Julien: 'Great chance' Hamilton will make Bruins

751050.jpg

Julien: 'Great chance' Hamilton will make Bruins

ANDOVER, Mass. Claude Julien has made good use of his time while having no hockey club to coach with the NHL in lockout mode.

The Bruins coach and former Jack Adams Award winner has been a regular attendee of both practices and games for the Providence Bruins since camp started at the end of September. He also found time to pay a surprise visit to a girls hockey team at Phillips Andover Academy on Thursday evening, and give the young players a few tips while chatting them up from the bench.

Getting an opportunity to talk to youth hockey players is always great. Today, it was talking to young girls and it kind of reflects on me because I have a daughter thats going to start playing hockey, said Julien. Im really looking forward to that. Just like I told the girls today, its all about having fun at the end of the day.

Julien also just returned from a scouting trip in Canada to watch top prospects Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban play in the OHL. Julien got a chance to see Hamilton up close and personal during last years training camp, but it was his first chance to see the 2012 first-round pick in action between the pipes.

The Bs coach was impressed with Subban, and came away believing that Hamilton has a great chance to play in the NHL this season once the lockout is lifted. The 2011 first-round pick has seven points (three goals, four assists) in eight games to start the year with the Niagara IceDogs, and has a plus-8 rating while working as the most dominant defenseman in the entire OHL.

While its always difficult to gauge how NHL-ready a player could possibly be while watching them as a man-among-boys in a junior league, its also difficult to see Hamilton anywhere but Boston once the regular season gets started.

Ive been quite busy. Ive taken advantage of the situation spending most of last week in Providences camp. I also just got back from the road watching our prospects in Canada in the last few days, said Julien. Dougie was very good. Both of them were good, actually. They did a great job of staying focused.

Dougie is such a big player and hes gotten so much stronger. He was just outstanding. It was impressive to see him. Id say he has a great chance to stick in the NHL. Youve got to give the player a chance to show that he can, and sometimes you dont know until he goes up against stronger players. But what I saw told me that he deserves the opportunity. Id lean more toward him having a great chance to crack the Bruins lineup than not.

Hamilton is already expected to report to Boston from Niagara as soon as the NHL lockout is lifted, and Juliens assessment of his skills simply reinforces that its Dougies roster spot to lose on the defensemen corps.

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

The Bruins have locked up a potential fourth-line piece for next season at a bargain basement price.

The B's signed Rhode Island native and Providence College alum Noel Acciari, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal worth $1.45 million, a contract that breaks down to a very affordable $725,000 cap hit for each of the next two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bowling ball of a forward finished with two goals and five points in 29 games for the Bruins last season, and has appeared in 48 games at the NHL level over the last two seasons in Boston. It was also encouraging that Acciari seemed to be tapping a bit more into his offense toward the end of the season, and was building some confidence for whatever modest offense he’ll end up bringing to the NHL table once he’s reached his potential ceiling as a player.

Clearly the two-year, one-way deal portends that Acciari, 25, will be counted on as a high energy, hard-hitting fourth-line player who does a good job of aggravating opponents while playing at full tilt. The real question is whether his body can hold up with his maximum effort style of playing, and whether he can avoid serious injuries with some of the car-crash level of violence he puts in his hitting.

Acciari has battled several different injuries over the last couple of seasons, but managed to be healthy enough to log time in the playoffs for both Boston and the P-Bruins.

Either way it’s a low-risk, affordable contract for the Bruins for a young player who, if healthy, will be a large piece on their fourth line as a diligent worker and excellent teammate. So that’s a good proactive signing for Don Sweeney as he continues to work on a more complicated contract for a higher profile player like David Pastrnak.

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.