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Bear Essentials: NHL Draft Countdown

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Monday, June 16, 2008

8:21 a.m.

And we're baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Just when you thought hockey was in a seriously slow summer slumber, here comes the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Although it gets slight media coverage below the border, these two days in June can make or break a franchise in the coming season and could have far reaching and lasting impact in distant campaigns.

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
8:58 a.m.
As you are reading the above and sipping your morning coffee, don't forget to head over to

The National Hockey League Communications Department launched, as a 'one-stop shopping' website that provides in-depth profiles on players from around the world who have been ranked for the upcoming Draft by the League's Central Scouting Bureau.

In-depth profiles on North American skaters ranked in the first round, as well as the top-ranked goaltenders and European skaters, are active on the site and include information about the players both on and off the ice, central scouting reports, video features, newspaper stories as well as photos on the NHL's future stars.
9:12 a.m.
Also, there is a generic page for the draft, as well.

I would be remiss if I did not point you guys over to for the noontime chat with Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. Click here to register and chat with the GM.

10:57 a.m.
Larry Robinson runs into Bob Sweeney.
I just ran into Bob Sweeney.

In point of contrast to the relative hoopla (particularly in Canada) surrounding the NHL Entry Draft, Sweeney, the Boston Bruins Foundation Director of Development, said that he learned about his being Boston Bruins' 6th round choice, 123rd overall in 1982, the morning after he was drafted.

"I was at home," said Sweeney from his office in the TD Banknorth Garden. "I was reading the paper and I think a reporter called me and told me that I had been drafted by the Bruins."

Hoopla or no, Sweeney said it was a dream come true.

"It was obviously huge," said Bob. "To play hockey and have the opportunity to be drafted by your hometown team is something special that you dream about as a kid when you were skating on the ponds.

"When the B's were winning Stanley Cups you were pretending to be Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito or (Gerry Cheevers) in net.

"It was a dream come true to even get drafted by them," he said.

But the reality of the situation was that Sweeney had a lot of work ahead -- at Boston College.

"I fully realized that I was going on to BC," said Sweeney, who played four seasons on The Heights (with 78 goals and 74 assists for 152 points). "I was nowhere near ready physically or mentally to make a jump to the NHL, so I went to Boston College.

"Four years later, I had the opportunity to wear the Black & Gold, which finally made all the hard work, and the hours that my parents put into my dream, a reality.

"That was special," he said.

Sweeney said that the first person he spoke to from the B's was the late Boston scout John Carlton.

"He was a scout that really liked me for the Bruins," he said, "and (B's alumni and long time front office staffer) Tom Johnson told me that (Carlton) pushed hard for me in the draft room. Several other people have told me that same story, that he liked the way I played, and I was thankful to him that he was in my corner.

"I never really got to meet Mr. Carlton in person, but I am thankful that he was pushing for me on draft day."

Incidentally, the Bruins honor the late Mr. Carlton by presenting a trophy in his name to the outstanding student-athlete in Eastern Massachusetts high school hockey.

But as far as a party that Sunday back in 1982, Sweeney said there was nothing too exciting going on.

"I was probably just hanging out at the house, no special celebration really," he said.
I know what will make Bob celebrate, today -- a gift to the Boston Bruins Foundation. Click here for more info on the good works that happen thanks to the Foundation and some terrific upcoming events. JB

A future draftee?
11:33 a.m.
Speaking of young hockey players, the Bruins Street Brigade made another stop on Friday -- this time at the West Roxbury YMCA.

As you may know, throughout the year, Street Brigade serves to introduce children throughout Massachusetts through street hockey.

The Bruins, in coordination with NHL Street, donate complete sets of street hockey equipment to centers and youth programs throughout Massachusetts.

Since 1994 NHL Street has donated several million dollars of street hockey equipment and instruction guides to local schools and recreation centers in NHL and minor league markets across the U.S. and Canada.

Through this fully funded network of structured youth recreational programs, over a million kids, ages 6-16, have learned the fun and joy of hockey, free of charge.

You can learn more about NHL Street, here.

1:03 p.m.
Peter Chiarelli just finished a pretty informative and entertaining chat over at

"We will be a better team this coming year," said the GM as he finished the chat. "I am really excited getting the year started."

I agree with that wholeheartedly.

I am sure NESN will have the transcript up soon -- certainly worthwhile.

Scott Bradley
2:35 p.m.
I just got off the phone with Scott Bradley, the Boston Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting. Thankfully, I caught him as he prepared to head up to Ottawa for the Bruins scouting meetings prior to the NHL Entry Draft.

A little background on Scott – he's entering his 16th season in the Bruins organization and his 12th as the club's Director of Amateur Scouting. In that position, he oversees the efforts of the team's amateur scouting staff in addition to scouting those North American and European players eligible for the annual NHL Entry Draft.

A native of British Columbia, he played part of one season as an American Hockey League goaltender and then coached for five seasons with the Tier II Junior A and Senior AAA League teams in Abbotsford, BC, including an Allan Cup championship squad in the 1989-90 season.

He served for three seasons as a scout for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds before joining Boston's scouting staff on a full-time basis during the 1993-94 season, concentrating on draft-eligible players from the western region of the United States and Canada.

Speaking with him on the phone from Vancouver, the always-amiable Scott took some time to give us some insight into his week.

"We are going to meet as a managerial staff on Wednesday, and that will involve pro scouting (as well)," said Bradley. "(We'll go over) scenarios with the pro staff, and then we'll convene with the amateur staff in the evening and on Thursday."

The intention of that preparation, and indeed all the preparation that goes on all year, is to eliminate -- as best as possible -- the guesswork.

"We'll have a pretty good idea of what we want to do, and what Peter (Chiarelli) wants to do after we meet intensely for those two days with both sides (of the scouting staff)," explained Scott. "We'll discuss what's on Peter's plate, if he has anything going, and we'll go right until Thursday evening, until late Thursday night.

"Hopefully, it will all be set in stone."

But, as Bradley said, "We don't dictate the draft -- it dictates us."

So, preparation and hard work (sound familiar?) is the only way to be ready for the big day.

"The preparation is something we do all year and coordinate," said Bradley. "The thing that is nice is that we all get together here, this last week, and we strategize and make sure we have our I's dotted and our T's crossed….Under Peter it's gotten more detailed and we're ready for a lot of different scenarios.

"It's just hard work, and that is instilled in everyone in the organization, and that is what we are looking for in players, too…being ready for anything."

That being said, beyond the hard work, the whole process is fun.

"It's probably one of my favorite times of the year," he said. "This is a big time of the year for what we do, and it's more exciting after coming off a pretty good year and making the playoffs.

"Getting into the 16th hole…we think we are going to get a player."

A player.

What exactly does that mean in terms of a prospect's chances of wearing the Black & Gold on Garden ice? What qualities exemplify a young Bruin and make him stand out from the rest of his peers?

"I think will and determination," said Bradley in quick succession. "I think will and determination -- character -- goes a long way alongside goal scoring capability or the puck movement capability or skating.

"And a will to win.

"A character that accepts nothing less than winning," he continued.

Determining the character of a potential pick has become an important part of the evaluation as a hockey skill set over the years.

"It's a combination," said Bradley. "Character is a huge part of the equation -- huge."

Meanwhile, other exciting times will happen shortly for Scott Bradley and the scouts as Bruins Development Camp and Training Camp will quickly show the fruits of their labor.

"I like Training (and Development) Camp just as much," said Bradley. "You get to see the new faces in the camp and see them step on the ice as a Bruin.

"This is're watching the kids take their first baby steps."

Let's hope those kids follow in the same footsteps as Mr. Lucic and Mr. Bergeron and the like.
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