Source: Bruins sign BU's Courtnall to minor league deal

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Source: Bruins sign BU's Courtnall to minor league deal

The Boston Bruins made another minor league move this week signing Justin Courtnall to a contract with the Providence Bruins, according to a Bruins source.

The 23-year-old lefty-shooting forward opted to forego his senior season at Boston University to sign with the Bruins organization after taking part in Bostons Development Camp back in July. Courtnall is the son of former Bruins forward Geoff Courtnall, and the nephew of Russ Courtnall in an impressive example of NHL bloodlines.

Courtnalls father played for the Bruins from 1983-88 and scored 36 goals and 58 points in his best season during 1987-88 before getting traded to the Edmonton Oilers along with Bill Ranford for goaltender Andy Moog. During his 17-year with Boston, Edmonton, Washington, St. Louis and Vancouver Courtnall finished with 367 goals, 432 assists and 799 points in 1,048 NHL games.

Courtnall is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound gritty forward that didnt put up big numbers for the Terriers as attested by his 13 career points in 92 games for Boston University, but the Bruins saw something they liked back in July during the practice sessions at Ristuccia Arena.

Courtnall was actually an assistant captain for Boston University last season and appeared ready to head back to school for his senior season, but hes instead opted to sign with the Black and Gold team thats shown interest in him all along.The bruising forwardwas a seventh round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2007 draft, and has attended prospect camps for several different organizations.

My dad especially has really been there for me, said Courtnall to BostonBruins.com during his time at development camp this summer. Hes been able to tell me the ins and outs of what it takes to be a pro how hard you have to work and what kind of shape you have to be in.

You know, how important it is to be a professional at all times and make sure that youre always doing the right thing.

Courtnall is expected to be a gritty, physical forward for the P-Bruins with a high motor and plenty of room for improvement, and the youngster doesnt factor in the big clubs plans at this point. But Courtnall coupled with Chris Bourques recent trade to Boston appears to be making it feel like a little bit of a Bs family reunion when the players do finally report to training camp this year.College Hockey News reporter Scott McLaughlin was the first to report the news of the Courtnall signing.

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.