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.

Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

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Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

BOSTON -- Anybody looking for an emotional, high-energy response from the Bruins after back-to-back putrid losses to the Islanders and Red Wings didn’t get it on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.

Instead the Bruins had plenty of shots with zero goals to show for it, and then gave up a goal to Marian Hossa on a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 regulation win over the Black and Gold. It was the third straight loss for a Bruins team that continues to sink down in the playoff picture at a time of years when the results are the only thing that matters.

The defeat could also very well cost B’s head coach Claude Julien his job as a lifeless Bruins organization looks for any way to get out of the mud they’ve been stuck in for the last six weeks.

The Bruins and Blackhawks couldn’t crack the scoreboard for the first 50 minutes in regulation, and the genuine scoring chances were few and far between for both sides.

Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron had scoring chances down low in the first period, and Joe Morrow had a breakaway turned away by Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling early in the proceedings. But the scoring chances and sustained attack really began to dry up in the second period, and it became a series of one-and-done shots on net for both sides.

As one would expect both goalies were stellar with Darling putting together a 16-save performance in the first period, and Tuukka Rask turning away several Blackhawks chances including an Artem Anisimov wrist shot off the rush with just a couple of minutes to go in the third period. Rask finished with 21 saves, and Darling finished with 30 saves in a big win for the Chicago backup netminder.