Bruins eager for regular season

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Bruins eager for regular season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins have reached a point in the preseason where some veterans are ready to go, and the regular season cant come quickly enough.

Obviously there are others getting their timing perfected or shaking off the rust from a wildly abbreviated summer, and there is still one dress rehearsal against the New York Islanders on Saturday to get things synchronized. Its kind of an in-between mode that has players traveling at different speeds with a week to all collectively get in the same gear.

For some players like Tim Thomas and Nathan Horton that have been brought along deliberately in training camp, the extra few days are a boon for their readiness. Brad Marchand estimated that Thursday nights preseason game against the Senators was probably running at 95 percent speed when compared to the regular season, and thinks hes ready to go as well.

The last few games Ive felt like Im catching back up to speed and my mind is reacting quickly enough again, said Marchand. I feel pretty good. The last game is really when it started to feel better, and I got my legs under way. Each game was a little bit better, and one more will be good for a lot of these guys.

But a well-trained hockey machine like Patrice Bergeron in the prime of his career needed exactly three games in the exhibition season, and told his coach that hes as ready to go as hell ever be. Its almost like clockwork for the two-way center.

Weve only played five preseason games and well finish with our sixth one. Some teams play a lot more than six games during the preseason, so I think our guys have been happy to get a few games under their best, said Julien. Ive talked to a few guys from last year that are saying theyre feeling pretty good.

Bergie has played three games and he feels like hes ready to go. Other guys as well. So theres an element where I think guys are feeling ready to go and theyre excited about getting the season going. But I dont feel like theyre antsy to start tomorrow. They know theres another game to play and team-building to go.
Ah, yes, the team-building.

Perhaps any readiness to start the season is tempered by some Bruins readying themselves for the natural order of things in training camp.

Over the last few seasons the expected group of Bs players set for the NHL roster escape Boston for several days of a camp retreat. The teams players and coaches take off just prior to the season for a sequence of events that promote team-building and camaraderie between players.

Even in the hustle and bustle of last seasons trip to Europe, the team found time to steal away to Vermont for a couple of days. Thats on tap for the two days following their preseason finale against the Islanders on Saturday, and Julien and his coaching staff have kept the camps location a secret from the players for the last month.

The coaches know the location and the players dont. We have it organized. They dont know where were going and they dont know what were doing, so were keeping the element of surprise, said Julien. Its going to be a surprise, itll be fun and itll be good. So we left it that way and thought it was the best way to approach it.

So it will a quick next few days of games and ropes courses designed to bring the Bs together. One thing is known and certain: theyll all be on the ice Oct. 6 on the Garden ice to watch the new Stanley Cup championship banner raised in the rafters before getting the season started.

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

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.