Hamilton has eyes on making Bruins despite lockout threat

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Hamilton has eyes on making Bruins despite lockout threat

So it appears that Dougie Hamilton will be a member of the Bruins next season when NHL hockey is finally ready to resume activity.

The 19-year-old defenseman will have to make the team out of training camp, of course, but Peter Chiarelli openly wondered earlier this summer whether Hamilton could get stuck in junior hockey if theres a work stoppage.

I dont know his status, said Chiarelli, back on July 24 at a press conference to announce Claude Juliens contract extension. But what I can tell you from a previous, a previous work stoppage is that those players that are under 20 and have been in the Canadian Hockey League generally go back to junior hockey.

The 2011 first round pick is too young at 19 years old to play in the AHL this upcoming season, and Hamilton confirmed that he will return to the OHLs Niagara IceDogs if theres a lockout to start the year. But the 6-foot-5 defenseman also said in the same breath hes pretty sure hell be leaving Niagara to report to Bruins training camp once the CBA is finally completed.

The only question now is whether thats September 15 along with the rest of the Bruins rookies for training camp, or when the NHL and NHLPA decide to finally get on the same page.

Im approaching it with an open mind, and just going day-by-day while getting ready for the camp, said Hamilton, who should play on the right side for the Bruins along with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid. Hopefully the lockout will end soon and I can go to camp and have that opportunity.

All of the 19-year-olds would be back in the OHL. I dont know if its set in stone yet or its just the word going around, but all of those guys would go back to their junior teams and then go to training camp when the NHL season starts. Its a little interesting, but I havent focused on it too much. I just want to work hard, have fun and get ready for everything. It could just be more of an opportunity to work out and get ready, I guess.

The young defenseman was part of the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto over the last couple of days, and really hasnt taken much of a break during the summer. Hamilton jumped from the Bruins Development Camp to the CanadaRussia Challenge and then to World Junior tryout camp while training for NHL camp with the Bruins. Hamilton skates with his brother, Freddie, along with a collection of AHL and European players during the downtime in the summer.

All that work is about making it in the NHL next season, and that aim hasnt wavered for Hamilton no matter whats happening with the labor issues within the league. Thats good news for a Bruins team licking their chops to utilize a D-Man that posted 72 points in 50 regular season games before posting 23 more points in 20 playoff games.

My goal is to make the Bruins and hopefully I get that opportunity, said Hamilton, who will miss out on the rookie preseason games on Florida that were recently cancelled in one of the first Bs casualties during the work stoppage. Those were pretty fun games that got you ready for camp. It will be different without them, but it will obviously be different this year with the lockout. Im just going with the flow.

Thats the best approach for a young guy like Hamilton.

Hes still very much one of the players in the grey area of the labor discord between a hockey league hes never played in and a players association he wont officially be a member of until he laces up his skates for his first NHL game. But it sounds like Hamilton will be armed, willing and ready whenever the NHL resumes its regular season, and that answers one of the burning Bruins questions this summer with CBA strife upon us all.

Bruins recall McIntyre on emergency basis, but perhaps not for Rask

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Bruins recall McIntyre on emergency basis, but perhaps not for Rask

UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports McIntyre is with the team as a replacement for Anton Khudobin, who is said to be suffering from a minor injury, and not Tuukka Rask, and that Rask will start as scheduled against Nashville.

BOSTON -- Even though he's been proclaiming himself healthy and able for the last two days, Tuukka Rask may not be as ready to go as everybody thought.

The Bruins announced a couple of hours prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Nashville Predators that rookie goalie Zane McIntyre had been recalled on an emergency basis. He spent the weekend with the team in the same capacity, filling in for Rask while Rask battled a lower body injury.

So the logical assumption is that something has recurred that will prevent Rask -- who on Tuesday night told interim coach Bruce Cassidy he was ready -- from playing tonight.

Rask is 8-8 with a 2.91 goals against average and an .892 save percentage since the NHL All-Star break, and gave up five goals in a loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night. He missed Saturday's big game vs. the Islanders with a lower body issue that just “popped up.”

We’ll find out for sure during pregame warm-ups, but the only way an emergency recall can be made is if a player is injured or suffering from an illness. Anton Khudobin looked fit as a fiddle while practicing with the Bruins on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, so stay tuned for the latest.

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

The second BU’s season ended, Bruins fans were champing (it’s champing, not chomping; look it up) at the bit to get sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy to the NHL. 

So when word emerged from Bob McKenzie that it’s looking like McAvoy will join Providence on an amateur tryout, eyes rolled. Why not sign McAvoy to his three-year entry level contract, have him stay in Boston and get some NHL experience. After all, we hear over and over that as long as you don’t play 10 NHL games, a year doesn’t get burned. 

The answer is because that 10-game thing doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies when talking about teenagers who are coming from the CHL, which is when the issue most commonly pops up, a la Tyler Seguin in 2010-11. 

Yet much like it didn’t apply to Torey Krug when he signed with the Bruins in 2012, it doesn’t apply to McAvoy now. The reason some kids can play nine games and then go away without a year being burned is because their contract slides. Players who are 18 or 19 years old as of Sept. 15 of their signing year see their deal moved back a year as long as they don’t play 10 NHL games, including the playoffs. 

For players who are 19 as of Sept. 15 of the year they sign (not season) and turn 20 between Sept. 16 and Dec. 31, their contract does not slide. This is all explained neatly here. 

If you’ve fallen asleep by this point, wake up right quick. McAvoy is 19 and will turn 20 on Dec. 21. That means that if McAvoy and signs and plays an NHL game this season, one year will be burned off his entry-level deal, making him up for a new deal after the 2018-19 season rather than the 2019-20 season. Same goes for Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, who already is 20. 

The Bruins actually used this drawback to their advantage when they signed Krug. The B’s let the 20-year-old Krug play in an NHL game after he signed, which got him to restricted free agency a year earlier. The promise to play him and burn that year was likely a reason Krug chose to sign with the B’s as an undrafted free agent. 

So for now, yes, an ATO is the safe play for the Bruins if they want to maximize the value of McAvoy’s entry level deal. His NHL career might have to wait until the fall.