Camper has 'awesome' first taste of NHL experience

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Camper has 'awesome' first taste of NHL experience

ST. LOUIS, MO Carter Camper made it through his first NHL practice at the Scottrade Center on Tuesday afternoon a lengthy 70 plus minute affair and it was tough to tell if it ever actually sank in for the rookie.

The 23-year-old Camper was called up on Monday and skated with Jordan Caron, Josh Hennessy and Benoit Pouliot at practice, and could get pulled right into the lineup following a hat trick Sunday for the Providence Bruins. Camper was leading the P-Bruins in points and assists at the time of his recall, and was on Cloud Nine for the duration of the practice session.

"It was awesome," said Camper following the practice. "I felt good out there. To be out there was a bit of a whirlwind, but just seeing some of these guys out there on the same line is humbling.

"I played with Caron for a little bit down in Providence and Hennessy has been a great guy for me to look up to as well. So theres a little bit of familiarity. Its a little easier coming up here and seeing guys youve been rolling with for the better part of the year. Down in Providence, Coach Cassidy tries to have the same game plan as they do up here so theyre grooming players for the big time.

The scouting report on Camper: good offensive instincts and strong with the puck on his stick in high traffic area, but hes not the fastest skater or a player that will blow the casual observer away with his skills. But hes produced at every level hes reached, and now gets a chance to do that at the NHL level with the Bs in need of some energetic playmaking.

Its not exactly easing into the NHL action when Camper is dropped into a situation where the Bruins are riding a two-game losing streak smack dab in the middle of a February malaise. But thats the situation Camper, Hennessy, Andrew Bodnarchuk and Jordan Caron find themselves in with the Bruins needing some kind of spark until they get some healthytraded bodies to lend a hand.

"The four guys that are coming up are coming into a team right now that is struggling a bit and is frustrated, and certainly not the best situation," said Claude Julien. "Its always easier to come in when a team is rolling and going well and you just kind of slide in there.

"But when youre not, you kind of expect a little bit more out of those guys. Those guys want to do a little bit more so its not always easy."

Theres also the chance Camper is being mentioned in trade talks with other NHL teams as one of the few assets at the AHL level that other GMs might just be interested in, so perhaps a few games before the deadline will serve as an audition of sorts for the former Hobey Baker Finalist.

Beyond all the back-stories and trade hysteria entering the final week before the deadline, it will be about the team getting the win Wednesday against the Blues and a rookie potentially getting his first taste of the Show".

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”