Bourque leads list of Bruins invites to training camp

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Bourque leads list of Bruins invites to training camp

The details are beginning to filter out about Boston Bruins training camp. Its expected the camp will open up on Sunday with players going through measurements and fitness testing. It's also expected that the roster will be augmented by a group of seven players from the minor leagues and junior hockey.

According to a Providence Journal report, P-Bruins players Chris Bourque, Jamie Tardif, Ryan Spooner, Lane MacDermid, Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky will be pulled from Providence to skate with the Boston players during five days of workouts.

Bourque would appear to have the inside track on the third line wing spot thats open with the Bruins alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley after starring for Providence in the first half of the season.

But hell be battling with Spooner, Tardif and MacDermid for the spot, and will need to show offensive ability along with the necessary grittiness needed from a bottom-six forward. Bourque led the P-Bruins with 28 points (8 goals, 28 assists) in 31 games this season after arriving from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Zach Hamill.

In addition Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated in September that former first round pick Dougie Hamilton would be joining the Bs if and when the organization put together a training camp.

Hamilton piled up 41 points for the Niagara IceDogs in 32 OHL games prior to playing for Team Canada in the World Junior tournament in Russia, but struggled during at the tourney along with much of the rest of the disappointing Canadian club. Its thought that Hamiltons level of play had dropped because he wasnt challenged by the OHL level of competition, and the chance to step up to the NHL level could be the exact kind of booster shot his game needs.

That would appear to round out the invites to the abbreviated training camp before the NHL season is expected to begin on Jan. 19. Jordan Caron ended last season with the Bruins and finished his year up strongly, but struggled with consistency in the AHL this season before suffering an upper-body injury last weekend. Torey Krug was also just coming back from a concussion and was held back from training camp after getting in a few games with Boston at the end of last season.

Perhaps the most surprising omission from the quick NHL camp was goaltender Niklas Svedberg, who was been very good in his first professional season with the Providence Bruins. Hes 13-6-1 with a 2.45 goals against average and a .921 save percentage and a shutout in 21 games for Providence, and has seized the starting gig away from Bs draft pick Michael Hutchinson.

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”
 

Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

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Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Mitchell indicated before Wednesday's practice that he's feeling pretty good despite missing last weekend's Divisional Round matchup with the Texans due to a knee injury. 

"I'm feeling well," he said. "Just taking it day by day. Preparing. I just go from there."

Mitchell suffered the injury in a Week 16 win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. He missed the regular-season finale and has been limited in practice in recent weeks. 

Mitchell was present for Wednesday's fully-padded practice outdoors, and he said it was crucial for him to prepare as though he will play even if he's unsure as to whether or not he'll be called upon. 

"That's the most important thing," he said. "Be ready for any opportunities that could come about."

He added: "As a competitor, no one wants to miss a game. What's important is the team going out theere and competing whether I was out there or not."

Should Mitchell be at all limited moving forward, the Patriots would likely continue to lean upon Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan as their top options. Both Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd were in uniform for last weekend's playoff matchup with Houston as well. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury that knocked him from the Texans game, but he said on Tuesday that he was progressing well, and he was also on the field for Wednesday's practice. 

Mitchell said there is a sense of confidence in the receivers room that because of their depth, they'll be good to go as a group even if one or two members of the unit are at less than 100 percent. 

"We know there's some things we can't control," he said, "but our coach does a good job of getting everybody ready."