Hamilton can't wait to jump into the NHL battle

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Hamilton can't wait to jump into the NHL battle

While its natural to think that 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton is going to face his biggest challenge manning up against bigger, stronger, crazier opponents bearing down on him in the battle zones within his own end of the ice, the young defenseman has his own ideas. With the NHL season-opener finally on tap and intense, hard-charging forwards like Ryan Callahan ready to invade the TD Garden ice along with the rest of the Blueshirts, Hamilton said that making the jump from the OHL to the NHL will allow to battle a little bit more himself.

The 6-foot-5, 199-pound Hamilton has a big frame that will allow him to pack on much more muscle as he fills out, and he has a long reach with his stick that will frustrate opponents defensively if he has the proper technique and position. But the former first round pick also felt that refs watched him closely in the OHL because he so much bigger than many opponents he matched up against.

That kind of scrutiny allowed him less chance to unleash his physical play, and in theory should free him defensively in the corners and in front of the net.

This is a day Ive been waiting for and looking forward to, and Im excited to get it going. Theres adrenaline and thats something you get used to, but Im just going to go out there, smile and have as much fun as I can, said Hamilton, who had 41 points and a plus-24 in 32 games for the Niagara IceDogs this season. There are a few things that will be different than Im used to, but it was nice to get into that scrimmage on Tuesday night. I can visualize it a bit now.

The battle level is different, and for meI like that. At times cross-checking guys and things like that you cant do in the OHL because youll get a penalty. Thats something Ive got to get used to: what I can get away with and what I can do. Its another thing Ill adjust to.

On the other side of the coin, however, Hamilton could get the rookie treatment, and that means getting sent to the penalty box early and often by referees if he takes too many liberties with aggressive opponents. But thats the balancing act a talented young defenseman must perform while learning his craft, and its something hell only learn through on-the-job training.

With an opening night spot in the Bs lineup skating with Dennis Seidenberg and a point position on the teams second power play unit, Hamilton will get a good, long look from the Bruins.

Hes a pretty good all-around defenseman, and what hes got to do is just gain some experience, said Claude Julien. That can only be done with time. We all know hes got the size, we all know that he can move the puck well, we all know he skates well and hes got great hockey sense.

Where is his weakness? The only weakness hes got is the lack of experience and weve got to allow him to get that. We like where he is and what hes brought so far. Weve seen a lot of guys the same way he has and done well, and we expect him to be that kind of guy.

The NHL apprenticeship for the teen-aged Hamilton begins tonight against the Rangers, and its expected to be a crowd-pleaser here in Boston.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.