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PROVIDENCE (CBS) – Even a rookie should know not to go out of his way to block a shot in an intra-squad scrimmage.
“Especially off my private parts,” admitted the Boston Bruins 2011 first-round pick Dougie Hamilton Tuesday night after the team’s Black and White game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the home of Boston’s Providence (AHL) farm team.
“I think it might have gone off my stick. It hurt for a bit, and then it was OK.”
If there were any questions about Hamilton’s desire, they should’ve been answered with that one play.
Hamilton missed a little time but then returned to action in a game his White team lost 4-1 to the Black Team. The final score was irrelevant, especially for a teenage defenseman just trying to stick around in his first NHL camp as long as he can.
As an 18-year-old Hamilton has to go back to his junior team (Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League) if he doesn’t make the big club. With Boston’s veteran depth on defense and his need to continue to grow and gain experience, he figures to be back in the OHL within the next few weeks.
The butterflies in Hamilton’s stomach have come and gone over the course of the last week since he first reported for rookie camp and then moved on to main camp.
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“I don’t know, it kind of changes. You kind of get used to things and then a new challenge comes up,” he said. “It’s definitely been good and I’ve come a long way with everything. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at I just want to keep doing well and try to stay here as long as I can.”
So far in training camp, Hamilton has impressed head coach Claude Julien in drills with his backwards skating and excellent vision. That has the bench boss excited about Hamilton’s prospects.
“He’s one of those guys — we talk about players that come back to camp and improve every year — well he’s one of those players that will certainly do that because he’s capable of putting [on] a little more muscle and a little bit more weight, and it certainly won’t affect his game,” said the coach. “He’s already a good, smooth skater. He sees the ice well, moves the puck well. He has a bit of the [Nicklas] Lidstrom quality of making easy passes and seeing the ice well and making the game look easy so he’s got some good qualities there that I think will bode well for him in the future.”
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Hamilton imagined what it would be like to battle in the corners with NHL players prior to arriving at camp. Now he’s been able to gauge how he stacks up and how much more work he has to put in.
“Obviously they’re men and older guys. I’m still 18. So I’m just trying to do my best,” he said. “I think I’m doing well and I’m pretty happy with that. It’s definitely different than the OHL, where guys are 160 pounds and you become one of the older guys and you can kind of push them around. Just moving forward in my career I want to be able to develop that and be able to do that.”
Hamilton is scheduled to make his NHL exhibition game debut Wednesday night in Ottawa in the Bruins’ opener. Other notables scheduled to be in the lineup: Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly (who all sat out the scrimmage), newly acquired Benoit Pouliot and second-year standout Tyler Seguin. … Defenseman Joe Corvo was the only casualty of the scrimmage. He left with what the Bruins called a “mild lower-body injury.” He’s day-to-day. … Julien said Chara is still recovering from the contusion his leg suffered in practice Monday.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com. He operates TheBruinsBlog.net and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets.