Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

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Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Dougie Hamilton really has a knack for finding shooting lanes and ways to get pucks through to the net, doesnt he? It was his big blast from the right point that caused a juicy Rick DiPietro rebound that Shawn Thornton backhanded into the net for the games first goal. A nice little piece of retribution for Thornton after he was unable to clear a puck against the Rangers that led to a goal in the third period against the Bruins. Two points in the last two games for Hamilton, who is making that second PP unit look very good when it gets on the ice.

2) Four registered hits and a plus-1 for Dennis Seidenberg after the first period in 6:03 of ice time, and no worse for the wear in his return from a lower body injury after missing two games. He even absorbed a big Matt Martin hit early in the game as any good pain sponge should and would.

3) Had to feel good for Waltham native Keith Aucoin to get the equalizer for the Islanders as he tries to secure himself a permanent NHL gig on Long Island. It was a rare blown defensive assignment for Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk that freed up Colin McDonald to find Aucoin cutting to the net. Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque also dropped to minus-3 on the season as they were forward group on the ice for the goal against.

4) The Islanders will gladly trade Matt Carkner for Milan Lucic after the two dropped gloves in the first period, but No. 17 showed that area of his game is perfectly healthy after leveling Carkner with a straight right to the jaw. The Isles tough guy popped right up, but Lucic hit him right on the button.

5) More fight club later in the period as Daniel Paille crushed former BU defenseman Brian Strait with a hit in the corner, and then was jumped by Matt Martin looking for a fight. Paille dropped his gloves, but Shawn Thornton stepped in before the fight got started. Thornton was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct for protecting his linemate, but wasnt given a third man in as the sequence wasnt considered an actual altercation with no punches thrown. Otherwise No. 22 might have been ejected as a third man in, but that didnt happen.

SECOND PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 2-2 tie after the first 40 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Bruins are 0-for-3 on the power play again tonight, and had one that was a real dogs breakfast for two minutes in the second period. No urgency snapping the puck around and no movement. That being said the Dougie Hamilton-led second PP unit is doing a much better job of moving around and generating chances right now than the Tyler Seguin-led top unit. Its easy to see why Claude Julien keeps putting that second unit out there despite big names like Seguin, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci on the first unit. At least that unit was able to free Seguin up for a one-timer in their final power play of the period, but theyre now 1-for-17 on the PP for the season.

2) Two Bruins goals from the fourth line with Shawn Thorntons rebound score and a Gregory Campbell strike after a long David Krejci shot bounced off Joe Finleys skate in front of the net.

3) One shot and a minus-3 from the third line of Chris Kelly, Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley so far tonight. They just dont look good as a unit right now, and youve got to wonder when things will get changed up if they continue to be invisible during five-on-five play.

4) Got to feel good for Chelmsford High legend Keith Aucoin, who has both goals on the night for the Islanders and is really entrenching himself as an NHL guy after bouncing between the AHL and the NHL. The second goal was a straight bomb from the high slot that beat Tuukka Rask glove-side high.

5) Six hits and three blocked shots for Dennis Seidenberg tonight. The Bruins definitely miss that willingness to sacrifice and absorb punishment for team gain when hes out of the lineup.

THIRD PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Boston Bruins taking down the New York Islanders by a 4-2 score after 60 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Not a dominant night for them against a weak-ish Islanders defensive corps, but a timely goal from the LucicHortonKrejci line in the third period finished off by Zdeno Chara from the high slot. Theyve come to play in the opening weeks of the season and its making all the difference for the Black and Gold.

2) Dougie Hamilton with a sweet tape-to-tape outlet pass to a streaking Brad Marchand that turns into a Patrice Bergeron breakaway goal. Thats two assists from Hamilton in the first multi-point game of his NHL career. The Bruins have got themselves something special.

3) Posts hit for Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley in the third period as the Bruins really turned it on against a team that was playing the second night of back-to-back games.

4) First goals of the season for both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron in the third period. The Bruins needed their money players to step up after the fourth line was keeping them in the game.

5) Four games and no goals for Tyler Seguin. Been a really slow start for the 20-year-old after he lit things up in Switzerland. Didnt see that one coming at all now, but its clear hes putting extra effort in now to get things going.

Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

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Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible. 
 
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions
 
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota
 
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations
 
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan

 -- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. 

-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website. 

-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often. 
 
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network. 

 

List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

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List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

With decidedly Boston-sounding names and thoroughly familiar faces, given their resemblances to their ex-Bruin dads, it might have been easy to overlook Ryan Donato and Ryan Fitzgerald and focus on the truly little-known prospects at Development Camp earlier this month.

But on the ice, their brimming confidence, their offensive skills and the maturity to their all-around game was impossible to ignore.

When it was over, general manager Don Sweeney singled out Donato, who plays at Harvard, and Fitzgerald, from Boston College -- along with Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork and former Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- as players who have developed significantly.
 
“[They're] just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Sweeney. “I mean, they’ve played at the college hockey level . . . two, three, four years with some of these kids. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.”
 
Donato, 20, is actually coming off his first season at Harvard, where he posted 13 goals and 21 points in 32 games. He looked like he was in midseason form during Development Camp, showing off a scoring touch, skill with the puck on his stick in tight traffic, and the instincts to anticipate plays that allow him to beat defenders to spots in the offensive zone. He’s primed for a giant sophomore season with the Crimson, based on his showing at camp.
 
“Every year is a blast," said Donato, son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard coach Ted Donato. "You just come in [to development camp] with an open mindset where you soak everything up from the coaches like a sponge, and see what they say. Then I just do my best to incorporate it into my game and bring it with me to school next year.
 
“One of the things that [Bruins coaches and management] has said to me -- and it’s the same message for everybody -- is that every area of your game is an important one to develop. The thing about the NHL is that every little detail makes the difference, and that’s what I’ve been working on whether it’s my skating, or my defensive play. Every little piece of my game needs to be developed.”
 
Then there's Fitzgerald, 21, who is entering his senior season at BC after notching 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games last year in a real breakout season. The 2013 fourth-round pick showed speed and finishing ability during his Development Camp stint and clearly is close to being a finished hockey product at the collegiate level.
 
“It was good. It’s definitely a fun time being here, seeing these guys and putting the logo on,” said Fitzgerald, son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald, after his fourth Development Camp. “One thing I’m focusing on this summer is getting stronger, but it’s also about just progressing and maturing.
 
“I thought . . . last year [at BC] was a pretty good one, so I just try to build off that and roll into my senior season. [The Bruins] have told me to pretty much continue what I’m doing in school. When the time is right I’ll go ahead [and turn pro], so probably after I graduate I’ll jump on and make an impact.”
 
Fitzgerald certainly didn’t mention or give any hints that it could happen, but these days it has to give an NHL organization a bit of trepidation anytime one of their draft picks makes it all the way to their senior season. There’s always the possibility of it turning into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if a player -- like Fitzgerald -- has a huge final year and draws enough NHL interest to forego signing with the team that drafted him for a shot at free agency in the August following his senior season.
 
It may be a moot point with Fitzgerald, a Boston kid already living a dream as a Bruins draft pick, but it’s always a possibility until he actually signs.
 
In any case, both Donato and Fitzgerald beat watching in their respective college seasons after both saw their development level take a healthy leap forward.