Haggerty: Thoughts from Bruins testing day

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Haggerty: Thoughts from Bruins testing day

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- A hockey team is never as well-conditioned and optimistic as they are on the very first day of training camp. So it was with the Stanley Cup champion Bruins on the day they underwent physicals and fitness testing.

The biggest hurdle in the Bs fitness test was a series of sprints that each player must do in under 60 seconds, but there didnt seem to be anybody lagging behind the group among the 53 players invited to main camp.

Well, maybe the goaltenders. But they just need to stop the puck anyway.

Its quite a stretch from the old time hockey days when Claude Julien was a player, and NHL skaters would roll into camp out of shape after toiling through a second job during the summer.

For these Bruins it was about partying and celebrating the Cup win for two or three weeks before getting right back into working out with an eye toward todays Sept. 16 return date at TD Garden.

It feels good to get going again, said Claude Julien. Its been a great summer and a lot of fun, but for us its time to turn the page and get back to work. I think our players are in the right frame of mind in regards to that and thats what we wanted to see.

Now we just have to go out there and prove that were ready to go while understanding theres going to be challenges out there. Being Stanley Cup champions means teams will be playing their best against us every night. We understand that.

With that in mind, here are a few observations from the first glance at the players on testing day:
Tyler Seguin said he gained 10 pounds and Bs GM Peter Chiarelli told me Seguin was up to 196 pounds when he arrived in Boston last week. Chiarelli also thought the 19-year-old might have grown an inch as well, and it all speaks to just how much Seguin is still developing. Despite a picture or two online of Seguin living it up in Boston immediately after the Cup win, the kid put in the work over the summer and should be a bigger, stronger, better version of himself this year.
Adam McQuaid looks like he swallowed a barbell or two over the summer on Prince Edward Island, and clearly hasnt let his long term contract extension affect his work ethic. McQuaid was already a tough customer over the last two seasons, but - as the great Mr. T once said -- I pity the fool who messes with a buffed up Mullet this season.
Not a hint of Marc Savard in the locker room, on the tip of players tongues or among the training camp milieu. Bruins coach Claude Julien actually mentioned Savard as a player in the past tense when talking about him, and it appears the Bs have truly moved on from a player that may not ever be coming back.

Sadly, Savards biggest contribution to this years team may be the 4 million cap hit wiped off Bostons cap ledger that will give Chiarelli and Co. upwards of 9 million in cap space to play with during the season.

He was part of our team last year. Certainly that injury was a big blow to him and to our team, but we made sure to include him as part of our Stanley Cup celebration, said Julien. We hope to see him here down the road because he was a part of our hockey club. We have not forgotten him.

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

Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

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Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible. 
 
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions
 
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota
 
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations
 
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan

 -- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. 

-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website. 

-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often. 
 
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network. 

 

List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

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List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

With decidedly Boston-sounding names and thoroughly familiar faces, given their resemblances to their ex-Bruin dads, it might have been easy to overlook Ryan Donato and Ryan Fitzgerald and focus on the truly little-known prospects at Development Camp earlier this month.

But on the ice, their brimming confidence, their offensive skills and the maturity to their all-around game was impossible to ignore.

When it was over, general manager Don Sweeney singled out Donato, who plays at Harvard, and Fitzgerald, from Boston College -- along with Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork and former Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- as players who have developed significantly.
 
“[They're] just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Sweeney. “I mean, they’ve played at the college hockey level . . . two, three, four years with some of these kids. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.”
 
Donato, 20, is actually coming off his first season at Harvard, where he posted 13 goals and 21 points in 32 games. He looked like he was in midseason form during Development Camp, showing off a scoring touch, skill with the puck on his stick in tight traffic, and the instincts to anticipate plays that allow him to beat defenders to spots in the offensive zone. He’s primed for a giant sophomore season with the Crimson, based on his showing at camp.
 
“Every year is a blast," said Donato, son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard coach Ted Donato. "You just come in [to development camp] with an open mindset where you soak everything up from the coaches like a sponge, and see what they say. Then I just do my best to incorporate it into my game and bring it with me to school next year.
 
“One of the things that [Bruins coaches and management] has said to me -- and it’s the same message for everybody -- is that every area of your game is an important one to develop. The thing about the NHL is that every little detail makes the difference, and that’s what I’ve been working on whether it’s my skating, or my defensive play. Every little piece of my game needs to be developed.”
 
Then there's Fitzgerald, 21, who is entering his senior season at BC after notching 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games last year in a real breakout season. The 2013 fourth-round pick showed speed and finishing ability during his Development Camp stint and clearly is close to being a finished hockey product at the collegiate level.
 
“It was good. It’s definitely a fun time being here, seeing these guys and putting the logo on,” said Fitzgerald, son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald, after his fourth Development Camp. “One thing I’m focusing on this summer is getting stronger, but it’s also about just progressing and maturing.
 
“I thought . . . last year [at BC] was a pretty good one, so I just try to build off that and roll into my senior season. [The Bruins] have told me to pretty much continue what I’m doing in school. When the time is right I’ll go ahead [and turn pro], so probably after I graduate I’ll jump on and make an impact.”
 
Fitzgerald certainly didn’t mention or give any hints that it could happen, but these days it has to give an NHL organization a bit of trepidation anytime one of their draft picks makes it all the way to their senior season. There’s always the possibility of it turning into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if a player -- like Fitzgerald -- has a huge final year and draws enough NHL interest to forego signing with the team that drafted him for a shot at free agency in the August following his senior season.
 
It may be a moot point with Fitzgerald, a Boston kid already living a dream as a Bruins draft pick, but it’s always a possibility until he actually signs.
 
In any case, both Donato and Fitzgerald beat watching in their respective college seasons after both saw their development level take a healthy leap forward.