Bruins

B's prospects scrimmage at development camp

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B's prospects scrimmage at development camp

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The Bruins wrapped up Day No. 4 of their development camp with a team-wide scrimmage between a Black and White squad that had plenty of interesting developments among the players.

The Black Team finished with a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Justin Florek, Alex Fallstrom and Brian Ferlin. It was a pretty solid day from Florek and Ferlin as theyve flown under the radar at development camp.

Anthony Camara had the single score for the White Team proving hes more than simply a hockey brawler, and goalie Michael Hutchinson managed to get through the entire scrimmage without a single score against him.

It was choppy a little bit at the first start, but once somebody scores a goal you start to make some plays and guys kind of settle in," said Don Sweeney. "Thats where the hockey sense and the stuff that our scouts and people see all year long starts to materialize. Thats probably the enjoyable thing. Thats not the main focus of this camp, but its always a nice little piece towards the end of it. You kind of see these kids in the setting that theyre most comfortable in while the games being played.

I thought the Ferlin line created an awful lot and did a real good job on the cycle, and obviously Florek had the one opportunity and buried it. You like to see that from the big man down around the front of the net. I thought all of our D moved the puck pretty well today and got involved in the offensive flow. Obviously, Anthony Camara scored a goal, so you like to see that from a guy who plays with a lot of bite. He can play on both sides of it. I thought the overall pace, you know, especially when weve only got two lines, was really, really good.

Other observations after watching the Baby Bs get out and actually play a game:

Dougie Hamilton definitely looks like an 18-year-old kid in his first pro camp and its pretty clear there is still some development that needs to take place. He was aggressive taking the puck up the ice and quick to snap off shots from the point, but he also found himself caught out of position defensively. His inability to cut off angles led to several breakaways down the other end, he was caught running around in his own end a couple of times and there werent many instances when he picked his head up to pass after corralling at the puck at the point. The fluid skating and big shot are very clearly there in abundance, but another year of junior hockey will do wonders for Hamilton physically. The future is bright, but there is work to be done. It also helped Hamilton that he was paired with the very steady, heady Tommy Cross, who is the elder statesmen among the players at camp entering his senior year at Boston College.

Marc Cantin isnt a player that jumps out at you in drills or on the stat sheet, but its difficult not to notice him during the games. He drilled 6-foot-3 Brian Ferlin during one rush up the ice while stopping the rush of the puck, and he forced a puck through the pads of Lars Volden. Hes a kid that earned a job in development camp last year and continues to show the kind of in-game skills that coaches loves.

Alex Fallstrom was one of the stars of the game despite being held off the scoreboard. Hes worked closely with John Whitesides since the end of last season at Harvard University and has really picked up his skating speed to go along with the hands and physicality already part of his game. He showed off the hands while dangling the puck through defenders for a scoring chance stopped by Hutchinson, and appears to be getting physically stronger as well. Might not be a top six forward, but ultimately could be a third or fourth liner capable of potting double-digit goals at the NHL level.

David Warsofsky and Ryan Button showed a lot of shake and bake in their defenseman game and both had plenty of wiggle skating through defenders to make offensive plays. Warsofsky set up Justin Floreks rebound goal in front of the net after faking shot and then moving with the puck to the middle point area its that kind of movement and creativity that was consistently missing from Bostons power play last season. Both guys will start the year in Providence, but could very easily be in Boston at some point during the season.

Justin Florek and Brian Ferlin used their size, strength and toughness to pile up some points in the scrimmage. Both players have gone virtually unnoticed by the media during the development camp, but each showed some offensive ability when it mattered most.

Michael Hutchinson looks well ahead of both Zane Gothberg and Lars Volden in his development as a goaltender, but thats to be expected given his age and AHL experience last year. Hutchinson made an outstanding stop on Josh Jooris during a penalty shot early in the scrimmage, and flashed a great glove hand for a 6-foot-3 goaltender. As Hutchinson matures he could provide a good young No. 3 behind Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, and will battle it out with Anton Khudobin for that distinction this season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

BOSTON – The Bruins returned Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to good health and their lineup on Thursday night, but they also saw a few more players get banged up in their win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

David Krejci exited Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Canucks with an upper body injury after scoring a power play goal, and Adam McQuaid also had to leave the game after dropping to one knee to block a shot with his right leg. McQuaid was also already banged up after taking a shot off his knee in last weekend’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so taking another shot off the leg certainly wasn’t a helpful development. 

“He blocked a shot, so he’ll get evaluated tonight or tomorrow. I don’t know how serious – he blocks a lot of shots. This one stung him obviously so we’ll see how it turns out. Adam [McQuaid] has been doing that for years around here. He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He actually manages the puck very well. He’s not a flashy player. He’s not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs an Adam McQuaid. We’re certainly fortunate to have him.”

With Krejci it appeared that he suffered some back spasms after getting cross-checked, and that’s what ended up forcing him out of the win. Cassidy doesn’t foresee it being a long-term thing with Krejci, who finished with a goal and two points in 8:21 of ice time centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.  

“He has an upper body; he had to leave. He wasn’t feeling too terrific today, and then he got, I think there was a cross-check there. He tried it, but couldn’t continue [playing]. I think he had some spasms, but I don’t think there’s anything long-term there at all.”

It remains to be seen if either McQuaid or Krejci will miss any time with the bumps and bruised suffered on Thursday, but it goes without saying that the Bruins hope they can stay in a lineup that’s beginning to take shape with the full group. 

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the presence of Patrice Bergeron is a major game-changer for the Boston Bruins. 

Bergeron finally felt good enough to return to the B’s lineup after missing the first five games of the season with a lower body injury, and the impact was immediate and unmistakable with a goal and four points in a 6-3 win for the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was also a far-reaching impact with the Bruins center pumping life back in the B’s power play with a return to his bumper position, returning a top penalty killer to the Bruins rotation, bringing normalcy back to the forward group by slotting fellow forwards back into their rightful spots and simply giving the B’s their best all-around player back. 

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Clearly it was a joyous moment for Bergeron to get back on the ice and play after getting a couple of good days in on the practice ice leading up to Thursday night. 

“It’s hard no matter what it is. You know, when you’re missing games, when you’re missing time, it’s… you miss being out there with the guys and battling with them and going through what we have to go through as a team. It’s good to be back,” said Bergeron. “You don’t know what to expect obviously [after a long layoff]. You’re trying to hope for the best. I don’t want to say I was surprised [at his high level of play] because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork finally skated together for the first time after building chemistry all throughout training camp, and they finished with four goals, 10 points, a plus-6 rating and 13 of Boston’s 35 shots on net for the game. It was the way that the Bruins roster was drawn up headed into the season before they had a five-game detour due to the injuries, and the hope is that’s the way it will continue to look for the Black and Gold moving forward. 

“I mean it’s pretty evident, you know, the way [Bergeron] played out there. He just, it’s incredible the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long, you know?” said Brad Marchand, who finally has his longtime partner-in-crime back. “He’s just such a big part of the group. He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. He just does everything that a top guy does.”

Perhaps most striking of all was the emotion and organization that the Bruins played with having Bergeron and David Backes back in the lineup. The breakouts, reloading counter-attacks and defensive zone coverage all had more noticeable structure, and the Bruins were able to get the wave after wave attack from their forward groups that spurred on goals both during 5-on-5 play and when special teams were involved. 

Some of that is getting two highly talented players like Bergeron and Backes back from injury, and some of it is getting an important, tone-setting leader like No. 37 back for everything he does off the ice as well. 

Bergeron set up the important answering goal in the first period by firing a puck that created a rebound for Bjork to clean up, he did the same for David Krejci’s power play to close out the first period scoring, he created the turnover that led to Marchand’s goal in the second period and then he sniped home his own goal from the bumper spot to finally clinch things in the third period. It was clear that Bergeron is still navigating through discomfort and some level of injury while playing at this point, but his hockey IQ and his gritty toughness are allowing him to still be a highly effective player. 

“I think it was self-evident out there that the play on the ice, first of all, built a matchup against whoever we really want. The Power play obviously [was a] big impact there. I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Those intangibles, leadership, first shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and [he’s] kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. 

“[He’s talking about] finishing your routes on the fore-check and reloading all the way to our zone.

[It’s the] stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. When you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more. To have that back in the room and along with David Backes, those are guys that are just vocal players that bring a lot in that aspect. It’s generally, a quiet group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective and win as a quiet group, but it just helps sometimes to have a little bit of that energy.”

While it was a clearly a feel-good story to see Bergeron back in his proper environs on the ice, it was also just as apparent there’s still some lower body discomfort with the Bruins center. He looked like he was in pain or laboring at times out on the ice, and admitted after the game that the lower body injury might be something he’ll need to manage for the time being. That would tend to mean that once again this isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and Bergeron will again need to grind his way through the pain. 

“That’s the million dollar question, right? I don’t know what to say to that. I guess yeah, I mean I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron. “But there’s… we might manage a little bit for quite a while. But I’m feeling good and tonight was no issue.”

Clearly Bergeron and the Bruins will gladly take it if he can be a difference-maker like he was on Thursday night with a four points, eight shot attempts and plenty of hard-working shifts in his 20:58 of ice time for the game. They’ll just need to keep their fingers crossed that No. 37 can keep suiting up and playing at a high level, and that the 32-year-old can avoid any further problems after already sitting out the first five games of the regular season.