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Chiarelli On Toucher & Rich: Bourque, Hamilton Impressive As Season Approaches

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General Manager of the Boston Bruins Peter Chiarelli. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

General Manager of the Boston Bruins Peter Chiarelli. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – With the hockey season just a few days away, the Boston Bruins are starting to round out their lineup.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Wednesday morning, and shed some light on a few players that will likely be with the club Saturday night when the B’s open things up against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden.

The Bruins took on the Providence Bruins in a inter-squad scrimmage Tuesday night, falling to the Baby B’s 7-5. But in that game, forward Chris Bourque netted a goal and two assists, and with a strong week following a solid showing for Providence during the lockout, will likely claim his spot on the Bruins’ third line.

“He’s a gritty kid that can shoot the puck. His knock is his size and skating, but he played well last night and he’s played well in practice,” Chiarelli said of Bourque, the son of Bruins’ great Ray Bourque. “He has some left shot skill. That one year we got (Mark) Recchi, we added left shot skill and it really opens up the right side of the offensive zone on the power play.”

Listen: Tuukka Rask On Toucher & Rich

Bourque figures to be one of the changes to the Bruins power play in the 2013 season. After their man-advantage units have struggled for the past two seasons, head coach Claude Julien and his staff have changed things up a bit in hopes of sparking the two units.

“I think the biggest change is that we spread it out a little laterally,” said Chiarelli. “In the second unit we have Bourque and Dougie Hamilton on the right half wall – that’s been an interesting change. The plays are coming from the right side, so to speak. On the other power play, you have (David) Krejci, who is a right shot,  on the right wall — which isn’t conventional but it opens up more passing lanes for him — and Seguin on the other half wall that opens up one-timers. We’ve opened up the flow of plays to the right side. It’s something the coaching staff has been working on, and practice has been pretty good.”

As for rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton, he figures to be in Boston to start the season, and received some high praise from the Boston GM for his efforts in Tuesday night’s scrimmage.

“Dougie is a very good player; a mature player for his age,” said Chiarelli. “It’s tough for a defenseman to come into the NHL. There is more responsibility, more assignments and the exposure is greater. If you saw the game last night, he had a really good first period, stumbled a bit in the second – I think he fumbled some pucks and the speed got to him a bit –but I thought he had a strong third.”

When asked who Hamilton compares to, Chiarelli said the 19-year-old is a cross between Hall of Famer Larry “Big Bird” Robinson and 21-year NHL veteran and Stanley Cup champ Rob Blake.

“He’s rangy, he has a good shot. I don’t know if he has a hip check like Rob Blake, but he’s a very good skater, sees the ice well, and good defensively,” said Chiarelli. “I see a lot of common traits with those two players.”

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The Bruins did not look great on Tuesday night, but Chiarelli expects to see that from every team in the NHL when the season gets underway after such a short training camp.

“You’re going to see a lot of ups and downs. If you watched closely last night, on the Bruins side, there were a lot of fumbled pucks. Structurally there is a lot there, but execution there was a lot of fumbles,” he said. “League-wide… you’re going to see some games that aren’t that pretty to start; that’s just the reality of a shortened season and shortened camp.”

Also, find out what Chiarelli has seen from Nathan Horton so far in camp!

98.5 The Sports Hub is the only place to hear every game of the Boston Bruins season with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers. Pregame coverage begins 30 minutes before the puck drops, with Postgame coverage following each game.

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