All systems go for Carlo as he enters camp fully healthy

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BRIGHTON, Mass – There was good news, good news and more good news when it comes to Brandon Carlo at the first open day of Bruins captain’s practice.

Carlo has been skating pretty regularly for a couple of months after undergoing surgery for a fractured left ankle suffered at the end of last year’s regular season, and pronounced himself ready to go without limitations for Bruins training camp. That’s certainly exciting news for the Bruins after dearly missing his size, strength and steadiness during the postseason, and it’s an encouraging development for Carlo as he aims to stay healthy wire-to-wire this upcoming season.

“I’m feeling really good. It just took a little time to heal per the doctor’s orders. I felt like I was on that scooter forever…a little bit longer than I wanted to be,” said Carlo, who had six assists in 76 games along with a plus-10 rating last season. “As soon as I got back on the ice it hurt initially, but now that we’re really getting into it feels really good.

“I’m expecting to be full contact everything at camp, and feeling good and confident about that. I feel like [the injuries] are just kind of a coincidence, and I feel like coming back stronger this season is going to help me in all those situations.”

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Clearly that will be one of Carlo’s biggest goals after late season injuries robbed him of the playoff experience in each of his first two NHL seasons. But the 21-year-old also spoke pretty openly about the improvements that he’s really looking to make to his own game after two important years of on-the-job training at the NHL level.

“Certainly there are things that every player is looking to get better at, or improve, with each upcoming season. You see it a lot with the younger guys, but even Zdeno Chara is looking for ways to improve despite all that he’s accomplished at the NHL level,” said Carlo. “I want to improve a lot of things in my game. For me I think it’s about playing a little grittier and just being a bit more sure of myself in all situations.

“I also want to be able to leave the mistakes behind quickly when they do come. That’s something as a young guy that I think you have to learn a little bit. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and I’m damn excited about this year.”

It will be interesting to see how Boston’s back end competition shakes out with eight legitimate NHL D-men under contract entering this season, but regular playing time shouldn’t be an issue for a talented young guy like Carlo. It seemed like the 6-foot-5, 203-pounder was just hitting his stride when injury struck at the end of last season, and a healthy Carlo will bring back the stout defense/puck-moving presence that Boston sorely missed as the postseason rolled on.

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