Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bruins Development Camp: Time Will Tell

Saturday, July 12th 2008
Wilmington, MA

Across the street from Ristuccia Memorial Arena, the AMHL Photographer and I are at Dunkin’ Donuts, waiting for our food order.

“That’s a perfect clock for you” she says, directing my gaze to the wall behind me.

The chronometer features orange and fuchsia letters forming in a circle: DUNKIN DONUTS. The little hand is almost on the D where a 9 would be, the big hand on the D where the 12 would be.

The last day of development camp starts at 9:30, so my wife and I get our order to go…to join the other fans at Ristuccia.

Inside the arena, others in the gathering crowd are enjoying their morning coffees as professional hopefuls take the ice.

A few observations:

-Michael Hutchinson is dressed like he’s the Bonavista (NL) lighthouse. Red and white stripes run down his leg pads, and protecting his head is a glowing red bulb that rivals Rudolph’s nose. Hutch may look like a lighthouse, but he’s as quick as a cat this morning in the early drills.

-St. Stephen (NB) native, former Bruin defenseman, and Director of Player Development Don Sweeney (pictured above) is running the show. Chocolate Town’s favourite son looks as slim as a Thin Mint as he barks instructions to his charges.

-In one-on-one drills, defenseman Denis Reul pressures forward Levi Nelson, but the huge blueliner can’t contain the determined attacker from firing once—zinging the puck off the post—and then from collecting the rebound to shoot again. This time Nelson nicks the other post but doesn’t score

-The AMHL Photographer likes the sound of Maxine Sauve’s name. I like his speed and hustle. The forward from Boisbriand (QC) skirts around a D-man and then puts the puck past the goalie. Without stopping, Sauve continues the drill, charging back down the ice on a back-checking assignment. Sauve reaches his target, and then rubs him out of the play. A defenseman’s dream come true!

I’m not the only defenseman in the crowd, which I estimate at 600. Behind me is a fellow who skates in the Top Shelf Hockey League in Hudson (NH). He won’t make it to the NHL or even lead his league in goals (remind you of any hockey writers you know?), but he’s good on the power play. The All Day Power Play.

If you’d like to join him and other players in a pick-up hockey marathon, held on July 26-27 to benefit the Nashua Children’s Home, please visit All Day Power Play’s Web site today.

Back on the ice, the developing Bruins participate in a spirited scrimmage. Will any of them make it to the Show this year? Or next? Or ever? Time will tell.
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