David Krejci, Anton Khudobin and Dougie Hamilton were the only three Bruins players still missing from the Bruins contingent skating at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday morning. Krejci is headed back from the Czech Republic and theres no reason to think the playmaking center wont be back in Black and Gold by Sundays start to training camp at the very latest.
Since theres a very formal process to a junior hockey player joining an NHL camp, its expected that the 19-year-old Hamilton wont be here until camp officially opens on Jan. 13. The 2011 first round pick will be given every chance to make the Bruins roster, and barring any unforeseen struggles should be in the opening night lineup.
Khudobin is in the same boat as Krejci: the Kazakhstan native is returning from the Moscow Oblast Atlant team hed been playing with in the KHL for the duration of the lockout. But theres one twist with the 26-year-old Khudobin: hes already begun making noise in his native country that he might prefer to remain in the KHL long term.
The Bruins are expecting him for training camp this weekend just like everybody else, and he impressed in a 44-save shutout against the Ottawa Senators at the end of last year's regular season. But Khudobin told a Russian media outlet, RSport, that he might prefer playing in Russia to the North American NHL game.
I can say that these three months have been simply excellent," said Khudobin, who was 6-14-4 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average in the KHL this season. In the summer my contract with Boston finishes, and the choice of which league to play is going to be a serious dilemma.
I could definitely turn up in the KHL, why not? Here you get really good hockey, it's a really decent league. The KHL is taking confident steps forward, and that's something that's really pleasing."
It was stated within that report that Khudobin was contractually obligated to head for Boston as soon as the NHL lockout was over, so he should be turning up at Ristuccia Arena for practice any day now. But the confusion with Russian players like Ilya Kovalchuk skating in the KHL over the last few days means nothing should taken for granted until the player has officially reported to camp.