Subban flashes ability in Development Camp


Subban flashes ability in Development Camp

WILMINGTON, Mass. The Belleville Bulls goalie pads worn by Malcolm Subban have some yellow and gold in them, but they appear much more like old school Vancouver Canucks equipment than new-age Boston Bruins gear.

Even so, the flecks of black and yellow allowed the middle Subban brother to blend in with his Bruins brethren as he worked out for the first time with fellow Bs prospects on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena.

The 18-year-old Subban had a familiar look to him in terms of style and energy between the pipes, but everything he experienced on the Bs practice ice was a whole new world.

It was nice to get your foot in the door, to meet everybody and to see what it will be like as a member of the Boston Bruins, said Subban addressing a big group of reporters around the practice locker normally filled by Tuukka Rask. Id say there was nervousness and rust. Its the first time out there in a while and there were a lot of people cheering in the stands.

So it was nice to get that under my belt. I know a few of the guys, and its an easy place to fit in. Its been a great bonding experience so far.

While most of the other five goalies in camp were the picture of quiet, efficient motion while making standard saves, Subban showed off uncommon movement as he challenged shooters swooping in on him.

The scouting reports lauding his athleticism and competitiveness were dead on, and truth be told the quick movements and athletic challenges post-to-post were more than a little reminiscent of a certain two-time Vezina Trophy winner from Boston.

Any parallel to Tim Thomas is a long way down the road, however, and his first official day of work for the Bs went off without a hitch.

The athleticism you see right away, and how quick he is in the net, said assistant GM Don Sweeney. The next thing hell understand is that the shooters will be much better at the next level as well. Our goalie coach Bob Essensa will go to work with him on some things that hes seen in his game.

But he competes for every puck and every save even in this environment. Most goalies dont like to be scored on and hes no different in that regard. But the athleticism and the push across the net is very impressive.

The one hiccup in Subbans first afternoon in a Bruins jersey?

During shootout drills forward prospect Ryan Spooner continuously baffled the young goaltender with a dizzying array of double-moves, and showed Subban exactly what he can expect when he becomes an NHL player three or four years down the road.

Right now, though, it all gets chalked as a learning experience for Subban on his path to becoming Bostons goaltender of the future.

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday


Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:




Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain


Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.