Boston Bruins

Chris Bourque willing to take on any role with B's

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Chris Bourque willing to take on any role with B's

It was clearly a dream come true for Chris Bourque when he got the phone call from Peter Chiarelli that he was joining the Bruins organization.
He grew up north of Boston and his dad, Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, was one of the best to ever pull on the black and gold sweater, and those are just two of the zillion or so reasons why the Bruins were the perfect fit.
So while it was flattering to have the Bruins exchange first-round disappointment Zach Hamill to Washington for his rights prior to him becoming an unrestricted free agent, Bourque said the Bruins were going to be his top attraction if he made it into free agency after July 1.
They could have had me for free. I was going to be unrestricted and if they put up any kind of offer they were going to have the big edge with me being able to play in front of all my friends and family. It would have been intriguing to me no matter what, said Bourque, who scored the OT game-winner in the Beanpot in his one and only year at Boston University. I was looking forward to seeing who might be interested and Boston was always at the top of that list.
When they traded for me, I was just thrilled. I had a good talk with Mr. Chiarelli when I signed. He told me that I was going to have a good shot to make the NHL team. Theres a lot of history here between my family and the Bruins, obviously. I grew up idolizing Cam Neely, Adam Oates and my dadto get to see them up close at the rink every day as a kid was special. Now with what the Bruins have meant to the city over the last few years; it seems like it would be so much fun to be a part of.
Bourques willingness to do whatever it takes speaks to how badly he wants to carry on the family tradition on Causeway Street, and he may have to do just that while breaking through that NHL ceiling. The youngster watched as guys like Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle got their NHL chances in the Capitals organization, and Bourque is looking for that same thing in Boston.
Thats all Ive ever asked for. Its up to me to do the rest and bring some energy to the team. Im known as more of a playmaker, but Ill play any kind of role that they need me to, said Bourque. Whether its on the power play or the penalty kill Im just hoping they give me the chance to show I can do.
The 26-year-old Bourque might also be walking into a perfect fit with the Bruins at the NHL level: theres a third-line winger role up for grabs among 21-year-old Jordan Caron, fresh-faced rookies like Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight, and the eldest son in the Boston Bourque clan. The bottom-six forward role might not be the natural long-term spot for a 5-foot-8 skill player thats coming off a 27-goal, 93-point performance in the AHL for the Hershey Bears, but Bourque thinks that may be the best passageway into a permanent NHL spot.
Its reasonable to think given the proper chance he could match or surpass the 16 goals and 32 points produced by a hit-or-miss Benoit Pouliot in that role last season. Thats what it sounds as if Bourque has his sights set on.
Maybe starting off in the bottom-six would be the perfect way to ease into things. I like to bring a lot of energy to the game. Ill get in on the forecheck and Ill pitch in offensively when I can, said Bourque. Any role is fine, though. Id play defense or goalie if it gets me into the NHL with a full-time job. Thats the main goal.
It can be tough to tell because things havent translated for me from the AHL to the NHL. But hopefully the change of scenery helps me turn into the NHL player that I think I am know that Im going to be.
On the Bruins end of things, Chiarelli sees the offensive promise Bourque has shown at the AHL level and envisions him making the adjustment despite four points and a minus-6 in 33 games of sporadic actions for the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. He also sees the third line possibilities that could make him a legit candidate for a checkingenergy role with some offensive upside skating alongside guys such as Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
He does have the ability to shoot to find seams, but he also has a great element to his game where that if he has to play lower down the line he can do that. I told him, among other things, that hell need like another quarter step to maintain it at this level, said Chiarelli. If he gets that and I think he will -- hes another guy whos relatively young, and that hell be able to play at this level on a regular basis.
I think hes got a good chance of making our team. I told him basically that hes just not here to go to Providence. Hes very keen about being a Bruin and Im happy to have him in the organization.
Now its little more than two months away from Bourque getting his big chance to play for the hockey club hes always dreamed about from the time he learned how to skate. Hes as ready as hes ever going to be to make the leap, and the Bruins are just as willing and ready to catch him.

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

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Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

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