Bruins

P-Bruins Camper working to make leap to NHL

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P-Bruins Camper working to make leap to NHL

MARLBOROUGH He ended last season as the leading scorer in Providence, and he potted a goal with the big club in Boston when injuries hit the Bs last season.

But Carter Camper isnt on the tongue tip of many Bs fans when it comes potential forwards pushing for jobs when the NHL resumes, or at the top of the list when it comes to top 10 lists of prospects. But Camper just keeps on scoring goals and getting himself into the right position to make things happen, and he did that again while firing home a power play goal in the P-Bruins 4-1 win over the Springfield Falcons during their preseason opener.

For Camper it was a nice start after focusing on getting a little better in all phases of the game after getting 3 NHL games under his belt last season.

It definitely felt good to play somebody other than my own teammates, said Camper, who put up 183 points in four excellent seasons skating at Miami University. You dont know when the NHL season is going to start, but when it does start I want to be at the top of my game. To get a taste last year was a motivator for me.

Being a little guy Im not the fastest skater, and I knew I had to get quicker. I like to make plays and have good vision, so these things just need to stay there. Its my offense thats going to get me to the next level to stay.

Camper isnt the biggest guy around at 5-foot-9 and 173 pounds, and would actually qualify as one of the smallest players on the ice on most nights. Hes not the fastest skater or blessed with the hardest shot either, but he just seems to get results. Camper connected with Alden Hirschfeld on a nifty pass from behind the net to score a goal in the P-Bruins first scrimmage last weekend, and on Wednesday night he crashed the net for the rebound of a David Warsofsky shot that turned into Providences second goal of the game.

Its exactly that kind of instinct and plain, simple production thats caught the eye of the Bs talent evaluators, and its the reason he ended up with 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games for the offense-challenged P-Bruins last season.

He was very good the second half of last year, and he looked like that again against Springfield, said Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. He was strong on the puck and frustrated guys on the other team that were whacking him while he was making plays.

He can still play in every situation. Its just a matter of him getting that step. When he plays up in the NHL hes just going to have to be a little bit quicker. I wouldnt bet against him. His whole life hes been fighting against physical attributes that other guys might have over him. I love his compete and his hockey IQ, and I hope another year down here working on leg strength will really benefit him.

With NHL experience and the confidence that goes along with it firmly in place, it looks early on this year like Camper is working toward making that next step that hes so looking forward to.

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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