Bourque leads list of Bruins invites to training camp


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.

Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter


Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter

Isaiah Thomas has established himself as one of the NBA’s top players in the fourth quarter of games this season.

“I’d rather play that than any other quarter,” Thomas said.

But there will be times when the game’s flow or head coach Brad Stevens’ gut will tell him to go in a different direction with Thomas’ minutes which is something the two have had conversations about which has helped eliminate any confusion or misunderstandings.

“We’ve had player-coach talks, how he feels and how I feel,” Thomas said. “That’s the relationship we have. We changed it up a little bit (in the win over Sacramento) and I’m just happy we got the win.”

In that game, Thomas was replaced by Terry Rozier with 3:20 to play in the quarter and Boston trailing 66-63. He returned to the floor at the 8:31 mark and the Celtics were down 76-74.

“The key is, there are some times where you feel like those last few minutes of the third quarter will be real important moving forward,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Especially based on how your team is playing. And you just have to make that decision. You have to make that decision, you take him out early in the third like we did (against Sacramento) and put him back in earlier; or play him through until the two or one-minute mark in the third, and then give him his rest up until the seven or six. Either way, we’ve talked about it like I do with all our guys, especially the guys that are playing and big in the rotation.

Stevens would love to come up with a game plan and stick to it with little to no changes being made.

But the NBA game is unpredictable and his job as the head coach is to make the necessary on-the-fly changes that best position the Celtics for victory.

“Ultimately there will be days that it will be very consistent and there might be a time or two where I’m gonna go with my gut,” Stevens said. “They know that and we’ve talked about it.”

And while Stevens’ decision may not sit well with some, players understand it’s all done to achieve one goal – win. 

“There’s a number of reasons why you make a decision to leave someone in or take someone out,” Stevens said. “Ultimately, we have to figure out game to game, moment to moment, what’s best for our team. That’s what I’m charged with. That doesn’t mean I’m always right. I’m not gonna act like that. Ultimately, those guys know I’m thinking about it all the time.”