Hamilton unfazed by Bruins-Canadiens rivalry

Hamilton unfazed by Bruins-Canadiens rivalry
March 3, 2013, 2:30 pm
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BOSTON -- Rookie Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is pretty unflappable despite his precocious age as a 19-year-old making his way through the NHL. When he was approached about playing the New York Rangers and skating at Madison Square Garden within the first handful of games in his NHL career, his casual response said that it could have just as easily been a Tuesday night game against the Columbus Blue Jackets: “It’s a rink . . . it’s a city.”

A small sliver of that nonchalance is no doubt a defense mechanism for a young player that’s experiencing so many new things in his rookie NHL campaign, but playing on the world stage at the World Junior level has also made Hamilton immune to some of the nervousness and intimidation that goes along with playing on the big stage. The Canadiens Junior hockey players are rock stars in Canada during the months of December and January so Hamilton has that experience to draw upon.  

Hamilton got a taste of the storied Bruins-Canadiens rivalry when the Black and Gold traveled to the raucous Bell Centre for a game in early February. It shouldn’t be surprising that the young defenseman wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with the aura of the rivalry in his first time experiencing it.

After all there were no bloody fights, car-crash open-ice hits or angry fans setting fire to police cruisers after the game was over -- so it was a little less than it had probably been built up to be.  

“I thought it was alright. I kind of expected it to be better," said Hamilton, who leads all Bruins defensemen with 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) on the season and has four assist in his last five games. "It’s so long ago now that I’ve always forgotten it now. I’m just looking forward to playing in front of our fans. For me it’s just another game against Montreal. It’s a rivalry for the teams and the intensity will be there, but there’s nobody that I have a feud against on Montreal.

“We had a few [feuds] in junior where we had playoff series and things got rough. You started to go at it with players, and your whole team hates the other team. That’s probably what it’s like around here, but it’s a little different for a rookie, I guess.”

It probably is a rookie thing with Hamilton as he waits for the real hatred to kick in with Montreal, and there’s little doubt it will be there sooner or later as it always is between those two ancient rival hockey clubs.