Bruins prospects ready as Providence B's open preseason

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Bruins prospects ready as Providence B's open preseason

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. Those hoping to get a glimpse of the Bs future during a pair of Providence Bruins preseason games this week in Marlborough will get exactly what theyre looking for.

The P-Bruins will square off against the Springfield Falcons tonight at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, and Providence coach Bruce Cassidy indicated that young prospects like Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug, Justin Florek and Tommy Cross should be getting ample ice time.

Seasoned veterans like Chris Bourque, Christian Hanson and Trent Whitfield probably wont play until Saturdays preseason finale against Springfield in Western Mass, but youth will be served after Spooner opened eyes during intra-squad scrimmages over the weekend.

All our tryout guys will play in the first two games, said Cassidy. Our young guys like Florek, Krug, Spooner and Knight will play at least one and maybe both games in Marlborough. The odd guy might play in all three preseason games, and then it will be our probably lineup playing Saturday.

I liked our defense moving the puck during the scrimmages. They did a pretty good job in the defensive zone and breaking things out. Zach Trotman scored a hat trick in the first scrimmage and Tommy Cross has great pedigree. Krug is ready to step in. Spooner was one of the better players and his speed through the neutral zone is something that will be fun to watch. Hes got a second gear there. We just need to get the right wingers with him and I imagine Bourque would be one of them. Hes a very good finisher. Knight, Tyler Randell and Florek are guys I want to see more of.

Should be interesting from an observer perspective as the P-Bruins have a glut of defensemen (nine in total) that are all signed to contracts this season and not all of them will make the squad.

That means established players that dont have very good training camps might be headed for the ECHL with young defenseman like Cross and Krug pushing for jobs along with former NHL blueliner Garnet Exelby.

We all think theyre capable of playing, said Cassidy. In the American Hockey League there are always injuries and it seems like you need eight or nine guys every year. But normally you have the NHL big club also calling guys up and we dont have that this year.

Obviously we want the young guys to play, so theres going to be some tough decisions if we do stay healthy. Either they dont get in the lineup or we get a rotation going. Well deal with that next week.

It wont be the Boston Bruins and its still only preseason, but those NHL hockey fans thirsting for a little puck action will get their first chance tonight by heading to Marlborough for the P-Bruins preseason game.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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