Fifteen thoughts from Bruins BlackWhite scrimmage

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Fifteen thoughts from Bruins BlackWhite scrimmage

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

PROVIDENCE - Here are ten thoughts from the first period of the BlackWhite scrimmage with the Black team holding a slim 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

1) Alex Khokhlachev has been a little hit or miss as the youngest plauer in Bruins camp, but he showed exactly what makes him special in the first real game action. Koko took a pass from Dennis Seidenberg after the defenseman carried the puck into the corner, and clinked a sniper shot just under the cross bar for the game's first goal. While Khokhlachev still has work to do in order to become a finished product, he flashed early tonight.

2) Loudest ovations for Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas and Johnny Boychuk during the pregame introductions here in Providence. The certainly love their former P-Bruins here at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

3) Dougie Hamilton looked a little nervous early, but he settled down nicely as the first period moved on. Hamilton threw a nice hip check in front of the White bench that served notice he already knows how to use his 6-foot-5 frame.

4) Good effort and fore-checking from Max Sauve while skating on a kiddie line with Jared Knight and David Krejci. It's pretty clear Krejci is enjoying some of the young offensive weapons being trotted out during training camp.

5) No goals allowed and six saves by Tim Thomas in his first 20 minutes of hockey this season. He's clearly well on his way to another Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanely Cup.

Here are five thoughts from the second period of the Bruins Black and White scrimmage at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence with the score tied up at 1-1 after 40 minutes.

1) Dont tell NHL graybeard Chris Clark that this is just a friendly scrimmage. Clark is playing like he wants a job and upped his intensity in the second period. Clark and Tyler Seguin banged around in the corner during one exchange with Seguin falling to the ice while losing puck possession and then slamming his stick to the boards after he made it back to the bench. Then Clark took a couple of wild two-handed chops at Colby Cohen in the closing seconds of the second period and was whistled off for slashing. Thats the kind of intensity that the feel-good Bruins camp can certainly use.

2) Ryan Spooner tucked a puck underneath Tim Thomas pads early in the second period, and simply continues to create offense whenever hes on the ice. The 19-year-old might end up headed back to junior hockey at the end of camp, but hes going to make the decision ultra-tough fro the Bs front office.

3) Brad Marchand and David Krejci opened the second period as a penalty killing unit and looked like it was man against boys as they played keep away with the Black Team on the man advantage. Thats a skilled, gritty combo to look at as regular PK partners that could really be lethal to teams trying to attack with a sloppy power play.

4) Heavy hitting by Matt Bartkowski on Jared Knight that knocked the 19-year-olds helmet off by the side boards. Bartkowski is a guy that needs to step up and be noticed this season at training camp, and thats a good way to have it happen after he appeared a little overmatched during his short NHL stints.

5) A too many men on the ice penalty for assistant coach Geoff Wards White Team at the end of the second period. Does that mean Claude Julien will make Ward skate a few Herbies at practice tomorrow?

Here are five thoughts from third period of the BlackWhite scrimmage with the Black Team taking the 4-1 victory at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

1) Two goals for Alex Khokhlachev tonight. He's showed the ability to finish and the willingness to attack the net as advertised. May not be much of a practice player at this point, but he showed up tonight.

2) A couple of assists for Colby Cohen, who looks like he could help the defensemen corps at some point with his good vision and creativity.

3) Looked like Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley were going at it a bit there in the third period after Looch was called for a boarding penalty. Might as well start getting their nasty up now.

4) Good look by Tyler Seguin on Lane MacDermid backdoor goal in the third period. Pretty one-sided for the Black Team throughout the game.

5) Anton Khudobin didn't have a ton of shots against, but he keeps stopping pucks just like the guy he's sometimes compared to: Tim Thomas.

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

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

BRIGHTON -- The third season is usually a pivotal one when it comes to an NHL player's development and trying to forecast exactly how high their ceiling will be.

So it is for David Pastrnak, who is expected to take a major leap forward in his third year after showing flashes of great promise in each of his first two seasons.

“The [World Cup] is done, so now all of my focus is on being as ready as I can for this upcoming season,” said Pastrnak, 20, who threw probably the biggest hit of his career on unsuspecting teammate Patrice Bergeron when the Czechs played Team Canada in the preliminary rounds. “I feel way bigger, very comfortable on the ice, and I obviously feel really good right now.”

Pastrnak has had moments of dazzling brilliance in Boston so far while riding the usual learning curve that every young player travels in Claude Julien’s system. In addition, injuries last season sidetracked his development process.

Pastrnak put up 21 goals and 55 points between Boston and Providence as the youngest player in either league as an 18-year-old rookie two years ago. Last season he had 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Bruins while also missing significant time because of a fractured foot. The injury not only sidelined him for a few months but also made it difficult for him to jump onto the moving train of the NHL regular season once he was ready to return.

Just as the former first-round pick was really catching fire at the end of the year, time ran out on a Bruins team that had a few too many older veterans with empty gas tanks after being ridden hard throughout the season. Pastrnak scored goals in each of the final couple of games, and showed off the game-breaking ability that should be on full display if he's healthy and placed in a position to succeed.

His World Cup stint ended on a high note, as he played his best game of the tourney against Team USA, though he didn’t make a major impact in the elite international competition. He put on five pounds of muscle during the offseason and clearly looking bigger and stronger at 189 pounds after ending last season closer to 180.

Part of that is the natural physical maturation process for somebody Pastrnak’s age as he gain’s “man strength”, and some of it was a dedicated effort. He worked out in Boston with the B’s training staff for much of the summer for the first time in his career.

The expectation is that Pastrnak is going to be running on the right wing with David Krejci on Boston’s second line, and the search in training camp is for a left wing who can bring added playmaking ability and maybe a little size and strength to the mix. In a perfect world Krejci and Pastrnak will develop into the same dynamic, two-way combination of Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Pastrnak and Krejci could be a lethal offensive duo to be sure, but they’ll also have to pay attention to the little details if they want to stay together playing for Julien. Perhaps with that in mind, Julien was looking to temper expectations for Pastrnak

“I don't know if [the World Cup experience] accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level, and made himself better,” said Julien. “We know he's skilled and we know he's fast, and he's also gotten stronger. He's taking steps in the right direction here. We can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional.

“Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him, and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there are still some things he's going to want to get better at. There are still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach him. Let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.”

One would argue Pastrnak put those expectations on himself when he posted the 21 goals and 55 points as an 18-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the Pastrnak development project can, and should, be one of the things considered when we evaluate Julien’s current ability to get the most out of his young prospect-type players.

The bottom line with Pastrnak and the Bruins is this: It’s his contract year and motivation should be sky high. The Czech youngster is one of the few people who can step up and help fill the offensive void left by the free-agent departure of Loui Eriksson. Expectations are much higher for an experienced, talented 20-year-old than they are for a wide-eyed 18-year-old, and Pastrnak needs to make a big stride forward. Now is the time for Pastrnak to show all he’s learned, and completely unleash the array of offensive skills that caught everybody’s eye in the first place.

The Bruins need Pastrnak, and young players, to step up and start taking ownership of the hockey team.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.