A smooth, quiet NHL debut for Bruins' Hamilton

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A smooth, quiet NHL debut for Bruins' Hamilton

BOSTON -- Perhaps the best thing one could say about Dougie Hamilton in his NHL debut Saturday night was that he was barely noticed.

The 19-year-old didnt seem out of place while logging 13 minutes and 40 seconds of ice time, and didnt make any mistakes that significantly handcuffed the Bruins in their 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.

Instead, the biggest plays Hamilton made were in the defensive zone. He won battles with the intense Ryan Callahan in front of the Boston net, and knocked a puck away from danger when Derek Stepan tried to feed Marian Gaborik wide open on the backdoor.

Hamilton was simply trying to be an effective defenseman while also enjoying the achievement of a lifelong dream.

It was really fun. Just looking around, it put a smile on my face every time, he said. I kind of had to remember I was playing. Just so much fun, and I look forward to the rest of the games.

Coach Claude Julien detected some tentativeness and nerves in the offensive end from the former 2011 first-round pick, who had a pair of shots on net and three hits in his maiden NHL voyage. Still, Hamilton was rarely hemmed into his own zone and seemed to fit in nicely with his defensive partner, Dennis Seidenberg.

He was good, he was fine, said Julien. You know, again, it was a matter of him getting through it, and if anything he seemed to get more and more comfortable as the game went on. As I mentioned this morning, what this guy lacks is experience and the only way hes going to get it is by playing.

But everything else was there, and you know hes used to playing against 16- to 20-year-olds and now hes playing against men. I thought he handled the corners and the battles pretty well.

It wasnt a night with gaudy offensive numbers or flashy passes while manning the point on the power play, but Hamilton proved he can contribute in a playoff-style atmosphere against the best the Eastern Conference has to offer. Thats a great start for a defenseman that should be suited up in Black and Gold for a long, long time to come.

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

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