Bruins

Hamilton can't wait to jump into the NHL battle

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Hamilton can't wait to jump into the NHL battle

While its natural to think that 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton is going to face his biggest challenge manning up against bigger, stronger, crazier opponents bearing down on him in the battle zones within his own end of the ice, the young defenseman has his own ideas. With the NHL season-opener finally on tap and intense, hard-charging forwards like Ryan Callahan ready to invade the TD Garden ice along with the rest of the Blueshirts, Hamilton said that making the jump from the OHL to the NHL will allow to battle a little bit more himself.

The 6-foot-5, 199-pound Hamilton has a big frame that will allow him to pack on much more muscle as he fills out, and he has a long reach with his stick that will frustrate opponents defensively if he has the proper technique and position. But the former first round pick also felt that refs watched him closely in the OHL because he so much bigger than many opponents he matched up against.

That kind of scrutiny allowed him less chance to unleash his physical play, and in theory should free him defensively in the corners and in front of the net.

This is a day Ive been waiting for and looking forward to, and Im excited to get it going. Theres adrenaline and thats something you get used to, but Im just going to go out there, smile and have as much fun as I can, said Hamilton, who had 41 points and a plus-24 in 32 games for the Niagara IceDogs this season. There are a few things that will be different than Im used to, but it was nice to get into that scrimmage on Tuesday night. I can visualize it a bit now.

The battle level is different, and for meI like that. At times cross-checking guys and things like that you cant do in the OHL because youll get a penalty. Thats something Ive got to get used to: what I can get away with and what I can do. Its another thing Ill adjust to.

On the other side of the coin, however, Hamilton could get the rookie treatment, and that means getting sent to the penalty box early and often by referees if he takes too many liberties with aggressive opponents. But thats the balancing act a talented young defenseman must perform while learning his craft, and its something hell only learn through on-the-job training.

With an opening night spot in the Bs lineup skating with Dennis Seidenberg and a point position on the teams second power play unit, Hamilton will get a good, long look from the Bruins.

Hes a pretty good all-around defenseman, and what hes got to do is just gain some experience, said Claude Julien. That can only be done with time. We all know hes got the size, we all know that he can move the puck well, we all know he skates well and hes got great hockey sense.

Where is his weakness? The only weakness hes got is the lack of experience and weve got to allow him to get that. We like where he is and what hes brought so far. Weve seen a lot of guys the same way he has and done well, and we expect him to be that kind of guy.

The NHL apprenticeship for the teen-aged Hamilton begins tonight against the Rangers, and its expected to be a crowd-pleaser here in Boston.

Morning Skate: PK Subban rightly recognizes O'Ree as a hockey pioneer

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Morning Skate: PK Subban rightly recognizes O'Ree as a hockey pioneer

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while wondering when my video tribute is coming.

*Great interview with PK Subban, who appropriately lauds Willie O’Ree for his trailblazing, pioneer accomplishment of breaking through the NHL’s color barrier 60 years ago today. It was very cool that O’Ree did it with the Bruins and even cooler that he was in Boston last night from the Bruins-Habs game at TD Garden.

*Speaking of the Canadiens, old friend Joe Morrow decided to show the Canadiens digital people around Southie this week. That was his big accomplishment in these last two Bruins-Habs games.

*The Winnipeg Jets are having some big success this season, but they’ve also got some serious financial considerations coming up.

*The Colorado Avalanche continue to see attendance issues in their building, but at least there’s a reasonably better product on the ice.

*What is the value for power forward Patrick Maroon on the trade market as a rental? It certainly matters who is asking.

*Jack Johnson and John Tortorella are talking out their issues after it surfaced that the Columbus D-man wants a trade out of town.

*With Victor Hedman injured, it looks like young Tampa Bay D-man Slater Koekkoek is finally going to get a featured look with the Lightning. Per Elliotte Friedman, this is a player that the Bruins have eyed in trade possibilities in the recent past.

*For something completely different: Liam Neeson is open to returning as Qui Gon-Jinn, which adds another interesting piece to a standalone movie for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

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Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are well aware of Jalen Ramsey's Super Bowl prediction, and they're not about to take the same approach to the AFC title game buildup. 

"If you're going to make a statement like that," Patriots rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler said on Wednesday, "you better be able to back it up . . . It's a bold statement to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That's all I can really say about that."

As that quote made the rounds, Ramsey tweeted an emphatic "WHO!???" Didn't seem to be a coincidence.

What Ramsey said, though, is part of who the Jaguars are. They're young. They're confident. They're not afraid to talk. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's plane ride back from Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that [expletive]."

Outside of Butler, the comments have garnered little in the way of public commentary from Patriots players. 

"I mean, obviously, that's his game," Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. "He's a confident dude . . . Obviously, they're happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don't think it's a good idea . . ."

"We saw what happened to the Steelers. But on our end, obviously, we're not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we're not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game."