Chara practices despite the pain

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Chara practices despite the pain

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- There is little wonder why Zdeno Chara is the captain of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

Chara flew to Slovakia earlier this week to attend the funeral services for good friend Pavol Demitra after the standout former Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks scorer was among the people killed in the KHL Lokomotiv plane crash in Russia.

But the 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman also made certain he flew immediately back on Friday and arrived in Boston during the early morning hours of Saturday morning. Chara swallowed his still fresh emotions of hurt and loss, and got back to work on the ice Saturday during the first day of Bs training camp along with the rest of the players.

Chara was helping out youngsters like Dougie Hamilton and setting the perfect Black and Gold example despite an extremely heavy heart.

The exhaustion was clear on Charas face once practice was over, and the anguish was clear in his voice while on the verge of tears recalling the Slovakian services for Demitra. For a player that achieved the pinnacle of winning a Stanley Cup for his Bruins team back in June, its been an unwanted emotional roller coaster for the stoic defenseman.

Im tired . . . Im exhausted. But at least Im going to get a good nights sleep tonight, said Chara. I wanted to practice today obviously. I dont want to miss any days. If I did it wouldnt have been a big deal. It would have been for a good reason.

This summer has been a really crazy summer. It has been a summer of the high of the highs and the low of the lows. Obviously were going to miss all those guys and its very unfortunate. Its a big tragedy. It was a really weird summer. Mixed emotions but we have to move on . . . we have to move on.

Its apparent that the loss of his neighbor has understandably worn on Chara over the last week, and there might not be any real closure anytime soon. Demitra and his family were among the small circle of friends and relatives invites to Charas Cup party in Trencin over the summer, and the loss hit too close to home for the towering defenseman.

He was my neighbor and we shared a lot of great moments and stories together, Chara said. Its very sad you know. Obviously you lose a guy like that and its not easy.

It does, Chara said of training camp getting his mind off his loss. You have to stay busy, go about your business and do your job . . . Sorry guys. Its a tough loss.

While Chara will certainly benefit from a return to the routine of training camp, coach Claude Julien said hed allow his stalwart defenseman a wide berth to operate from with so much upheaval over the last few weeks.

I would have been willing to give him that time off if he wanted it, but he really wanted to go on the ice today for a bunch of reasons, said Julien. Hes got new equipment, he takes his job as a leader very seriously and he felt it would be good for him to get a good little workout in.

He looked tired and he told me that he was. Just the fact that he came out was nice to see. He showed a great example today of guy thats dedicated despite everything hes been through in the last week or so. He lost a pretty good friend that he was close to and I think emotionally it took a toll on him this past week. This is training camp and its probably a good time to give him a little space and allow him to work his way back into feeling good.

It may take a few days or weeks before Chara is truly feeling good, but getting back with his team on Saturday was a step in the right direction for the Slovakian strongman.

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

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

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.