Hamill knows this may be last chance with B's

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Hamill knows this may be last chance with B's

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Zach Hamill knows what its like to be saddled with the weight of expectations. Hamill is a top 10 first round pick and a player who entered the Boston organization with high expectations, but its never quite come together for the center.

Hamill has taken on leadership roles at the prospect camps and has flashed playmaking skills in a pair of short stints in the NHL, but hes never been able to carve out a permanent job for himself in Bruins. Hamill really hasnt ever put together a truly outstanding AHL season since arriving in Providence, and knows that this training camp might just be his final chance in Boston.

Obviously you want to get better every year and this is an important season, said Hamill. But you dont want to look too far ahead. I take it day-by-day and dont look too far ahead. Looking too far ahead kinds of makes it more difficult for me if I do that.

Its good to see some teammates make it to the NHL and it makes you a little bit hungrier. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk all spent some time in Providence and finally made it. Its inspiring to me. Ill do whatever it takes to make it to the NHL.

Hamill is a free agent at the end of the season, and knows that it hasnt quite come together for him yet in a Boston organization stocked with centers. To his credit Hamill is supported by his past, current and future teammates in Boston, and theres likely a team out there that recognizes untapped potential in the 22-year-old pivot.

Hamills best season to date is 43 points and a plus-6 in 68 games for the P-Bruins last season, and he may need to start showcasing himself for other teams potentially interested in adding to their center situation.

The Bs coaching staff recognizes that Hamill has looked more confident and better with the puck this season, and perhaps he can jump back into the top of the depth heap when it comes to center.

Ive seen more confidence in Zach, said coach Claude Julien. Zach has struggled a little bit with that in the past but right now hes shown that after the amount of years hes been at our camp. Its a time for him to show that hes benefitted from the camps. I find him playing a lot more confidence. Hes one of those guys that youll probably see more of what he can do in a game situation than in practice because hes a smart player, a smart individual and he can make some real nice plays. Well et a chance to see that from him.

Hamill said he skated more this summer than he ever had before in preparation for the year with the Bruins, and has quickened up the power and pace hes able to consistently play with.

Time will tell if it makes a difference with Hamill and it those gaudy expectations will ever truly be met by the young centerman.

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

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season. 

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.