Notes: Rookie Hamill settles in


Notes: Rookie Hamill settles in

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON After failing to register more than a blip on the radar screen in his first game with the Bruins this season, rookie Zach Hamill looked a lot more at home creating and playmaking in Bostons 8-6 win over the Canadiens on Wednesday.

Hamill finished with 14 shifts and 10:30 of ice time, but found himself on a shortened bench during the third period as Gregory Campbell starting taking shifts with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. Hamill did make some plays, though, and get himself noticed in a positive way. His sweet backhanded pass through two Canadiens defenders to a wide-open Ryder set up his first goal of the night in the second period, and showed exactly what Hamill is capable of as a 22-year-old rookie.

Hamill is being given an audition to see what he can at the NHL level while the Bs sit Tyler Seguin as a healthy scratch, and theres certainly some promise and potential there at the center spot.

He made some good plays. On that goal obviously, I think it was Michael Ryders goal. He made another pass later on, I think it was between Looch Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, said coach Claude Julien. He made some good plays and thats what his game is all about. Hes a smart player and hes a great passer, hes always been known as a great playmaker and he showed some of that tonight.

Hamill wasnt out there at the end of the game not shocking given Juliens system of using players at the end of games that he feels most comfortable with but there was more than enough to warrant a few more looks at what the former 2007 first round draft pick can bring to the Bruins. Ryder can be one of the most misunderstood players on the Bruins when he's going through one of his dry stretches in the goal-scoring department, but Wednesday night's 8-6 win over the Canadiens wasn't one of those nights.Ryder scored a pair of goals and showed some instant chemistry with Hamill while demonstrating exactly what makes him so valuable: the right wing shows up at the most important times and is one of those players who rises to the level during the postseason. Ryder snapped an eight game goal-scoring drought against his former team and looks ready to embark on a hot streak for the B's."I think its been a while since I scored and I was getting some chances," said the ex-Canadien. "But tonight it finally went in. It took me two tries on one power play to get the second goal, but I think I have success when Im skating and working hard just keep doing that and Ill find the back of the net again."The Bruins scored their two first-period goals in a span of 12 seconds (13:16 and 13:28). That matches their fastest two goals in a row this season, first accomplished on Jan. 10 at Pittsburgh in a 4-2 win. It's also the fifth time the Bruins have scored two goals in 15 seconds or less: including games against the Penguins and Hurricanes. The line of Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton exploded against the Canadiens on Wednesday night, and finished with three goals, 8 assists and a plus-15 between the three forwards in the 8-6 win. The five points for Horton were a career-high, and Lucic extended his career-best mark in goals by potting his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season and Lucics sixth goal in the last nine games after a long cold spell in December.

We knew we could be a threat every time we went on the ice and that is what we have kind of talked about as a line yesterday, said Lucic. We wanted to be that threat and you know get in there and play with that emotion. We wanted to be the guys that coach counts on, and so its definitely great that we had a game the way we did. We have to keep pushing it and keep getting more.
Shawn Thornton had no opinion about the four-game suspension for Matt Cooke after he charged Columbus BlueJacketsdefensemanFedor Tyutin, and looked like he was hoping to avoid the entire conversation about the Pittsburgh rabble-rouser."I don't give an expletive about that," said Thornton. "I haven't seen it and I don't plan on seeing. He hasn't pulled any of that stuff against our team this year."

The win was Juliens 300th game as coach of the Bruins, which puts him at seventh on the Bs all-time franchise list.

Johnny Boychuk was playing in his 100th career NHL game, and ended the night with an absolute beatdown of Jaroslav Spacek with less than a minute to go in the third period.Carey Price allowed a career-high eight goals in the loss to the Boston Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal


No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal

BOSTON – Less than 48 hours after one of his legendarily hard slap shots put a Montreal Canadiens forward in the hospital after striking him in the head, Zdeno Chara didn’t hesitate when given the chance to wind up and blast away on Monday afternoon.

It was the 40-year-old Chara that rocketed a slapper past Kari Lehtonen at the end of the second period, and in doing so energized the Bruins while getting them on the scoreboard. The Chara goal helped earn the Black and Gold a point in overtime before eventually falling to the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score at TD Garden on Monday afternoon.

The Bruins captain had been texting with the felled Montreal winger on Monday, and was fully aware that Phillip Danault was out of the hospital and doing well aside from understandable concussion symptoms after a puck to the head. Perhaps that eased Chara’s mind just a little when it came time to lean into another wind-up slapper on Monday, but it was also certainly aided by the lack of brave bodies willing to front one of his heavy, hard point blasts.

“I obviously spoke to Phillip a number of times. I talked to him right after the game and wanted to make sure he was okay, and he texted me back that he’s doing fine. He’s been released [from the hospital] and that’s very positive, good news,” said Chara. “It’s obviously very unfortunate that it’s something that happens quite often, but it’s something you never want to see with somebody getting hit and hurt. I’m very happy he’s going to recover fully and hopefully he’s back on the ice and playing hockey [soon] like we all do.”

Was there any hesitation to Chara winding up and stepping into a 100-mph slap shot so quickly after the ugly incident in Montreal?

“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often where you have that clean [shooting] path to the net where you can settle the puck, take a look and take a full slapper,” said Chara. “Usually teams play so well structurally that there’s already somebody fronting it, and you’ve got to get it through him with bodies in front. It does happen, but it’s nice that you have that time to put everything on it.”

That’s exactly what the 6-foot-9 defenseman did in sparking the Bruins to come back from a 2-0 deficit and push for the overtime point while extending their point streak to a season-best 13 games and counting.


Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin


Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

BOSTON – The Tyler Seguin trade from the Bruins is pretty much ancient history at this point.

It was almost five years ago, all of the good-but-not-great players Boston received in the deal from Dallas are long gone. The Bruins general manager that engineered the big trade is now dealing with totally different brush fires while running a star-crossed Edmonton Oilers group.

But the one Stars visit per season to Boston usually serves as a reminder of what the B’s dealt away in the Fourth of July trade, and for perhaps the first time ever Seguin looked like a legit, all-around No. 1 center in the Stars 3-2 overtime win over the B’s at TD Garden. Seguin made the highlight reel with an overtime game-winner after dangling through the entire Bruins group on the ice, and watching bemusement as Bruins kept diving at him trying to stop him.

The gassed trio of Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk were on the ice hemmed into the D-zone for a long time, and simply couldn’t get the puck away from the Stars once a delayed penalty was called on Grzelcyk.

“I felt like everyone was just sliding at me, and the whole time I wanted to pass, so I was just kind of looking for the right play and just kept holding it,” said Seguin, who is on pace for 39 goals and 75 points this season with the Stars. “I just kind of shot it and luckily it went in.”

It was more than luck as Anton Khudobin had already dropped into a crazed double-pad stacked save attempt while Seguin was still holding patiently onto the puck.

“That’s really tough, to be honest. He has the puck there, and all the way, all the way, going, going, going, going and I mean, guys were laying down and trying to block the shot,” said Khudobin. “He had a lot of patience and I think it went between my legs or something like that and it’s just tough. Good goal by him.'

“Nothing is impossible. You know, [Seguin] is a good player and he scored a pretty good goal. But at the same time I can stop that. But I didn’t this time and overtime is not really easy because it’s 3-on-3.”

But all the overtime heroics aside, Seguin was solid throughout the game. It was almost enough to make Bruins fans go through the entire gamut of emotions again at one of a number of trades where the organization cut bait on a talented player at a very young juncture of their career.

“I think he’s through testing. I think he has made himself to be a very good player, and he’s accountable in every situation. He’s really matured. I think he’s a guy that we don’t even worry about anymore,” said Dallas head coach Ken Hitchcock. “Everyone talked about, ‘Can you make him a one?’ Well, quite frankly, he’s a [No. 1 center], and he’s playing like a one. He’s played six games in a row like this, and this is what you want in a number one center. He’s doing the job.

“He’s killing penalties, he’s out there taking key face-offs, he’s quarterbacking the power play, and he’s playing against the other team’s best player. To me, that’s what a [No. 1 center] does, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Mostly matched up against the Perfection Line that he used to be a part of, Seguin managed a 12-for-21 performance in the face-off circle while holding Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak off the board offensively. Even better for Seguin and Dallas, he was on the ice for the second Stars goal against the Bergeron trio for only the second even strength goal they’ve given up all season.

Seguin killed penalties, he finished with four shot attempts, had a couple of takeaways and played the kind of mature, 200-foot game that most wondered if he’d ever be capable of in his NHL career.

So credit where it’s due for Seguin showing all of that while clearly still in a headspace where coming to Boston is special for him.

“It’s special and it’s weird playing here still. You know, I enjoy the anthem, and looking up and seeing the banner for the team that I was a part of. It’s always going to be special, you know, playing here and having old teammates on the team,” said Seguin. “I’ve been thinking a lot more of defense, a lot more of face-offs, and a lot more of, you know, the little things. I’ve been judging my performances based on those things more than goals and assists. That’s been the biggest change for me, trying to put the work in, and [against the Bruins] it worked out for me.”

The Bruins have long since chalked up dealing a horse (Seguin) for ponies (Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow) as a big fat loss considering it never got them any closer to another Stanley Cup, and it didn’t give them any players still of use to the organization less than five years later.

But Monday afternoon’s overtime loss to Seguin and the Stars was a different kind of frustrating while watching a more mature, seemingly changed Seguin that would have fit in very nicely with the direction that the Bruins are headed these days.