While the NHL could very well still be locked out at the end of December, Bruins fans will have something else to distract them while the league and players come to their senses.
A number of Bruins prospects five to be exact -- were officially invited to World Junior Team Selection camps, and could be key players in the tournament that pits the best hockey players in the world under the age of 20 against each other. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton is expected to be the cornerstone blue-liner for Team Canada, and 2012 first round pick Malcolm Subban is in the mix to be Canadas starting goaltender. Hamilton has 39 points (7 goals, 32 assists) in 30 games for the Niagara IceDogs, and Subban is 13-7-3 with a 2.23 goals against average and .931 save percentage along with a pair of shutouts.
Rugged winger Anthony Camara plays for the OHLsBarrie Colts and has put up 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 28 games this season, and has really become an intriguing all-around prospect that combines offensive ability with a willingness to drop the gloves.
The World Junior tournament could be a nice final NHL tune-up for Hamilton if the lockout finally ends during the month of January, though theres no guarantee of that right now.
Meanwhile, Bruins 2012 third round pick and Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been invited to the US World Junior Selection Camp along with North Reading resident Jim Vesey. Grzelcyk has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in 14 games for the Terriers this season.
Russian forward Alex Khokhlachev, who is struggling to carve out a niche for himself in the KHL this year, will likewise play for the Team Russian entry when the tournament gets started in his home country. Koko has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 25 games for Moscow Spartak, but starred in the Super Subway Series when a team of Russian youngsters barnstormed through Canada playing junior teams last month.
The 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship will be held in Ufa, Russia from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter.
Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows.
The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10.
Tuesday’s announcement from Roger Goodell that the NFL is “relaxing” its rules on celebrations is good news for at least one Patriot.
That would be Brandin Cooks, who began celebrating the rule change on Twitter not long after the league made its announcement.
Cooks, whom the Patriots acquired from the Saints this offseason in a trade that sent first and third-round picks to New Orleans, lost his favorite celebration last season when it was made clear that miming archery was off-limits. Josh Norman was fined $10,000 last season for such a celebration.
Following Norman’s fine, Cooks lamented the league’s decision to punish what Cooks had previously done in reference to a Bible verse (Psalms 144:6).
"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."
Added Cooks: ”I’ve been doing it for three years now, and there was never a complaint about it. Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it's almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it's frustrating. I'll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it."
When Tuesday’s news emerged, Cooks and former Saints teammate Mark Ingram were quick to react.