Thoughts from Day 3 of Bruins Development Camp

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WILMINGTON, Mass. – Here are some thoughts and observations from Day 3 of Bruins Development Camp with the coaching staff having broken up the goalies, forwards and defensemen into three different practice groups:

1) Love the battle drills with the position players in both the forward and defensemen sessions. You can see players like Justin Hickman and Anton Blidh that really enjoy the contact and competition, and other players like Brandon Tanev that were shying away when things got a little rough. You’ve got to relish the contact if you’re going to be somebody that’s anybody in the Bruins organization. The most enjoyable battle drills took place in the final session when 6-foot-4 Robbie O’Gara and 6-foot-5 Brandon Carlo were paired up together, and charged with keeping the other one from getting off any shots from in front of the net. Neither of the towering D-men shied away from the battle, and both got some good shots in the multiple times they faced off against each other. Given his size and skating ability, Carlo looks like a keeper.

2) Saw some of the athleticism, skill, hands and coordination for Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson on display during the tip drills in the forward session. He seemed to have the most ease redirecting point shots into the net with textbook tips while so many of his fellow forwards seemed to really have trouble with the very fundamental skill. Some of it may have just been fatigue, but some of the B’s prospects need to work on standing in front of the net and tipping pucks. It’s easy for me to say, of course, but still very true all the same.

3) Cameron Hughes is just 18 and he was just a sixth round pick last month, but the Bruins might have something there. He’s heading into his sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin, and I noticed him quite a bit in all of the drills over the last few days. He’s got good speed and decent puck possession for a 6-foot, 163-pounder, and wasn’t overmatched physically despite his smaller size and youthfulness.

4) Anton Blidh has enjoyed a very good development camp. He’s got some scrappiness to his game, and has added some size and strength to his frame over the last year. His compete level was high in the battle drills, and the offensive skill level is starting to come through now that he’s physically able to compete with the other players in camp.

5) Sean Kuraly, the NCAA player the Bruins got back in the trade that sent Martin Jones to San Jose, looks like he’ll be able to stick in the organization. He’s bigger than expected, and has some decent puck skills around the net for a player with a mostly defensive reputation. What a deal that will be for Don Sweeney if they get a lottery first round pick and a potential depth center in Kuraly in exchange for a goalie in Martin Jones that may, or may not, be the goaltending answer for the Sharks.

6) Zach Senyshyn got knocked around a bit physically in some of the battle drills, but that’s to be expected for a young player that’s still got some maturing to do with his body. The speed is very noticeable in everything he does, however, and you can’t teach that.

7) Yale forward Frank DiChiara looks like a football tight end (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) in hockey equipment, but actually moves around pretty nimbly for a big-bodied forward. He’s been one of the better non-drafted camp invites this week along with BU defenseman Brien Diffley.

8) I haven’t really noticed first-round pick Jake DeBrusk all that much in the first three days of camp, and it’s pretty clear that Jakob Zboril will have some conditioning work to be done when he gets home to the Czech Republic. He said that an MCL sprain at the world championships interrupted his conditioning work, and he should be able to get back up to speed now that he’s feeling 100 percent again. The knees might be something to watch with Zboril as he said his dad’s promising basketball career in the Czech Republic was wiped out by a pair of bad knees.

9) The camp will end on Friday with a scrimmage set for 10:15 am at Ristuccia Arena that will be a bit of a treat for the coaches, players, fans and media after three long days of on-ice sessions and off-ice work that included bowling, going to see U2 at TD Garden and rowing with the Harvard Crew team after Thursday’s practice sessions.

 

 

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