Last year the Boston Bruins went from being the beasts of
the East to an “also ran”. Gone from last season are head coach Robbie
Ftorek, veteran defenseman and fan favorite Don Sweeney, and any hope that
maybe, just maybe, the Bruins could win it all in spite of upper management. In
are new head coach Mike Sullivan, goaltender Felix Potvin, and a bunch of holes
to fill, including possible holdouts in Sergei Samsonov and Nick Boynton. Looks
like business as usual down on Causeway Street.
The Bruins, with the exception of adding Potvin, did
nothing to fill any of their holes with experienced players, giving the fans the
perception that either they are getting cheaper than usual, or they want to give
the young studs in the system a shot at some major playing time. If you go with
the latter explanation, then this year’s training camp could become a major
battle among young players. The first, third, and fourth lines seem set, but the
second line is still up in the air with no less than six contenders among the
prospects. Defensively, with the loss of up and coming youngster Jonathan Girard
for the entire year and possibly beyond due to a car accident, and the contract
situations of Nick Boynton and Bryan Berard up in the air, the team could also
see some major injection of youth on the blueline as well.
The Bruins released their 2003 Training Camp roster this
week. Below are the prospects
invited to camp:
Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Thoresen*, Robert Liscak, Carl
Corazzini, Benoit Mondou, Brett Nowak, Chris Paradise, Josh Prudden*, Yan
Stastny, Nate Thompson, Kris Vernarsky, Sergei Zinovjev
Greg Barber, Jan Kubista, Colton Orr, Martin Samuelsson,
Adam Smyth*, Brendan Walsh*
Mike Gellard, Andy Hilbert, Matt Hubbauer*, Ivan Huml,
Pat Leahy, Masi Marjamaki, Steve Slonina*, Patrik Valcak, Darren Van Oene
John Cronin, Kevin Dallman, Milan Jurcina, Zdenek Kutlak,
Jay Leach*, Tuukka Makela, PJ Martin*, Peter Metcalf, Shaone Morrisonn, Kevin
Mike Brown, Peter Hamerlik, Andrew Raycroft, Hannu
*Invited on tryout basis
Of the invitees, the name that jumps out is Patrick
Thoresen, the young center from Norway who spent last year in Baie-Comeau of
the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and placed third in points with 108
overall. Despite a lot of hype, he went undrafted and will be playing to earn a
contract. If he can show the Bruins the talent that made him one of the top
junior players the last two years, then this could be a great pick up.
Out of the Bruins ten players drafted in 2003, six will
be making an appearance at training camp. The highest of those picks, Patrice
Bergeron, should be one to watch. Compared by Bruins management to Adam
Oates, he will most likely return to his junior team this year but with no
definitive number two center on the team, perhaps he has a chance. Masi
Marjamaki and his feisty play should also be interesting to watch.
Making the trip over from Europe for the first time is Sergei
Zinovjev, who signed this offseason and is expected to make a strong run at
the second line center position, and Tuukka Makela, the Finnish
defenseman who has a reputation as a crease clearer, something the Bruins system
is lacking. Also signing this off-season was goaltender Hannu Toivonen,
who should split time in Providence with recently resigned Tim Thomas.
Absent from this list are two of the Bruins top three
defensive prospects, Mark Stuart (Colorado College) and Lars Jonsson (Sweden
leagues). But even without them, this is still a great wealth of talent to come
out and watch in Wilmington this year.
If you would like to get a look at the Bruins of the
future you can visit Ristuccia Exposition Center in Wilmington, Massachusetts
next week as rookie camp kicks off the season.
Rookie Camp Schedule
Sunday, September 7th
11:00am – 12:00pm Team Black
12:00pm – 1:00pm Team White
Monday, September 8th
11:00am – 1:00pm Scrimmage
Tuesday, September 9th
11:00am – 1:00pm Scrimmage
Wednesday, September 10th
11:00am – 12:00pm Team White
12:00pm – 1:00pm Team Black
Ristuccia is located at 190 Main Street in Wilmington,
just past Wilmington Plaza (set back behind a pharmacy and a supermarket). For
more information and directions to Ristuccia please follow these links.
The veterans will join the youngsters on September 11th.