<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: arial; font-size: small; ">Some NHL prospect camps are shuttering up their doors due to potential labor strife over the next few months, but the Bruins are full steam ahead and announced their camp dates on Thursday.<br><br>The entire prospect camp will open and close prior to the July 4 holiday, but interestingly will coincide with the first few days of NHL free agency.<br><br>The sixth annual Bruins Development Camp will open on Thursday, June 28 in the week following the NHL Draft and will conclude on Monday, July 2. All sessions will take place at the practice home of the Boston Bruins at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.<br><br>The camp will include any players drafted by the Bruins in Pittsburgh the previous weekend as well as their top prospects including 18-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The top-10 pick from last years draft is expected to compete seriously for a roster spot with the big club after tearing it up with the OHL Niagara IceDogs last year in junior hockey.<br><br>The Hockey News has already ranked him as the fourth best defensemen in the world that isnt already playing in the NHL, and the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder had 72 points in 50 games with a plus-34 rating. Hamilton followed that up with 23 points in 20 playoff games in Niagaras quest for the Memorial Cup before they were eventually eliminated by the London Knights.<br><br>He was also unanimously named the OHL Defensemen of the year this season, and truly appears to have nothing left to prove at the junior hockey level.<br><br>The Bruins will release a full roster of expected attendees of the Development Camp at a later date, and it should be noted by fans planning to attend that the dates are subject to change. Future Boston stars like Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci all took part in the Bs development camp on their way up the organizational ladder.<span>
BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.
“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.
“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”
Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.
“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”
Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.
As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.
Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.
Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.
So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.
Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.
“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.
“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”
David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.