BOSTON -- Less than two weeks before they join the ranks of the National Hockey League, four of the top junior prospects heading into this year's NHL Draft came to TD Garden for a memorable afternoon before attending Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
The group -- consisting of defensemen Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads -- got to witness firsthand the magic and mania of hockey's biggest stage.
The prospects' whirlwind day in Boston wasn't nearly as strenuous as the recent NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, but it was almost as eventful. It started with the four prospects watching the morning skate for both the Blackhawks and Bruins, an experience that truly impressed on these four teenagers the level of skill and size they will be contending with in the NHL.
"Shawn Thornton's a pretty big guy, pretty scary looking, actually. [Milan] Lucic is a pretty big dude, as well," said MacKinnon, who won the Memorial Cup alongside Drouin on May 26. "Obviously [Zdeno] Chara is a machine. That guy probably plugs himself in at night and recharges that way. He's unbelievable."