Ryan Spooner got his first taste of life in the National Hockey League last season.
It was a brief sample, only four games with the Boston Bruins. He didn’t register a point. But now he wants to turn that fleeting experience into a more long-term career, as training camp looms closer every day.
Spooner came to the Bruins as a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Having an everyday impact in Boston appears to be a difficult feat for the 21-year-old center.
As Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen points out, there are four well-established NHLers ahead of Spooner, including Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly, and Gregory Campbell.
Though it’s worth pointing out that Campbell is coming off a broken leg, suffered when he blocked an Evgeni Malkin slap shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I think the only thing for me to do in camp is play my game and just try to open some eyes, show them that I’m ready to play,” Spooner told the Ottawa Citizen on Thursday.
“I think if I do that, hopefully they’ll make a spot for me.
“If not, I’d be upset going back to Providence to play, but it’s a great league down there, too, and the coaching staff is great, so I can learn a lot of stuff down there.”
The Boston Bruins tweaked their front office on Tuesday, and while the moves will mainly make an impact behind the scenes, you might know a couple of the names.
To start things off, they promoted Wayne Gretzky’s brother Keith to director of amateur scouting, helping to fill the void of recently fired scouting head Wayne Smith. Keith Gretzky has piled up quite a bit of scouting experience. He began with a scouting position as a part of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001, eventually becoming their director of amateur scouting in 2006.
(Unfortunately, many writers still insist on noting that he’s Wayne Gretzky’s brother. Poor guy.)
The team also added former Bruins player P.J. Axelsson (pictured) as a European scout and Keith Sullivan as an amateur scout. Axelsson played 11 seasons for Boston, last playing for the B’s in 2008-09.
Sullivan spent four seasons as a scout for the Coyotes and one with the Winnipeg Jets.
Update: TSN’s Bob McKenzie was told there’s “no truth” to the Bruins signing Theodore, which agent Don Meehan backed up to Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press.
For a while, it looked like inexperienced netminder Chad Johnson might be Tuukka Rask’s backup in Boston. While it’s by no means a done deal, TVA Sports reports that the Bruins are closing in on a one-year contract with veteran goalie Jose Theodore.
The pact is expected to fall somewhere between $800K and $1 million, according to the report.
Theodore, 36, has 648 regular season games under his belt, including a particularly injury-prone and difficult 2013 season with the Florida Panthers. He generated nice numbers as a backup in Florida and Minnesota the previous two seasons, however, so he could very well provide Rask with a nice safety net.
(He also has a Hart Trophy on his resume.)
It’s unclear what this means for Johnson if this deal does come to fruition. He has a one-way deal worth $600K, so perhaps the Bruins will be comfortable stashing him in the AHL.
Then again, Theodore faced some serious injury problems last season, so Johnson might still receive reps at the NHL level this season.
Rask’s quietly effective 2013 backup Anton Khudobin signed with the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this summer.
When Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton’s current contract expires next summer, he’ll be 37. Thornton told CSNNE.com that he won’t be riding off into the sunset if he has it his way, though.
“I’m going to play until they rip the skates off of me, and tell me that I can’t anymore,” Thornton said on Monday. “I’m aware of how old I am, but I definitely don’t feel it. I’ve been fairly consistent over the last few years, I think. People probably have varying opinions about that, but I’ll continue to do everything I can do to show up in good shape.”
(Don’t feel bad if you picture someone trying to literally rip Thornton’s skates off. Bonus points if you imagine Thornton sticking his feet up in the air to aid the process, much like a small child would.)
While Thornton has bounced around the NHL, he’s only had one significant run of games that didn’t come in a Boston Bruins uniform (He played 48 games for Anaheim in 2006-07 before becoming a regular with the B’s in 2007-08).
For a player with limited skills like Thornton, approaching the 500 regular season games played mark is a nice accomplishment, but he’s clearly hungry for more.
With one play, Gregory Campbell epitomized what players will do to win in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Boston Bruins forward suffered a broken leg blocking an Evgeni Malkin slap shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Campbell, in extreme pain, somehow struggled to his feet and finished his penalty-killing shift before hobbling off the ice.
The Bruins’ fans, in appreciation, began chanting ‘Camp-bell! Camp-bell!‘ Courageous as it was, the injury forced him out of the playoffs.
However, as Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reports, Campbell is “…on track to be ready for the start of training camp next month.”
“He was in town a couple of weeks ago, and he borrowed my car because he’s too cheap to go out and rent one,” Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton CSNNE.com.
“He looks pretty good. He’s up walking around, and he said that he’s working out. He looks good, so I’m hoping he’s ready to go at the start of camp.”