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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 3:19 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins need Rask to continue being their hot hand

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins have had the luxury of a hot hand in net through two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Keeping goaltender Tuukka Rask ready to go with so much time off before the start of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday can be a bit of a challenge. But the Finnish phenom is adjusting to the week's rest so far.

"It's more, it's kind of weird, because [sometimes] you finish up a series and you think you're going to have three days off and you don't. You're still emotional and ready to play," Rask said after Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday. "But then you get three days off, four days off, you kind of just feel like it's training camp, we're just practicing here. But it obviously isn't.

"I think it's just a mental challenge to know how to relax, but still keep yourself focused and knowing the series will start soon and you have to be ready to go. It's definitely been a different week."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Jokinen mindful of Bruins' proficiency on faceoffs

PITTSBURGH -- Jussi Jokinen took a moment early Thursday afternoon to accuse many of the Boston Bruins of cheating.

That's OK. He admires them for it -- and takes pride in himself for being able to cheat too.

Boston leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs in faceoff percentage, having won 57.5 percent of its draws heading into the Eastern Conference Final, which begins 8 p.m. Saturday at Consol Energy Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Jokinen is Pittsburgh's best faceoff man at 63.9 percent in the postseason. He has appeared in six of the Penguins' 11 playoff games; of players who have taken at least 92 faceoffs this postseason, the Bruins have the top three players in the NHL.

Patrice Bergeron is winning 63.5 percent of his faceoffs, Chris Kelly 63.4 percent and Rich Peverley 63.0.

Talking with a smile and in a tone that was nothing but respect, Jokinen offered why those three are so successful.

"Lots of times, whoever's best on the faceoffs is whoever finds a way to cheat," Jokinen said. "Who cheats the most so they don't get thrown out.

"It's such a fine line finding out how much you can cheat -- some linesmen let you cheat a little more than others, and Bergeron is one of those guys who does that stuff pretty good and the linesmen let him do that stuff."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 2:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

NHL-caliber shot makes Pulock one to watch

TORONTO -- Simply put, defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings is a warrior.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone then a broken wrist, he impressed the scouts enough to earn the No. 12 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters.

"He does everything well," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's got the hardest shot I've seen in years. He's so smart. The thing that's even more impressive is I've seen him take seven or eight super hits -- body checks and hip checks -- laying guys into the boards. He's got all the tools to be a top pick."

Sullivan went as far as to say Pulock has an NHL-caliber shot right now.

"He's got one of the hardest shots not only in the Western Hockey League, but would have one of the hardest in the NHL," Sullivan said. "Don't laugh … it's that good."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Current lack of first-round pick doesn't daunt Wild

TORONTO -- Even though the Minnesota Wild doesn't have a first-round pick, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he isn't approaching the NHL Scouting Combine this week or the build-up to the 2013 NHL Draft any differently.

The Wild sent their first-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Jason Pominville trade. Minnesota's first selection will be in at No. 46 in the second round.

"You're always preparing because you never know what can happen between now and the draft," Fletcher told NHL.com. "Whether you make trades and maybe acquire an extra pick. Maybe you can package some picks and move up in the draft. We haven't focused on the top end of the draft as much, because realistically we're not going to pay to the price to get into that level. We're interviewing a lot of guys, as many as normal, and it's also a draft, too, with the depth of this draft, I think there's going to be a lot of variation on everyone's list between 15 and 40. And we expect at 46 to be looking at a player we have significantly higher than that on our list."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 1:02 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins work on some basics during light practice

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After two days off and two hard days on the ice, the Boston Bruins went through a lighter practice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena.

It’s been a challenge for the coaching staff to fill in all these days since the Bruins beat the New York Rangers last Saturday until the Eastern Conference Final starts this Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Practice on Thursday was part of dialing things down before the intensity picks up again Saturday.

"That's what we did today. We just did a couple drills and then we just wanted to work our power play today and penalty kill. So basically the bulk of the practice was 20 minutes," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Tambellini knows the drill at Scouting Combine

TORONTO -- It's pretty safe to assume that center Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Hockey League had a good idea what questions would be asked during team interviews at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.

As the son of former Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, the 6-foot-2.25, 169-pound left-handed shot had quite the advantage.

"We had a little demo going at home, and it was cool to hear what he had to say about it and what they're looking for because he used to be the one asking the questions," Tambellini told NHL.com, referencing his father. "It was nice to lean on him for some help, and I think it worked out."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:10 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Jordan Subban ready for his turn in Draft spotlight

TORONTO -- Belleville Bulls defenseman Jordan Subban has been hearing about NHL drafts for a long time -- going back to the 2006-07 season, when his oldest brother, P.K., was going through the process, including a trip to the Scouting Combine.

Last season Jordan got to watch his middle brother, Malcolm, go through it. Now, finally, it's Jordan's turn to meet with NHL teams, go through the fitness testing and enjoy a taste of the NHL draft experience.

"It's been exciting so far," Jordan told NHL.com. "I can't wait to get the testing going [Friday]."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 12:00 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Mantha hoping to continue family's winning tradition

TORONTO -- Anthony Mantha of the Val-d'Or Foreurs comes from a rich hockey background. His grandfather, Andre Pronovost, won the Stanley Cup four times with the Montreal Canadiens during a 10-season NHL career that started in 1956-57. Three great uncles -- Claude, Jean and Marel Pronovost -- played in the NHL.

Mantha led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 goals this season, so as he told NHL.com, "It's in the family."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 10:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Shinkaruk remains a confident leader

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk will enter the 2013 NHL Draft with an open mind, but he admits it's only natural for him to want to hear his name announced as early as possible.

"I'm not really out to set a number where I think I'm going to go, but obviously I want to go as high as possible in the first round," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "I feel like I've had three good years in Medicine Hat, and the scouts have seen me and know what I'm all about. I'd like to go in the No. 6-to-15 range at the draft, but a lot of things change on draft day. Either way, it'll be an exciting day for me and my family."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:03 PM

By Sean Monahan -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Sean Monahan Draft blog

Monahan set for fitness tests at Combine

Sean Monahan, NHL Central Scouting's No. 5-rated skater among the top draft-eligible prospects in North America, is a center for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2.25, 187-pound forward led his team with 31 goals, 47 assists, 15 power-play goals and 78 points in 58 games this season for the 67's. Monahan, who was voted among the top three players in four separate categories during the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll in March, has offered to maintain a blog during his stay in Toronto for the NHL Scouting Combine this week.

Hey everyone!

So, three days have passed at the Combine in Toronto and it's been great. Meeting the scouts and general managers has been very exciting. I think the advice that [former Ottawa defenseman Cody] Ceci and [former Oshawa forward Scott] Laughton gave me was a big help. With the interviews, I'm just trying to be myself. I'm enjoying the whole process of the meetings.

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He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter