Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

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Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The Bruins wrapped up a second day of scrimmaging and closed their annual development camp after five hard-working days on the ice.

The Baby Bruins went through strenuous double sessions of power skating, drills and scrimmaging over the five-day period, during which the players were able to flash their skills. Perhaps just as importantly, however, they also showed they were willing to work and to listen to direction from the scouts, coaches and front office personnel.

The future is bright with Boston bringing back 18 players from a Stanley Cup champion's roster, and its similarly sunny within the organizations prospect ranks. The future is so bright that Peter Chiarelli and Co. have got to wear shades.

Ive been really impressed with the camp overall. The kids have really come in and done well and I told them that on the ice today, said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney. I thought they really bought into trying to take advantage of all the things weve thrown at them: the challenges, the power skating and stuff, the scrimmages, even the tempo.

Guys are making plays that we ask them to try things offensively to get up ice, play D, and move the puck. They all really tried things. Off the ice, the first couple days are a grind. Its a long day with the physicals and then going off to play paintball -- and the guys decided to divide up teams. Ive been really impressed with the group and the camp overall.

The Bruins held another scrimmage on the final day at Ristuccia Arena, and once again 2011 fourth round pick Brian Ferlin scored a goal while skating around with Justin Florek and Ryan Spooner. Ferlin was the biggest single unexpected player to emerge in the two days of game scrimmages, but there were many standouts. Heres a quick evaluation on a few that caught this hockey reporters eyes over the last five days:

Ryan Button
One of the most improved players from last years development camp to this year, and really showed the confidence he needs to hold in the offensive end. Wasnt afraid to show a little wiggle shaking himself free from shot blockers near the blue line, and several times displayed the ability to rush the puck toward the net. Will still have to work his way up the ranks with young defensemen like Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski ahead of him on the depth chart, but definitely made an impression on the Bs front office.
Anthony Camara
Did exceptionally well for a 17-year-old fighter type. Banged bodies with fellow tough guy Zach Trotman on several occasions, took a big hit off the Ristuccia Arena stanchion after getting tangled up with Alex Fallstrom and showed more skill than advertised. A good first impression for the 2011 third rounder most often compared to Shawn Thornton.

Dougie Hamilton
Took exception to being characterized by me as being in the baby giraffe stage of development for a tall defensemen, and showed why during the development camp. He had fluid, athletic moves on his skates, showed a willingness to shoot the puck and had a good second scrimmage after getting caught running around a bit in the first camp game. Hamilton is at least a year or two away as he needs to improve his physical strength and his decision-making on the ice he got burned several times taking chances in the offensive zone and neutral zone but hes got the goods to be an excellent franchise defenseman. Also showed a little more snarl in the second scrimmage a very good sign.

Zane Gothberg and Lars Volden
Its tough to judge the goalie as teen-agers in their first and second camps respectively, but both had some good moments and bad moments during the scrimmages.

Tyler Randell
Showed some willingness to throw his body around physically and mixed well into the quick tempo of the scrimmages and drills.

Marc Cantin
One of the older players on the ice for development camp at 21 years old, but also one of the most effective players. He used his strength and physicality in a way very reminiscent of Mark Stuart, and showed the capability of making a few plays offensively as well. Looks like a good pickup as a free agent, and a player that will fit well into the Bruins Way of doing things.

Michael Hutchinson
Hutchinson was by far the best goaltender in development and somebody to watch in his second season with the Providence Bruins this upcoming year. The prospects had a difficult time scoring on him in the scrimmages, and he showed off a fancy right glove hand robbing several players from point blank range through two days of camp games. Very cool character between the pipes, who could have a future in the big league.
David Warsofsky
Has a nice package of creativity, play-making and speed in the offensive zone, and made things happen as a defensemen while moving his feet and using his mind when the puck was on his stick. Hes clearly undersized, but should be a player to watch in Providence this season. He could challenge Steve Kampfer quickly for that seventh defensemen spot in Boston if he hits the ground running in training camp both players have a very similar game.

Rob OGara
The 18-year-old Milton Academy defensemen looked like the youngest and most wide-eyed player taking part in camp, but he completely belonged when he hopped on the ice. Don Sweeney called him a big piece of clay that the Bruins can mold into whatever they want, and he displayed some of the skills playing against guys much older and more developed than him. Seemed like a great kid away from the ice as well.

Alexander Khokhlachev
Didnt come into camp in the greatest shape and that hurt his performance a bit during the camp. Hes got plenty of skill and promise as a 17-year-old, and it might be too difficult to gauge him as a player and Russian scoring force until next summers development camp.

Alexander Fallstrom
Needed to work on his skating and strength after last season at Harvard University, and has done that back home in Stockholm, Sweden. Fit right into the mix with a nice pair of hands and a big frame that still needs to fill out at 6-foot-2 and 203-pounds, but improved greatly from last years development. Might be most improved along with Ryan Button.

Brian Ferlin
Possibly the biggest surprise of development camp with so little fanfare coming into it. Showed off the big hockey body at 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, but also showed the shooting ability and hands to finish plays right around the net. The Florida native bears watching at Cornell University next season.

Tommy Cross
Cross looks like a man among boys at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds and taking up Zdeno Charas locker in the Wilmington arena dressing room, and had his best development camp. His mobility and speed appear to have returned fully after a series of knee surgeries set him back, and he showed the kind of balanced two-way defensive play the Bruins covet from defensemen. The leadership component is an added bonus for the Connecticut native.

Craig Cunningham
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Cunningham had a solid development camp last year after being drafted by the Bruins, but he wasnt quite as noticeable this time around with a different mix of players. Expected a bit more considering the big year he had at the junior hockey level.

Ryan Spooner
He came into development camp bigger, stronger and with a bit more swagger than he did the year before, and showed improvement in the areas asked of him by the Bruins. His playmaking ability was on display all week whether it was setting up plays for wide open teammates or fooling goaltenders with his array of shootout moves. With a bit more strength and confidence under his belt, he should be fun to watch in real training camp.

Justin Florek
Florek had a pair of goals in the first scrimmage and showed a little something more than might have been expected as a 2010 fifth round pick from Northern Michigan University. The 6-foot-4 Florek did prove that he can absolutely shoot the puck with the best of Bostons prospects.

Jared Knight
Showed off more during the practice drills than during the actual scrimmages and fanned on a nice one-time feed from Tommy Cross for a sure goal during the second day of scrimmages. I would guess that Knight has the best chance of pushing somebody during training camp for a job with the Bruins, but that might still be a tough task. The shot, the physically mature build and the conditioning are all there, however, as a 19-year-old prospect at the wing.

Josh Jooris
Had some flashes as a camp invite from Union College and showed a little offensivedashwith a healthy amount ofjam thrown in for good measure. He seemed to be involved in a lot of the plays that were happening during the scrimmages, and beat a couple of defensemen with his speed during the camp games.

Zach Trotman
A big defenseman that tossed out some big hits and got very involved in the physical side of things during scrimmage games. Didnt appear to be all that involved offensively during the scrimmages, but theres always a place for big, bruising defensemen that size with the ability to stay up to speed.

Incomplete: Ben Sexton, Steven Spinell, Brett Olson, Eric Robinson. Robinson left camp early and I didn't see enough out of the other three players to really generate any strong opinions.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.