FOXBORO -- The 2012 NFL Draft will be much easier on Nate Solder than last year's -- he's not in it.
"This time last year, I didn't know where I was going to be," he told the media after Thursday's OTA. "I didn't know how to train. I hadn't played a single snap in an NFL game. I didn't know who any of my teammates were going to be. Now, there's some things that are kind of answered, and places I can focus my energy on some of the things I can improve on.
"I'd like to get bigger stronger, maybe taller," the 6-foot-8 tackle laughed. "Understand the playbook better. Going into my second year, I want to continue to progress and get better."
One thing that will help: packing on some pounds. Solder didn't acknowledge whether or not the team gave him the directive, rather, he credited the goal to "personal development." The trouble is in doing it; he said he's been struggling to gain weight since he was a freshman at Colorado.
"It's not hard to gain a lot of weight that's not going to help you play football. So when I say it's hard to gain weight, it's hard because it takes a lot in the weight room. You've got to be lifting hard because you want to gain muscle and you want to stay fast, you want to stay flexible and those sorts of things, too. "
A steady diet -- four to five meals a day and protein in between -- is Solder's current course. He said he's grateful to have a more narrow field of vision for his second season in the NFL. Those little things, like knowing where the locker room is, will be problems for a new crop of kids.
"It's certainly nice to be able to focus, where before, it was a broad range of things that I had to prepare for. Now, there are select things. I think it helps your confidence. But your confidence is really going to be built up in camp and playing well, and I'm just building toward that."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while taking a nap this afternoon so I can watch the 1:30 am replay of tonight’s Bruins/Red Wings game on the NHL Network.
*Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara scored the goals at the World Cup’s decisive game on Thursday night, and No. 63 got the clutch game-winner late in the third period for Team Canada. Then he watched as linemate Sidney Crosby won the MVP for the tournament in what could be perceived, from a Boston point of view, as a largely Canadian-based hockey media fawning over Sid the Kid once again. Look, he was the tournament’s leading scorer, but last night’s heroics probably should have tipped the scales toward the B’s agitator getting the World Cup hardware.
*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford has Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm seeking an eight year deal from his team. That could be another contract negotiation to watch closely if you’re a Bruins fan.
*Zach Werenski, one of the D-men the Bruins were trying to trade up to get two years ago in the first round of the draft, is looking like he might be NHL-ready for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
*Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is holding out with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and just wants to get paid like the rest of his teammates.
*Marian Hossa says he still wants to play hockey when he’s 42 years old, or close to the age that countrymen Zdeno Chara is right now.
*Here are some preseason college hockey storylines with the world of NCAA hockey about to start up in force.
*A judge has ruled that the family of the late Derek Boogaard may pursue a lawsuit against the NHL over the death of their son.
*For something completely different: “Tex Ryan” takes his jokes to open mic night and I’m fairly this is Toucher and Rich skewering the Buffalo Bills head coach. And rightfully so.
FOXBORO - Scratch the estimable Sammy Watkins from the Bills roster for Sunday.
Buffalo shared via Twitter that their long, tall wideout is out for Sunday with a foot injury. Also down are wideout Greg Salas and left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo.
The Bills' starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has been dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week's game.
Robert Woods will be the Bills best outside threat with Watkins taking Sunday off. The Bills' talented corner Ronald Darby is also trying to get back this week from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss last week's game with Arizona.