Good and bad growing pains for rookie Hamilton

Good and bad growing pains for rookie Hamilton
March 6, 2013, 10:45 am
Share This Post

WASHINGTON, DC – Once again, the best and worst of Dougie Hamilton's development phase was on display in Tuesday night’s loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.

The 19-year-old rookie made short work of a first-period power play when he rifled a high point shot through traffic to stake the Bruins to a 3-0 lead that appeared as good as gold. He's been an important part of a revived Bruins power play that's scoring at a 25.9 percent clip over the last 11 games. 

Unfortunately, Hamilton was also on the ice for the game-tying goal and game-winning goal in the third period and overtime resulting in an eventual 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals.

Wojtek Wolski's goal with 6:05 to go in the third period wasn’t really much more than bad puck luck, as Eric Fehr flipped a puck that bounced off Hamilton’s leg, and it bounced right to Wolski in front of the net. The Washington forward flipped a backhand past Tuukka Rask, and what was apparent for two periods became reality: The Bruins were in big trouble.

That trouble found Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg during the four-on-four action as Fehr split through the two defenders right down the middle of the slot, and snapped a bullet past Rask for the game-winner just 37 seconds into overtime.

“This is another game we can learn from, and we just need to put it behind us,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know. The first goal was pretty bad luck where it went off my legs and just kind of sat there. I don’t know what I could have done differently.

“On the second one I’m not sure. He kind of split in between us. Maybe I could have hit him? I’m not really sure.”

Yeah. Hitting him might have been a good idea.

The overtime goal saddled Hamilton with a minus-2 rating in the loss, and leaves him with a minus-3 on the season as one of an astounding eight Bruins players in the minus column this season.

The rookie was openly wondering after the game whether he should have taken out Fehr with a hit on his way to the net, and that seemed to be where his coach was headed following a frustrating loss.

“There are a lot of things right now. We’re playing a lot of games right now and defensively we need to be a lot better,” said Claude Julien. “We’re not as good as what we’re capable of. We have a lot of guys that need to be better for us and we can all see that. There were breakdowns. You just have to look at the overtime goal where one guy [for the Capitals] beats two guys [for the Bruins] and scores. That says a lot."

“But we also had a lot of odd-numbered situations in the third where we could have scored, but we couldn’t seal the deal. Then [Washington] got the goal they wanted.”

On the bright side, Hamilton’s goal brings up his totals to three goals and 12 points on the season as a bona fide offensive defenseman for the Bruins. That leaves him neck-and-neck with Edmonton Oilers rookie defenseman Justin Schultz with his 13 points and tough minus-7 rating on the year.

But the Bruins are also 0-3 in games where Hamilton scores a goal this season, so it just needs to come all together for the rookie and his hockey club in a season that’s still so full of promise and potential.