Boston Bruins: Rookie Recap

By Shane Walsh

What does it really take to make it in the NHL? Heart? Determination? Skill? Patience?

Examining the Bruins young core of top prospects at the annual rookie tournament in Kitchener, Ontario last weekend, one gets an early impression of just how
hard these young guns are willing to work to fulfill their dreams of playing in the NHL.

The problem however, is that most of the Bruins young guns are shooting blanks!

“Nobody is really impressing me,” said Brad Davis a scout for the Edmonton Oilers. “Zdenek Kutlak is by far the best player on the ice for Boston, and he played a handful of games with the big club last year. That has to tell you of the caliber of players that are on the ice.”

Not all of Boston’s top prospects and invites were disappointing to watch all weekend. Carl Corazzini, a recent signing out of Boston University, impressed with his intense level of play.

“Carl’s
a guy who plays with heart,” said a Bruins scout who wished to remain anonymous.
“He shows up to play every night, and doesn’t take any shifts off. He’s a
great two-way forward who could be a big surprise at our main camp this fall.”

Invites
Ed Hill and Colton Orr both impressed with their high energy level of play.

“They don’t
come any more physical than Colton Orr,” said Davis. “Here’s a guy that transitioned
his game from defense to forward and did it successfully. Orr is the kind
of player that every team would love to have, but unfortunately because of
his skating, he may not get an opportunity to display what he can do at the
AHL or NHL levels.”

“Colton
Orr cannot keep up,” said a scout. “He’s very fun too watch, but his skating
will prevent him from adjusting to the American League level.”

“I don’t
think he’s missed a check all day,” said a laughing Bobby Orr. “He’s a really
tough kid who plays with a lot of emotion. People have been asking me all
day if he’s my son.”

“Ed Hill
is a great player,” said Bruins GM Mike O’Connell. “He has definitely earned
his invite to our main camp on Tuesday. He’s a talented player, and were happy
to have the opportunity to have a strong look at him.” Bruins Head Coach Robbie
Ftorek agreed. “Hill has looked really good out there. It will be nice to
watch him compete against our own guys back in Boston.”

Despite
the complete lack luster showing at the rookie tournament last weekend, the
organization does have some bright young talent waiting in the wings. Before
you sink too deep into the depths of despair, or take a deep breath for a
sigh of relief, be very aware. Here is a look at the Bruins’ top prospects
and invites that made an impact in last weekend’s rookie tournament…

#21
Shaone Morrisonn

Kamloops (WHL)
6’3″, 195 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Left
Born: Dec 23, 1982 in Vancouver, B.C.

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Shaone
Morrisonn is a two-way defenseman with decent upside. A solid skater with
good agility and lateral movement, he needs to work hard on stick handling
and puck control this season in Kamloops. Though he possesses a rocket for
a shot, he seems confused when to release it. His hockey sense and decision-making
are very questionable at this point. He is a non-intimidating factor on the
ice and needs to add 20-30 pounds to his frame. Should be considered as a
long-term project.

WILL:
Be returned to junior.

WONT:
Be in Boston anytime soon.


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#28 Bobby Allen

Boston College
(HE)
6’1″, 205 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Left
Born: Nov 14, 1978 in Braintree, Mass

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A mobile defenseman with excellent decision making skills, Allen is a complete
player with good hockey sense. Originally considered to be a two-way defenseman,
he has only shown the ability to play in the defensive zone. A solid
puck handler and passer, Allen has a tendency to pass the puck when he has
open ice to maneuver. Allen is clearly not ready to make the jump to Boston.
He could really benefit by playing a couple of years in Providence where he
can properly transition his game and get stronger along the boards and in
the corners.

WILL:
Play in Providence.

WONT:
Shoot the puck.

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#29 Andy
Hilbert

Michigan
(CCHA)
5’11″, 190 lbs.
Center, Shoots Left
Born: Feb 6, 1981 in Howell, Mi

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A specialist on the draw, Andy Hilbert is a creative playmaker and scorer
who may start the season in Boston. With Joe Thornton and John Emmons as the
only natural Centers with NHL experience on the roster, Hilbert’s opportunity
may arise due to a numbers game. Though he draws comparison to Chris Drury,
Hilbert is not ready for the NHL. His lack of size and strength make it easy
for opponents to knock him off the puck. His intensity level and consistency
must remain constant from shift to shift. Valuable time in Providence could
help the All Star Collegiate adjust his game.

WILL:
Pick the top corner if he’s got a shot.

WONT:
Win the Calder Trophy.


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Ivan Huml

Providence
(AHL)
6’2″, 195 lbs.
Left Wing, Shoots Left
Born: Sept 6, 1981 in Kladno, Czech Rep

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Give a man 20 extra pounds and he’ll give you an extra 200% in effort.
The new and improved Ivan Huml has come a long way since his rookie season
in Providence last year. Huml is skating like a freight train, trying to bulldoze
to the net through opponents. His physical play has completely emerged and
is always finishing his checks. His skating and hockey sense make him a threat
as a forchecker and penalty killer. Huml must continue to develop in Providence
for at least another season. His primary area of concern must be on shooting
the puck. He creates a lot of scoring chances for himself, but fails to capitalize
by taking low percentage shots.

WILL:
Play another season in Providence.

WONT:
Score 30 goals in 2001-02 in Providence.


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#39 Zdenek
Kutlak

Providence
(AHL)
6’3″, 207 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Left
Born: Feb 13, 1980 in Budejovice, Czech Rep.

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Zdenek Kutlak was the only player in the tournament who played 10 games
in the NHL last season. His exceptional play made him stick out like a sore
thumb, playing like a man among boys. He’s come a very long way in the last
12 months, playing with poise and confidence. A terrific skater with good
agility and balance, Kutlak has shown a willingness to rush the puck. His
physical play is really starting to blossom as he dominates along the boards
and in the corners.

WILL:
Compete for a roster spot in Boston.

WONT:
Be Ray Bourque’s replacement.


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#42
Carl Corazzini

Boston University
(HE)
5’10″, 170 lbs.
Center, Shoots Right
Born: April 21, 1979 in Framingham, Ma.

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The former Captain of the Boston University Terriers has showed early
that he can be a go-to-guy. With under a minute left in the final game at
last weekends rookie tournament, Corazzini had 2 solid scoring chances to
tie the game; cashing in on his second chance. The hard working two-way center
proved that he could be ready for NHL action immediately. A great skater with
good agility, his superb on ice vision make him an early candidate to fill
a void at center with the impasse existing with Jason Allison. A mature player
who loves to grind, Corazzini plays much bigger than his 5’10″ , 170
lbs. frame.

WILL:
Play with Heart.

WONT:
Quit.

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#53
Marcel Rodman

Peterborough
(OHL)
6’0″, 185 lbs.
Right Wing, Shoots Right
Born: Sept 25, 1981 in Jesenice, Slovenia.

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Boston’s last pick in the 2001 NHL draft plays with flair and passion.
He’s not a physical player, but will go to the net and capitalize on rebounds.
He is most effective in the offensive zone from the top of the circle in.
He’s not the player that you would want to carry the puck inside the offensive
zone or go into the corners to try and win the one-on-one battles. He’s known
for putting points on the board, and that’s what he’ll do. He was Boston’s
leading goal scorer at last weekends rookie tournament with 3 goals in 4 games.
A solid skater who has great offensive instincts and great offensive moves,
Rodman is easily intimidated and is lacking on the defensive side of the game.
Some may even compare his style to former Bruin Dmitri Kvartalonov. He is
eligible to play in Providence this season, and would benefit by doing so.

WILL:
Score Goals.

WONT:
Back Check.

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#63
Ed Hill

Barrie (OHL)
6’3″, 215 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Left
Born: Oct 24, 1980 in Newburyport, Ma.

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The former Nashville Predators prospect and 61st-overall choice in the
1999 Entry Draft, Ed Hill arrived at the Bruins rookie camp on a tryout agreement.
A hard nosed defensive defenseman, Hill does all the little things that usually
go unnoticed. A decent skater with excellent transitional skills, Hill is
a smart player who reads the breakout plays very well. An in your face style
of defenseman, he does a sound job of clearing traffic in front of the net
and containing the opposition along the boards. He’s a very unselfish player
always taking the body first and the puck second.

WILL:
Impress.

WONT:
Disappoint.

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#68
Milan Jurcina

Halifax
(QMJHL)
6’4″, 195 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Right
Born: June 7, 1983 in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia.

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A 7th round steal for the Bruins at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Milan
Jurcina really impressed with his superb level of play. Reminding many of
Zdenek Kutlak’s play at last years training camp, Jurcina may surprise and
be ready for AHL action as early as the 2003-2004 season. The towering Slovakian defenseman
showed moments of brilliance as the tournament unfolded. A great skater with
good hockey sense, Jurcina possesses a sound overall game. He must bulk up
30-40 pounds to his 6’4″ frame in order too be truly effective. With
time on his side, his continued development in the QMJHL will prepare him
for what lies a head at the AHL level.

WILL:
Play in the AHL in 2 years.

WONT:
Punish you till it hurts.

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#71 Jiri
Jakes

Brandon
(WHL)
6’3″, 210 lbs.
Right Wing, Shoots Left
Born: Oct 4, 1982 in Prague, Czech Rep.

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A composed player who doesn’t panic, Jakes is a gritty competitor who’s
very effective in front of the net. The physical aspects of the game do not
intimidate him as a European. He is the type of player that will sacrifice
himself to make the play. His shot from the slot is the hardest of all Bruin
prospects. He is a smart player with lots of talent and brute strength. His
skating is absolutely atrocious. He will have to elevate his skating stride
if he has any future plans of turning pro.

WILL:
Shoot the puck.

WONT:
Win a foot race.

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#73 Chris
Berti

Erie (OHL)
6’5″, 205 lbs.
Left Wing, Shoots Left
Born: Oct 6, 1981 in Scarborough, On

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A terrific skater for a player of his size, Chris Berti is a versatile
forward who can play all 3 forward positions. A tenacious hitter and competitor,
Berti thrives on physical play and doesn’t take stupid penalties. The knock
on Berti is that he does too much. His future with the Bruins will be solely
based on his physical attributes. He needs to simplify his game and focus
primarily on physical play. He has the potential to be a legit NHL heavyweight
if he realizes his potential and remains focused. He could afford to add an
additional 20-30 pounds to his 6’5″ frame.

WILL:
Stick up for teammates.

WONT:
Play with finesse.

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#75 Colton
Orr

Kamloops
(WHL)
6’3″, 210 lbs.
Left Wing, Shoots Right
Born: March 3, 1982 in Winnipeg, Man

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If there were only three words that could describe the style of play
of Colton Orr, those three words would be: Physical, Physical, Physical!

Arguably the best fighter in the Western Hockey League, Colton Orr joins
the Boston Bruins at training camp for the second straight year as an invitee.
Never missing the opportunity to flatten opponents with devastating hits,
Orr is an agitator who gets under the skin of his opponents. His hands are
made of stone, which is good for being a fighter, but bad for putting points
on the board. He is a terrible skater. His stride is weak and his foot speed
is null and void. With the loss of Ken Belanger, there remains a small chance
that Orr will get an opportunity to play in Boston this season.

WILL:
Hurt you.

WONT:
Make the grade.

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#76 Jaakko
Harikkala

Lukko Rauma
(Fin)
6’1″, 215 lbs.
Defense, Shoots Left
Born: March 30, 1981 in Kalanti, Finland

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The development of the once highly touted youngster has come
to a stand still. He only managed to play in 10 games last year with Lukko
Rauma because of an impasse with his head coach. His skill set is decent,
but his mind set is off. He was frequently caught out of position and his
physical play is not of North American standard. A solid skater with decent
agility, his puck control and shot accuracy could both use some work. Harikkala
was returned to Finland following the tournament, it is doubtful he will be
given a second opportunity to display his skills at another Bruins training
camp.

WILL:
Return to Europe.

WONT:
Be back in North America.

Rookie
camp invitees Scott Dickie, Derek Dolson, Blaine Down, Sean Nolan, Jeff
Szwez, Vincent Tougas and Dustin Wood
were not invited to Boston camp.