'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark

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'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Things didnt work out for Chris Clark with the Bruins, but that doesnt mean the 35-year-old veterans NHL career is kaput.

Quite the contrary, in fact, it would appear the former captain of the Washington Capitals impressed his short-term teammates with his straightforward approach to the game of hockey, his no-nonsense work ethic and the commitment it took to break his nose in a fight with Michael Haley during the Bs final preseason game against the New York Islanders.

The fight and busted-up nose showed just how tough a customer Clarkstill is a fact that longtime puckacquaintances like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton already knew to be true and he also made plenty of offensive plays in his handful of exhibition games, including a game-winning goal against the Canadiens in Bell Centre.

Despite all that and despite the Bruins inviting him to their two-day team-bonding trip in Maine Clark was released from his training camp tryout by the Bruins organization. The transaction was lost in the shuffle of everything else going on over the last couple of days, but it's clear the Bruins felt that the future is now with 2008 first round pickJordan Caron.

It seemed like it might have been a tough choice, but Bostons organizational depth didnt really allow for an outside veteran influence given a series of Bs prospects ready to break through from the AHL level.

It was a tough call," said coach Claude Julien. "I was one of the guys standing up here saying hes got good experience and good leadership qualities, and at the end of the day -- as a whole group -- a tough decision was made. It was a decision not so much for the present, but maybe for the future with what we feel we have as depth.

Anybody can ask me the question right now and Ill answer without hesitation: Chris Clark can still play in the NHL. Thats not a question. We just had too much depth. I think it would have been tough for him to fit in our top 12, and its a lot easier to show the leadership qualities when youre in the mix of regular players. Its hard to go in there and try to be a leader when youre not really fitting into the top 12. There are a lot of things that went into our thoughts, but the one thing I do hope is that he hooks up with some NHL team . . . because hes still an NHL caliber player.

Its difficult timing for Clark right at the start of the regular season, but anything can happen once injuries start popping up and NHL teams comes searching for a veteran bottom-six forward capable of providing a little grit and offense. Thats the kind of job Clark could still master at his advanced NHL age, and proved he was ready for during training camp.

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

Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

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Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

ANDOVER, Mass. — Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque, who's facing a drunken driving charge, says he accepts the responsibility of his actions.

Bourque was charged Friday night with operating under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He posted bail and was released.

"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory," Bourque said in a statement released Sunday. "I am not happy about the situation I put myself into."

Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said the 55-year-old Bourque was arrested about 11:30 p.m. after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in a construction zone in the city. No injuries were reported.

Bourque is to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Police haven't provided a date.

According to The Boston Globe, Bourque currently owns Tresca, a restaurant on Boston's North End.

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

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"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.