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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bruins training camp updates; Sunday 9/19

I won't get into too much here on the blog, but I've enjoyed the last couple of days at the TD Garden. Time to head home, but this has been a productive visit.

If you want to read more about what was going on there with some of the prospects, then hop on over to http://www.hockeyjournal.com/ and check out the Kirk's Call blog section.

I'll list a couple of the young prospect standouts and why I think they're worth following over the next few seasons. Remember, these comments are generated from a relatively small sample size. If I'm bringing up players covered in previous ground on this blog in the last few days, it's because they did even more to stand out in positive fashion during the weekend on-ice sessions.


Jordan Caron, RW-- Providence head coach Rob Murray likes to use the term "pro-ready" to describe prospects who come up from the amateur ranks with physical and emotional maturity, an advanced game and the kinds of intangibles to make an immediate impact either at the AHL or NHL level. Caron is one of those. He's also a versatile wing who can play on any line. He uses his wide body to protect the puck and set up an effective cycle down low. He's one of the youngsters who could make the Boston roster this year and no one would bat an eye. But if he goes down to Providence, that isn't a bad thing, either.

Joe Colborne, C-- You can see why this kid went 16th overall, because on hockey skills alone, he's a neat prospect. He's huge, has a long, loping stride and glides effortlessly along covering a lot of ground that takes smaller players twice the amount of choppy strides to equal. It's early, but he looks good (aside from having to wear the full face shield). He's a likeable kid with NHL skills, but he has yet to prove himself against big league competition where the going's gonna get tough.

Antoine Roussel, LW-- Gritty little cuss (who turns 21 in Nov.) can really skate and plays with a lot of energy. Watching him in the rookie games and in the main camp sessions it doesn't make any sense that he went undrafted. He's a relentless forechecker, is all over the ice and neve moves his feet, and seems to be able to get into the avenues of approach and disrupt the play from developing smoothly up the ice. Boston has about four contracts left to hand out under their 50-deal ceiling. Based on what I've seen from Roussel, he should get one. Now. UPDATE: I found out that Roussel is on an AHL contract, so that could turn into something more down the road. He'll go to Providence for the time being, and if he impresses, could earn an NHL deal.

Max Sauve, LW-- Two players born in France appearing on the same "hot" list? Believe it. Sauve has been the best of Boston's young forwards at camp this year, but he has some options, whereas Tyler Seguin does not. Therefore, Sauve could be the odd-man out to go down to the AHL rather than win a spot in Boston. On the other hand, if you believe that Marc Savard's concussion symptoms have opened up a top-six spot, then Sauve could be the guy to win it so long as he keeps blazing up the ice at max. effort and generates some offense in the exhibition games. So far in two days of training camp sessions, he's done nothing to hurt himself.

Tyler Seguin, C-- He's skilled, no doubt. But a work in progress. He does things that you can't teach and does them at lightning speed, so it's easy to criticize when plays don't result in goals. But, the option between keeping him in Boston and sending him back to dominate teenagers isn't really a choice at all. So, if you're one of those people who thinks Seguin needs to "earn it" then you need to get over it. He's skilled enough to play in the NHL and that's where he's going to be this season. Sending him back to Plymouth does nothing for his development and sometimes, that's just the business side of things. The better players don't always get the NHL jobs, but so long as they keep plugging away, their time will come.


Yury Alexandrov, D-- Seeing the contrast between David Krejci's tree-trunk legs and Alexandrov's spindly appendages on Sunday underscored the need this Russian has to hit the weights and add strength. What he does well: use his stick to break up opportunities and has the instincts to make unreal plays that amaze. That said, his defense needs a lot of work, as does his conditioning, and while he's looking better and better as each session progresses and he gains more familiarity and better fitness levels, he's not ready for an NHL position.

Matt Bartkowski, D-- In this blogger's mind, he edges Steve Kampfer by a nose for the award given to the best of the defense prospects. This is one mature, advanced defenseman who appears to already have a strong grasp of positioning, body leverage and stick checking. Oh, and he's about 6-1 and moves quite nicely, with good speed and agility in his footwork. This guy is so much better than advertised as a seventh-round pick, and while I have yet to see the big hits/toughness we heard about at Ohio State when the B's acquired his rights, he's been more than a pleasant surprise as far as his essential skills go.

Steve Kampfer, D-- Some like this undersized, but competitive defender more than Bartkowski, which is fine. The Michigan product is more mobile and aggressive offensively than his Ohio State counterpart, but doesn't have Bartkowski's natural size or strength. He's a leader and one of those "pro-ready" players Murray talks about. It's an interesting bond between the two collegians, as the B's acquired both at the deadline from teams who didn't want them. He's got a nice set of wheels and isn't afraid to rush the puck. I don't know that he's going to put up the kind of points that you want from an "offensive defenseman" but he looks to be a two-way hybrid who will be able to chip in some modest points and play responsibly in his own end.


Mike Hutchinson, G-- "Hutch" is really the only goalie worth discussing at this point. He made huge inroads in his rookie game virtuoso performance and should get some serious consideration to be Nolan Schaefer's backup in Providence. He's nowhere near ready for an NHL discussion, but he's got the size, athleticism and has shown some surprising mental toughness that his easy, sunny disposition conceals.

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