Notes: Rookie Hamill settles in


Notes: Rookie Hamill settles in

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON After failing to register more than a blip on the radar screen in his first game with the Bruins this season, rookie Zach Hamill looked a lot more at home creating and playmaking in Bostons 8-6 win over the Canadiens on Wednesday.

Hamill finished with 14 shifts and 10:30 of ice time, but found himself on a shortened bench during the third period as Gregory Campbell starting taking shifts with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. Hamill did make some plays, though, and get himself noticed in a positive way. His sweet backhanded pass through two Canadiens defenders to a wide-open Ryder set up his first goal of the night in the second period, and showed exactly what Hamill is capable of as a 22-year-old rookie.

Hamill is being given an audition to see what he can at the NHL level while the Bs sit Tyler Seguin as a healthy scratch, and theres certainly some promise and potential there at the center spot.

He made some good plays. On that goal obviously, I think it was Michael Ryders goal. He made another pass later on, I think it was between Looch Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, said coach Claude Julien. He made some good plays and thats what his game is all about. Hes a smart player and hes a great passer, hes always been known as a great playmaker and he showed some of that tonight.

Hamill wasnt out there at the end of the game not shocking given Juliens system of using players at the end of games that he feels most comfortable with but there was more than enough to warrant a few more looks at what the former 2007 first round draft pick can bring to the Bruins. Ryder can be one of the most misunderstood players on the Bruins when he's going through one of his dry stretches in the goal-scoring department, but Wednesday night's 8-6 win over the Canadiens wasn't one of those nights.Ryder scored a pair of goals and showed some instant chemistry with Hamill while demonstrating exactly what makes him so valuable: the right wing shows up at the most important times and is one of those players who rises to the level during the postseason. Ryder snapped an eight game goal-scoring drought against his former team and looks ready to embark on a hot streak for the B's."I think its been a while since I scored and I was getting some chances," said the ex-Canadien. "But tonight it finally went in. It took me two tries on one power play to get the second goal, but I think I have success when Im skating and working hard just keep doing that and Ill find the back of the net again."The Bruins scored their two first-period goals in a span of 12 seconds (13:16 and 13:28). That matches their fastest two goals in a row this season, first accomplished on Jan. 10 at Pittsburgh in a 4-2 win. It's also the fifth time the Bruins have scored two goals in 15 seconds or less: including games against the Penguins and Hurricanes. The line of Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton exploded against the Canadiens on Wednesday night, and finished with three goals, 8 assists and a plus-15 between the three forwards in the 8-6 win. The five points for Horton were a career-high, and Lucic extended his career-best mark in goals by potting his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season and Lucics sixth goal in the last nine games after a long cold spell in December.

We knew we could be a threat every time we went on the ice and that is what we have kind of talked about as a line yesterday, said Lucic. We wanted to be that threat and you know get in there and play with that emotion. We wanted to be the guys that coach counts on, and so its definitely great that we had a game the way we did. We have to keep pushing it and keep getting more.
Shawn Thornton had no opinion about the four-game suspension for Matt Cooke after he charged Columbus BlueJacketsdefensemanFedor Tyutin, and looked like he was hoping to avoid the entire conversation about the Pittsburgh rabble-rouser."I don't give an expletive about that," said Thornton. "I haven't seen it and I don't plan on seeing. He hasn't pulled any of that stuff against our team this year."

The win was Juliens 300th game as coach of the Bruins, which puts him at seventh on the Bs all-time franchise list.

Johnny Boychuk was playing in his 100th career NHL game, and ended the night with an absolute beatdown of Jaroslav Spacek with less than a minute to go in the third period.Carey Price allowed a career-high eight goals in the loss to the Boston Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.  

Saturday, April 29: The race for the top pick in NHL Draft

Saturday, April 29: The race for the top pick in NHL Draft

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while tipping my hat to the Celtics after an emotional, impressive showing against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.

*It’s a tight race for the No. 1 overall ranking headed into this summer’s NHL Draft and it also doesn’t necessarily seem like a surefire superstar player right off the bat either.

*The New York Rangers seem to have a little more respect for the “underdog” Ottawa Senators headed into Game 2 of their series.

*Speaking of the Senators, it looks like they may once again have the best player in the series with the dominant Erik Karlsson at the top of his game while presiding over the best-of-seven playoff match.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are rolling the dice that they can sign Scott Darling to be their No. 1 goalie before he gets to unrestricted free agency.

*PHT writer James O’Brien helps break down the method that the Vegas Golden Knights are going to use to build their team, but the bottom line is they don’t want to be boring.

*Milan Lucic is enjoying the ride with the Edmonton Oilers as they’ve taken a 2-0 lead in their series against the Ducks.

*For something completely different: Interesting news about M. Night Shyamalan, who is making a sequel that will tie together two of his hit movies.