Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

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Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I spend most of morning skate in the media workroom today (it's not a long story, just not one worth explaining). But when the locker room is clear for media entry, the game is on.

Shawn Thornton is my first target. Luckily, he's in a fun mood. Big surprise there.

You've been talking about fourth line chemistry and how it's been a beautiful thing so far. Do you think this line will give you opportunities to get that 119 shots on net total up?
Laughs Up? That wasn't enough?

You know you're better than that.
Yeah, I hope so. Finally I have a centerman who will get me the puck, he's been looking for me all over the place. Begin always looked me off so . . . tries to look innocent. Now they're realizing I'm the dangerous guy in the line so they're probably going to get it to me a lot more. Teams might shadow me too because they know how dangerous I am.

Is that right? Huh.
Campbell has said he was bummed after last season that he didn't play as well as he had the year before. What have you seen from him so far?
I guess I gotta be serious on this question.

Yes, you do.
I think he's got a lot more skill than people give him credit for. He's got really good hands, good vision. He works really hard. We've had a little bit of chemistry in the couple of games we've played . . . it's been fun to play with him. He can skate and I know he's tough. He doesn't back down from anyone. So I'm looking forward to getting started with him.

Blake Wheeler is at a locker to the right.

You look like you're playing with a lot of intensity. How have you felt in the preseason as far as being physical is concerned?
I feel great. It's an area of my game that I wanted to work on a lot and I think it's an aspect that, if I can improve on it, it's going to help take me to the next level. Bringing a lot of energy every night contributes to that. You seem to play your best and play well when you have a lot of energy so I'm just trying to bring that every night and let the pieces fall where they may.

What were your other offseason goals?
I wanted to work on my shot a little bit . . . improve that . . . extend my range a little bit and be more of a threat in more places. Other than that, just look at the weak parts of my game and I thought being physical was definitely one that I could improve on. Hopefully that translates into good success.
What do you see as the most dangerous part of Phoenix's game?
Defensively I think they're very tough to play against. They have great goaltending and a good defensive core, so scoring goals is going to be tough. There's not going to be any easy goals out there, you gotta really work for them. As long as we bring the lunchpail tomorrow and bring that attitude that we're going to have to work hard and try to have more energy than them, it's gonna be a good game. We just can't take anything for granted or think anything's going to be easy.

Newly signed Bruin Brian McGrattan is hanging out in the same corner.

What was the moment like when business got taken care of . . . getting the deal out of the way?
I haven't signed it yet, so . . . gotta wait 'til we get back. But it's good because it was a really tough summer waiting around. You really sit and think about how great it is in this league and how much fun it is and stuff. So it's nice to be rewarded for hard work.

Talk about the guys here in Boston, getting adjusted.
It's more or less been a good group of guys to get to know. It's a fun group to try and gel with. Hockey systems are hockey systems. I've been learning them my whole life so, everything's kind of the same when you get up to this level. A couple of things are different on every team but more or less it's all the same. It's more or less just getting involved and getting to know the guys.

As far as the games go, Phoenix will be coming in fierce, looking to prove that playoff run was legit. What do you see there?
I played with them a couple years ago so I know a few of the guys. They're a fast team, a skilled team. I think they do want to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, so we've got to be ready for them. They've got good goaltending, really good forwards, so I think it will be a good test to see what we're made of to start the season.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

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.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.