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Phil Kessel trade comes full circle as Dougie Hamilton faces hometown Maple Leafs 02.01.13 at 3:31 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton's NHL career has gotten off to a strong start. (AP)

WILMINGTON — Bruins rookie Dougie Hamilton will experience a couple of firsts Saturday night against the Maple Leafs. Not only will it be his first time facing the team he grew up for rooting in their building, but it will be the first time he faces Phil Kessel.

Were it not for Kessel, Hamilton probably wouldn’t be a Bruin — instead, he’d likely be a Maple Leaf. The ninth overall pick in 2011, Hamilton was the second of two first-round picks traded from the Leafs to the B’s in 2009 in exchange for Kessel. The other one was 2010 second overall pick Tyler Seguin, and Saturday will mark the first time that all three players take the same ice at the same time.

Though their careers have yet to fully play out, the trade has been viewed as lopsided in the Bruins’ favor, based on the elite talent they were able to net in Seguin and Hamilton. Both players are Ontario natives who grew up Leafs fans (Seguin hails from Brampton, while Hamilton is a Toronto native), so watching a pair of local stars play big roles for the rival Bruins is a tough thing for fans of the Maple Leafs to do.

“It’s cool,” Hamilton said his connection to the Leafs. “It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I wasn’t really part of the trade. I was just the pick I guess. I don’t really think about it, I don’t really care about it, so it doesn’t really matter.”

So far this season, Kessel, Seguin and Hamilton each have four points, with Seguin’s empty-netter against the Hurricanes Monday the only goal scored between them. Last season, Seguin was a Leafs-killer with seven goals with four assists in six games against Toronto, so perhaps Seguin can pick up his first real goal of the season and then some on Saturday. If Bruins fans want to get greedy, perhaps Hamilton could score the first goal of his NHL career against Kessel and the Leafs.

While Hamilton understands that he will always be connected to the Kessel trade, he is more excited to take the ice at Air Canada Centre, especially as a visitor.

“I guess I always dreamt of playing for the Leafs, but I think as I’ve gotten older, I think it will be cooler to be on the other side,” he said.

While one would think the 19-year-old would have plenty of friends and family hounding him for tickets to his homecoming, Hamilton insisted that while he’ll have a few family members in the stands, his friends will have to find their own way in.

“They’re getting their own tickets,” he said. “It makes it easier on me.”

As for things in Boston, they’ve been pretty good for Hamilton. The 19-year-old has fit in quite nicely for the B’s, as his four assists are tied for second on the team, as are his 21 shots on goal.

It’s only been seven games, but Hamilton has been through the hype machine that comes with being a top-10 pick coming into a big market, and when asked about the “Dougie mania” that’s been going on — the chants, the playing of Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie,” etc. — he said he’s quite all right with it.

“I think for me,” he said, “I’m just going day by day and just trying to enjoy myself and have fun.

“I don’t mind the Dougie mania,” he added with a grin. “It’s OK with me.”

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin,
Shawn Thornton undergoing evaluation, update expected Friday at 12:35 am ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said an update on Shawn Thornton is expected on Friday after the Bruins enforcer received a full evaluation Thursday night.

Thornton was handed a rare beating in a bout with Buffalo’s John Scott three minutes into a 7-4 loss to the Sabres Thursday night at TD Garden.

After serving his five-minute fighting major in the penalty box, Thornton skated across the ice and immediately to the Bruins dressing room. He did not return.

“We’ll know more [Friday],” Julien said immediately after the game. “He’s being evaluated, until we get a definite answer, nothing more.”

Julien said Thornton’s loss in the fight had little to do with his team’s defenseless loss to the Sabres, a game in which they allowed seven goals in the final two periods.

“I mean you know that’s just part of the game, and you know Scott did his job that his job for them and Shawn did his job for us,” Julien said. “And those things happen you win some you lose some. But at the same time I don’t think it deflated our team. We were in the lead 3-1 there half way through the second so it didn’t do anything in that way. I think again you know, we keep looking for other reasons than the one I gave you guys – we were just terrible defensively. And you know the other part is – give them credit they played a really good game tonight. And I’m not saying that just to say, they really did play a good solid game tonight and they were the better team at the end of the night.”

“I think it’s what happens, it’s a square-off between the two tough guys in the building,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “Somebody said they were talking in warm-ups, I didn’t really anticipate what was going to happen. I think John has provided us some team toughness, and it’s spilled off onto other guys. He did a nice job for us and I thought the rest of the game was just a hard fought game.”

As for the Bruins’ players, they reacted in different ways to the Thornton loss.

“He’s been a great team guy here for the last six years, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does, sticking up for himself and his teammates,” Milan Lucic said. “He’s a great team guy, and he’s an important person to this hockey club. It was unfortunate that he missed the rest of the game after that, but knowing him, he’s a tough guy and he’ll try to get back as soon as he can.”

“I wasn’t too sure if Thorty was gonna fight him, but that’s the type of guy he is, make sure no one else had to do the job and you know, did it,” added Tyler Seguin. “I came in and saw him, he looked like he was doing fine.

“Obviously Thorty can fight and he’s a tough guy, but you’ve still got to look at that Scott guy, he’s not a small guy and Thorty has a ton of passion, and will do anything it takes for this team. Whether it’s fighting a giant just to get the boys going, win or lose, that’s what he’s gonna do.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, John Scott, Lindy Ruff
Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins good, but ‘not anywhere near hitting on all cylinders’ yet 01.30.13 at 10:40 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson spoke with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning about the Bruins’ hot start, Dougie Hamilton‘s role, and which players aren’t quite in top form yet.

“I think the exciting thing is, they’ve got [11] points and they’re not anywhere near hitting on all cylinders,” Pederson said. ”What I saw in November and December of [2011] was, to me, the best I’ve sen a Bruins team play since the [Bobby] Orr and [Phil] Esposito days. When they were just totally dominating after those two months, and then just ran out of gas.

“That’s when the Bruins are hitting on all cylinders to me — when their team defense is good, they’re getting contributions from their special teams. This is a team that’s right up there as the best 5-on-5 team in the National Hockey League. It doesn’t take much to contribute on special teams to put them over the hump. But I think, more importantly, when you see this team playing physically and dominating teams on the forechecking game, that’s when they’re hitting on all cylinders.”

After seeing Tyler Seguin‘s shootout bid interrupted by an “unidentified food object” in Tuesday night’s shootout win over the Devils, Pederson offered some of the stranger things he saw thrown on the ice during his NHL career.

“Thumbtacks, some beer bottles. Of course it was crazy when beer bottles were glass,” he said. “There’s animals and rats and everything else. It was kind of funny there, but as we all know, one of the things you hate when you’re out there playing is something you can’t see on the ice and you step on it, and bang, somebody blows out a knee.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand are just two reasons Bruins are better late than never at 10:26 am ET
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When the Bruins went on their Stanley Cup run in 2011, they made a habit of scoring big goals late in games.

The last two nights, the Bruins have gone back to their Cup-winning formula, hanging in games close and winning them late.

In Raleigh Monday night, they needed someone to step up and it was Dougie Hamilton feeding David Krejci for the go-ahead marker with under two minutes left in regulation.

On Tuesday night, with the team battling to find its legs for 40 minutes, it was Tuukka Rask who held the fort until the burst of energy came in the form of a third-period awakening. The period started strong and finished strong as Nathan Horton beat Johan Hedberg with 4:05 remaining to send the game into a shootout.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Horton said. “That’s what we talked about, you’re not always going to be at your best, but we pull through. You’re down a goal, you’re down two goals, it doesn’t matter you just work hard and fight back. That’s the kind of team we are and the kind of guys we are on our team. We all know we can come back when we’re down and I think that’s what makes us so good.

“I think we knew all along we can come back, we’ve done it a lot before in the past. Just to reassure that, to know that we can come back at any time, I think again when we roll four lines here, we stay fresh, and you keep battling away, eventually you’re gonna win.”

Not even a sausage-throwing moron from the stands could stand in the way of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and the Bruins walking away with the hard-earned and well-deserved two points. Talk about tasty. Seguin had to score twice in the shootout to put the Bruins on the board and Marchand netted the game-winner in the sixth “inning” as the shootout went three extra rounds.

“It was tough, but we found a way,” Seguin said. “I think the main thing is, we have to keep our shifts short, and we were pretty good at that. We were pretty stingy. We didn’t give a ton. We played a good game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, NHL, Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin pulls double duty in shootout win 01.29.13 at 11:57 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin wasn’t a happy camper when he had to follow up his shootout goal with another attempt Tuesday night against the Devils.

As Seguin was skating in on Johan Hedberg in the first round of the shootout, a fan threw what has officially been termed an unidentified food object (or UFO) onto the ice. That meant by rule that the play was going to be attempted again regardless of whether a goal was scored or not, but Seguin was miffed with the whole thing.

“I think it probably affected me more than the goalie,” he said. “I don’t really understand how it affected him more, but someone looked up the rules, and I guess that it’s a do-over.”

Had Hedberg stopped the shot, Seguin would have been given another go at it, so Claude Julien said after the game that the team respected the rule and the call. After beating Hedberg forehand on the first attempt, Seguin said he considered doing the same move again, but eventually decided to deke and go backhand. It worked out for the B’s, as he scored on the second attempt and Brad Marchand eventually delivered the game-winner in the fifth round.

“That’s a first,” Seguin said. “I’m still not sure what it was, maybe a hot dog. I’m hoping that there was a New Jersey Devil logo on the guy’s jersey who threw it, unless you’re one of the Bruins fans doing that, but I guess I’m glad it worked out in the end.”

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Claude Julien: Tyler Seguin ‘out of sync’ at 11:24 am ET
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Tyler Seguin

It took an empty-netter on Monday night for Tyler Seguin to break his early season scoring drought, and Seguin’s first goal of the season was followed by his coach saying that the 20-year-old is still making adjustments.

Seguin is in his third year with the B’s, playing right wing after spending the majority of his junior career at center. He’s also getting reacclimated to the smaller ice of the NHL after spending the lockout playing in Switzerland.

“I think he is out of sync,” Claude Julien said Tuesday morning. “I think where the puck battles are along the boards, I think is somewhere where he’s always going to have to work a little harder at to get better because he’s always played center. At center, you’re always a support guy. He didn’t have to battle as much along the boards. He’s been put in a position that he hasn’t really played his whole life until he came here to Boston.

“That’s maybe a little bit of it, but he has been out of sync because of the way they played in Europe with the bigger ice surface. I mentioned how [much] more passive the game is over there, so he’s got more time and more room. Tyler, if you give him time and space he’s going to make something happen, but it’s a little more aggressive, a little tighter here and he’s readjusting. We hope that that goal last night really helped him get himself back on track and get a little bit of that confidence back.”

Seguin led the Bruins with 29 goals last season. In 29 games in the Switzerland during the lockout, Seguin had 25 goals and 15 assists for 40 points.

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

Read More: Claude Julien, Tyler Seguin,
Bruins improve to 2-0-0 with shootout win over Jets 01.21.13 at 3:54 pm ET
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Nathan Horton takes a shot during the Bruins' win over the Jets Monday afternoon at TD Garden. (AP)

Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scored in a shootout and Tuukka Rask made two saves in the three rounds as the Bruins improved to 2-0-0 with a 2-1 win over the Jets Monday at TD Garden.

The game could have easily ended in the Jets’ favor in overtime, as the B’s were shorthanded at two different points of the extra session. Johnny Boychuk took a penalty for high-sticking Bryan Little with 1:11 left in the third period, leaving the B’s shorthanded through the end of regulation and into overtime, but the Bruins were able to effectively kill it off. The B’s found themselves shorthanded in overtime once again when Zdeno Chara took down Blake Wheeler as he was driving to the net and was called for holding with 1:28 remaining.

The Bruins were forced to play without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who led the B’s in ice time in Saturday’s season-opener but was out Monday with a lower-body injury. The team announced during warmups that Seidenberg is day-to-day.

With Seidenberg out, Aaron Johnson made his Bruins debut and Claude Julien shuffled two of the defensive pairings. Though the Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid pairing was kept intact, Dougie Hamilton (Seidenberg’s partner on Saturday) was moved up to play with Zdeno Chara, while Johnson played with Boychuk.

The Jets got on the board in the first period when Chris Thorburn got to a rebound at the right circle and beat Tuukka Rask just 1:58 into the contest.

With the Bruins in a line change, the Jets tried to get the puck out of the zone, but Tyler Seguin raced from the bench to keep the puck in and sped down the lane. That got the attention of both Jets defenders and goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who committed enough to Seguin that when the third-year player dished it to Brad Marchand in front, it didn’t take much mustard on Marchand’s part to easily put it into the open net.

Rask made 26 saves on 27 shots in the 65 minutes of play.

The Bruins will next have their first road game of the season as they head to Madison Square Garden to face the Rangers on Wednesday. The B’s beat the Rangers, 3-1, on Saturday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- That’s twice now this season that the Bruins have had to kill of a penalty without their best penalty killer in the critical moments of a tie game. Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly came up big on the 4-on-3 in overtime.

- Though it didn’t produce a goal, David Krejci’s line was consistently strong for the Bruins, skating hard and yielding a number of scoring chances for Nathan Horton in particular. Krejci first set up Horton for a bid with a diagonal feed from the top of the right circle to the left dot, but Horton wasn’t able to get enough on his slapper to challenge Pavelec. Krejci then fed Horton in the second period from behind the net, but Horton was denied in front and was later stopped again from the right circle. Horton also drew the Jets’ only penalty of the game, a Mark Stuart interference call, while Milan Lucic was credited with nine hits in regulation.

Seeing Horton involved and getting chances this early is a very positive sign for the Bruins, as uncertainty surrounded the big winger as he went nearly a calendar year without playing in games due to concussion issues and the lockout.

- After switching Marchand and Chris Bourque for a couple shifts apiece midway through the second period, the Patrice Bergeron line really started buzzing when Marchand was put back with his usual line mates. One shift shortly after his return saw a couple of golden opportunities from Seguin (whose bid in front just missed the net) and Bergeron (who tried to send the puck off Pavelec from a bad angle beneath the left circle).

- In particular, Seguin showed off his speed and smarts but was also more aggressive than folks have been accustomed to seeing in the youngster’s first two NHL seasons. In addition to having his risk to race and keep the puck in the zone in the first period paying off, Seguin did a good job of keeping the puck in by batting it down in the second period on a play that ended with Marchand being denied at the doorstep.

- Though he could have prevented the Jets’ first goal (see below), Hamilton looked more comfortable as the game went on and was trusted with time on the penalty kill time in his second career game. Both shorthanded shifts came at the end of penalties, so he totaled 37 seconds on the penalty kill for the Bruins.

- The B’s lucked out on a couple of plays that could have yielded Jets goals and given them the lead in what was a 1-1 game. In the second period, Evander Kane took an easy wrist shot from a bad angle low on left circle, but it trickled through Rask. Fortunately, the angle meant it slid through the crease and not into the net. In the third period, Postma launched a snapshot from above the right circle that hit the left post.

- Not necessarily a positive, but an interesting note: With Kane’s third-period goaltender interference penalty, Bruins opponents have been called for interfering with Rask.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The defense wasn’t its sharpest in the first period, suffering multiple breakdowns early after playing tight defense against the Rangers Saturday. Thorburn’s goal was the result of Hamilton losing track of the puck in front following a Paul Postma shot. The rebound bounced to Thorburn, who sent a shot past Rask to give the Jets the early 1-0 lead.

Just a little over halfway through the period following a Pavalec save on a Nathan Horton bid, Kyle Wellwood split the defense of Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid to set up a breakaway that concluded with a big save from Rask. Though the other pairings may have had an excuse due to the shuffling caused by Seidenberg’s absence, the Ference-McQuaid pairing was unchanged from training camp and the Rangers game.

The Bruins’ blueline seemed to regroup in the second period with overall tighter play.

- They only got two opportunities, but the Bruins’ power play once again failed to produce. The first configuration with Horton, Seguin and Lucic had a solid chance in the second period with Horton being denied in front, but Monday yielded another contest without a power play goal. Adding that to Saturday’s 0-for-7 showing, the B’s are now 0-for-8 on the man advantage season.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin,
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