milan Lucic, and now golfing. Given his excitement to be in Boston and factoring in all the aforementioned perks, one might dare to suggest that nobody is more excited for the 2010-11 season than Horton.
Except Neely, of course.
At his formal introduction as team president this summer, Neely spoke with passion of how the fans deserved more. Now on the other side of the offseason, Neely reinforced his line of thinking that the team has “unfinished business to take care of” and noted that he feels Peter Chiarelli and co. have put together “a much better club this year.”
Though Neely praised the talents of Horton and Tyler Seguin, the offseason’s other prize, he offered a unique perspective when discussing the subject of trade talks with returning players. Names such as Michael Ryder, Tim Thomas, and most notably Marc Savard came up frequently through either reports or speculation.
‘Speaking as a former player, you can’t worry about what’s out of your control. The way I looked at it when I was a player was, you hear about rumors and things that you can’t really control, you can’t worry about it.
“The only thing you can worry about are the stuff you can control, whether it’s in sports or in general. That’s how I approached it as a player and that’s how I would think most players would approach it. It’s always difficult if you hear your name mentioned in ways you don’t want it to be mentioned, but things you can’t control, you shouldn’t worry too much about.’
Neely knows a good amount about trades given the fact that he himself was dealt from the Canucks to the Bruins back in 1986. He can only hope that the team’s most recent trade for a big winger in Horton works out the way it did back then.
|Chara, Savard, Horton top Bruins in NHL ’11||09.07.10 at 10:22 pm ET|
Someone who hasn’t played a video game in years may not have the best perspective on this, but here goes:
WEEI.com was able to get their hands on a copy on a copy of NHL ’11, the most recent edition of the popular EA Sports hockey video game. After taking a gander at the ratings of Bruins players, Boston fans should have something to say about how their team is represented.
Overall, the team is an 88. The offense is an 87 and the defense is an 85. The goaltending gets an 89.
Here are the individual ratings. First, the skaters:
Zdeno Chara: 89
Marc Savard: 88
Nathan Horton: 84
David Krejci: 83
Milan Lucic: 83
Michael Ryder: 82
Marco Sturm: 82
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.”
|Captain’s practice commences for Bruins||at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins wrapped up their first captain’s practice, featuring 13 skaters and a pair of goaltenders, Tuesday around noontime at Ristuccia Arena. The practice, which consisted of some offensive drills and some scrimmaging, featured some happy faces as players began the process off the preseason. Here are the guys that suited up for the Bruins’ first captain’s practice:
Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Matt Dalton
There were a few positives that came from the session. For starters, David Krejci wasn’t fooling when he said he’d be good to go for camp. With his wrist surgery and recovery in the rearview mirror, he didn’t seem to be slowed.
‘ Tim Thomas was around prior to practice but did not skate with teammates.
‘ Mark Recchi didn’t skate with his teammates but suited up after practice and skated by himself.
‘ Horton’s teammates spoke highly of their new winger after practice. The Bruins’ biggest trade acquisition this offseason, Horton said his old team had a captain’s practice-type skate when he was in Florida, but that “a lot of guys didn’t come.”
‘ Chara, Horton and Stuart spoke following the skate. Check back here later for what they had to say as they prepare for the 2010-11 season.
|Home ice should be more of an advantage for Bruins||09.06.10 at 5:04 pm ET|
With captain’s practice set to begin Tuesday in Wilmington (closed to the public), the offseason is getting closer and closer to being over. Though the additions of Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton might be viewed as the biggest differences between last season’s squad and the 2010-11 edition of the Bruins, the team may be helped in the seats of the TD Garden as much as it has improved on the ice.
With the team selling out full season ticket packages in July, the Bruins join the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens, Flames, Canucks in that regard. Though anyone hoping to get a traditional package is out of luck, single game tickets will go on sale this week. A pre-sale for season-ticket holders will begin Tuesday, with the general public getting their crack at tickets on Friday.
With season tickets flying so quickly, it appears the Bruins are set to be a hot ticket in Boston next season and perhaps could surpass their attendance numbers of a year ago.
In the 2009-10 season, one in which they finished sixth in the Eastern Conference and made it to the conference semifinals, the Bruins were a middle-of-the-pack team as far as attendance went (15th in the league), but their average of 17,388 people a night was 99 percent of the Garden’s 17,565 capacity.
With any luck, a potentially increased crowd could help the team improve upon a lackluster home record. Last season, the Bruins posted an 18-17-6 record at the Garden, a far cry from their 21-13-7 road record. Though the Bruins entered last season coming off a first-place regular season finish in the Eastern Conference, the buzz surrounding the team this year has been unlike any other in the club’s recent history. Even given the economy, it appears they’re set to be a huge draw in Boston.
|X-Factors: Nathan Horton||08.26.10 at 12:29 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be putting a player or position in the spotlight based on their ‘X-factor’ status entering the season. So far, we’ve taken a look at Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, and the goaltending position. Up next is Nathan Horton, who is undoubtedly primed for a big season, but is there a point at which placing huge expectations on a top player can become detrimental?
The definition of “X-factor” could be called into question here given that Horton is expected to be a first-line winger and potentially the team’s top scorer. That certainly doesn’t sound like a qualifying case for this series, but the truth is that there are so many variables that come into play with Horton that it would be unwise to take anything as being a given. After all, huge expectations that were outside what Horton could do in the Panthers’ offense were what plagued his career in Florida.
For starters, it seemed quite clear when Horton first came to Boston that this is the environment in which he wanted to be. In fact, he appeared rather nervous when he was introduced alongside Tyler Seguin. So why is this good? Because Horton has appeared throughout his young career (he’s still 25) that he is ready to explode in the right situation. It seems he has that here with the Bruins, and it’s apparent that he’s excited to finally have the chance.
If Horton blossoms into the 40-goal scorer that many think he will become when placed to the right of Marc Savard, he will actually double his goals from last season. Whether or not such a feat is actually attainable remains to be seen, but playing on a team with what he called “stability” that the Panthers lacked could go a long way. A long way, yes, but far enough to make him one of the top scorers in the league?
The Bruins haven’t had a player rack up 40 goals in a season since the 2002-03 campaign, when Glen Murray finished fifth in the league with 44 (Joe Thornton wasn’t far behind with 36). How Horton gels with Savard will go a long way in determining whether he’s the next (it’s hard not to imagine Seguin getting to there within a few seasons) to do so. Horton’s spent his career with either with centers below Savard’s skillet or playing the position himself. Finally having someone who can set him up and also needs to be accounted for means big things should be in store, and that maybe those projections aren’t too crazy. Read the rest of this entry »