Bruins

Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

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Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The Bruins wrapped up a second day of scrimmaging and closed their annual development camp after five hard-working days on the ice.

The Baby Bruins went through strenuous double sessions of power skating, drills and scrimmaging over the five-day period, during which the players were able to flash their skills. Perhaps just as importantly, however, they also showed they were willing to work and to listen to direction from the scouts, coaches and front office personnel.

The future is bright with Boston bringing back 18 players from a Stanley Cup champion's roster, and its similarly sunny within the organizations prospect ranks. The future is so bright that Peter Chiarelli and Co. have got to wear shades.

Ive been really impressed with the camp overall. The kids have really come in and done well and I told them that on the ice today, said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney. I thought they really bought into trying to take advantage of all the things weve thrown at them: the challenges, the power skating and stuff, the scrimmages, even the tempo.

Guys are making plays that we ask them to try things offensively to get up ice, play D, and move the puck. They all really tried things. Off the ice, the first couple days are a grind. Its a long day with the physicals and then going off to play paintball -- and the guys decided to divide up teams. Ive been really impressed with the group and the camp overall.

The Bruins held another scrimmage on the final day at Ristuccia Arena, and once again 2011 fourth round pick Brian Ferlin scored a goal while skating around with Justin Florek and Ryan Spooner. Ferlin was the biggest single unexpected player to emerge in the two days of game scrimmages, but there were many standouts. Heres a quick evaluation on a few that caught this hockey reporters eyes over the last five days:

Ryan Button
One of the most improved players from last years development camp to this year, and really showed the confidence he needs to hold in the offensive end. Wasnt afraid to show a little wiggle shaking himself free from shot blockers near the blue line, and several times displayed the ability to rush the puck toward the net. Will still have to work his way up the ranks with young defensemen like Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski ahead of him on the depth chart, but definitely made an impression on the Bs front office.
Anthony Camara
Did exceptionally well for a 17-year-old fighter type. Banged bodies with fellow tough guy Zach Trotman on several occasions, took a big hit off the Ristuccia Arena stanchion after getting tangled up with Alex Fallstrom and showed more skill than advertised. A good first impression for the 2011 third rounder most often compared to Shawn Thornton.

Dougie Hamilton
Took exception to being characterized by me as being in the baby giraffe stage of development for a tall defensemen, and showed why during the development camp. He had fluid, athletic moves on his skates, showed a willingness to shoot the puck and had a good second scrimmage after getting caught running around a bit in the first camp game. Hamilton is at least a year or two away as he needs to improve his physical strength and his decision-making on the ice he got burned several times taking chances in the offensive zone and neutral zone but hes got the goods to be an excellent franchise defenseman. Also showed a little more snarl in the second scrimmage a very good sign.

Zane Gothberg and Lars Volden
Its tough to judge the goalie as teen-agers in their first and second camps respectively, but both had some good moments and bad moments during the scrimmages.

Tyler Randell
Showed some willingness to throw his body around physically and mixed well into the quick tempo of the scrimmages and drills.

Marc Cantin
One of the older players on the ice for development camp at 21 years old, but also one of the most effective players. He used his strength and physicality in a way very reminiscent of Mark Stuart, and showed the capability of making a few plays offensively as well. Looks like a good pickup as a free agent, and a player that will fit well into the Bruins Way of doing things.

Michael Hutchinson
Hutchinson was by far the best goaltender in development and somebody to watch in his second season with the Providence Bruins this upcoming year. The prospects had a difficult time scoring on him in the scrimmages, and he showed off a fancy right glove hand robbing several players from point blank range through two days of camp games. Very cool character between the pipes, who could have a future in the big league.
David Warsofsky
Has a nice package of creativity, play-making and speed in the offensive zone, and made things happen as a defensemen while moving his feet and using his mind when the puck was on his stick. Hes clearly undersized, but should be a player to watch in Providence this season. He could challenge Steve Kampfer quickly for that seventh defensemen spot in Boston if he hits the ground running in training camp both players have a very similar game.

Rob OGara
The 18-year-old Milton Academy defensemen looked like the youngest and most wide-eyed player taking part in camp, but he completely belonged when he hopped on the ice. Don Sweeney called him a big piece of clay that the Bruins can mold into whatever they want, and he displayed some of the skills playing against guys much older and more developed than him. Seemed like a great kid away from the ice as well.

Alexander Khokhlachev
Didnt come into camp in the greatest shape and that hurt his performance a bit during the camp. Hes got plenty of skill and promise as a 17-year-old, and it might be too difficult to gauge him as a player and Russian scoring force until next summers development camp.

Alexander Fallstrom
Needed to work on his skating and strength after last season at Harvard University, and has done that back home in Stockholm, Sweden. Fit right into the mix with a nice pair of hands and a big frame that still needs to fill out at 6-foot-2 and 203-pounds, but improved greatly from last years development. Might be most improved along with Ryan Button.

Brian Ferlin
Possibly the biggest surprise of development camp with so little fanfare coming into it. Showed off the big hockey body at 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, but also showed the shooting ability and hands to finish plays right around the net. The Florida native bears watching at Cornell University next season.

Tommy Cross
Cross looks like a man among boys at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds and taking up Zdeno Charas locker in the Wilmington arena dressing room, and had his best development camp. His mobility and speed appear to have returned fully after a series of knee surgeries set him back, and he showed the kind of balanced two-way defensive play the Bruins covet from defensemen. The leadership component is an added bonus for the Connecticut native.

Craig Cunningham
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Cunningham had a solid development camp last year after being drafted by the Bruins, but he wasnt quite as noticeable this time around with a different mix of players. Expected a bit more considering the big year he had at the junior hockey level.

Ryan Spooner
He came into development camp bigger, stronger and with a bit more swagger than he did the year before, and showed improvement in the areas asked of him by the Bruins. His playmaking ability was on display all week whether it was setting up plays for wide open teammates or fooling goaltenders with his array of shootout moves. With a bit more strength and confidence under his belt, he should be fun to watch in real training camp.

Justin Florek
Florek had a pair of goals in the first scrimmage and showed a little something more than might have been expected as a 2010 fifth round pick from Northern Michigan University. The 6-foot-4 Florek did prove that he can absolutely shoot the puck with the best of Bostons prospects.

Jared Knight
Showed off more during the practice drills than during the actual scrimmages and fanned on a nice one-time feed from Tommy Cross for a sure goal during the second day of scrimmages. I would guess that Knight has the best chance of pushing somebody during training camp for a job with the Bruins, but that might still be a tough task. The shot, the physically mature build and the conditioning are all there, however, as a 19-year-old prospect at the wing.

Josh Jooris
Had some flashes as a camp invite from Union College and showed a little offensivedashwith a healthy amount ofjam thrown in for good measure. He seemed to be involved in a lot of the plays that were happening during the scrimmages, and beat a couple of defensemen with his speed during the camp games.

Zach Trotman
A big defenseman that tossed out some big hits and got very involved in the physical side of things during scrimmage games. Didnt appear to be all that involved offensively during the scrimmages, but theres always a place for big, bruising defensemen that size with the ability to stay up to speed.

Incomplete: Ben Sexton, Steven Spinell, Brett Olson, Eric Robinson. Robinson left camp early and I didn't see enough out of the other three players to really generate any strong opinions.

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

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.