Clark scores in the heat of Bruins competition

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Clark scores in the heat of Bruins competition

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
MONTREAL Chris Clark knows hes up against a great deal of young talent in a Bruins training camp competition for roster spots.

Jordan Caron has a track record with his Bruins teammates, still has plenty of upside as a 20-year-old winger capable of playing up and down the lineup, and hes also enjoyed an impressive overalltraining camp with the Bs. It was a year ago at this time that Caron dominated the Canadiens in preseasonwith his size, strength and ability to protect the puck for long, punishing shifts and actually cracked the Bruins opening nightroster based on his camp along with the impressive physical abilities that made him a former first round pick.Benoit Pouliot has ideal size as a 6-foot-3 forward capable of playing a physical style and putting up points as he did averaging 15 goals over the last two seasons inMontreal but he arrived in Boston with some discipline question marksand a stubborn label as a career underachiever.

Both are young skaters brimming with talent, and both are ready to take regular shifts with the Bruins in a role that has yet to be fully determined. Pouliot could be a candidate to skate out the right wing spot with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, but he could also become an energy line henchmen banging around bodies with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.

Caron has enjoyed an excellent camp with two strong games against the Canadiens, but Pouliot was merely been okay with a boarding penalty against the Ottawa Senators ranking as his most notable moment. Its expected that Pouliot will need some time to get accustomed to a new Bs offensive and defensive system, but Julien appears ready to have that kind of patience for a young player brimming with potential.If it were up to the coach, however, Julien has long since had an admiration for Caron and his approach to the game of hockey. So that's certainly a factor as well.

That leaves Clark as a 35-year-old veteran trying to capture a job, and that much has been obvious in the early going of Bs camp as he tries to make an impression. Clark assisted on a Brad Marchandgoal in Sundays win over the Habs in Halifax, and scored his first Bruins goal on Monday night off a sweet pass from Max Sauve. The Clark strike turned out to be the game-winner and allowed him to keep pace with the younger players he's competing with.

It was a good breakout by us. We got it to the blueline the way wanted it be, and then a seam opened up for a great pass, said Clark. That was a great play, and I was fortunate enough to put it in the net. I had a couple of other chances like the goal earlier in game and I wasnt able to bury them.

The intangibles have been off the charts for Clark during camp as hes taken on ice bags while jumping in front of pucks during the penalty kill -- and thrown shoulders at teammates during scrimmages to let them knowhe means business. Competition like that is gold in training camp, and Clark capped it off with the game-winning strike atthe Bell Centre -- the first official gesture as a member of the Bruins against the Habs in a Black and Gold career that could be year-long or incredibly fleeting.Either way, Clark has his eyes on the prize.

Overall we have been talking about making the team," Clark said, "and a goal certainly doesnt hurt me.

Clark also lamented several plays he left out on the ice Monday night against the Habs above and beyond the goal he scored. That must be the veteran in him as he's trying to do every last thing to hook on with the Bruins for their Cuprepeat attempt that kicks off against the Flyers on Oct. 6 and hes actually got a 35-year-old punchers chanceof making it if he keeps bringing veteran know-how to the table.

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

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece. 

 

Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

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Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The first bad break of Bruins camp arrived on Saturday with the news that scoring winger Frank Vatrano will be out three months after tearing a couple of ligaments in his left foot.

The 21-year-old winger from UMass and East Longmeadow, Mass., sustained the injury training just prior to the B’s fitness testing for camp and will have surgery on Monday at Mass General Hospital with Dr. George Theodore.

Vatrano had missed the first two days of camp after participating in captain’s practice just about right until the start of main training camp, so the injury must have happened just prior to Thursday’s off-ice testing.

“He had an injury just prior to testing, and it took a couple of days to make sure he had the proper evaluation. He saw a specialist yesterday and he’s scheduled for surgery on Monday,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “One or two of the ligaments were torn when he was doing some running, so he’s out.”

The injury is a big blow for a Bruins team that clearly had plans on Vatrano filling out a top-six role and leaves the door wide open for a young players Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn or Peter Cehlarik to win an NHL job out of camp. Perhaps a veteran such as camp invite Peter Mueller could secure a job when it didn’t appear to be any room on the NHL roster just a few days ago.

Either way it’s damaging to a Bruins team that was relying on goal-scoring and explosive forward play from a guy who topped 40 goals combined in the NHL and AHL last season.

“Obviously it’s a blow. Frankie looked at as an opportunity to [win a top-6 spot]. We all did. How that was going to play out remained to be seen, but he was going to be afforded a position to see if he could grab hold of it,” said Sweeney. “So obviously, he’s disappointed, and we are as well. You look at as with all injuries…it’s a setback. But the doctors feel very good that three months from now he’ll be able to play and move forward.”

It’s not officially NHL training camp until a major injury strikes, so now the Bruins are in the middle of it after learning they’ll lose Vatrano until Christmastime. 

Here's Vatrano's "Countdown to camp" profile