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Bruins Rookie Camp Opens

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Following Day 1 of Boston Bruins rookie camp 2011, Assistant General Manager Jim Benning was asked when he opened his post-practice availability on Friday afternoon was facetiously asked who was going to make the team.

Rookie camp is underway.
There was a chuckle in the gathered media, but Benning did give a good report about his prospects' prospects.

"Well the guys all showed up in good shape," said Benning. "The guys that were at development camp, they put in the work the last couple of months and they all look good.

"So I mean, we’ll see. They’ll play their exhibition games on the Island and we’ll decide who comes to main camp from there."

This morning the new B's did their preseason fitness testing.

"The testing results were all excellent," said Benning. "All the kids came in good shape -- that’s a positive."

Also positive was the showing for 2011 first round draft pick Dougie Hamilton.

"He looked real good today I thought he’s skating well," said Benning of the defenseman. "From the summer he weighed in at 188 and was 194 today so he put on 5-6 lbs of muscle.

"He’s a young player and he’ll continue to get stronger and bigger. He’s going to be a good player, it’s just going to be a matter of time with him."

The learning curve might be a little shorter for forwards Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner, who, along with Hamilton attended their country's World Junior development camps (Hamilton and Spooner for Canada, Knight for the United States) this past summer.

"I think it helps them," he said. "Anytime you can play for your country, represent your country, it’s exciting. And you’re playing against the best players in the world. So for those guys to be involved in those camps being with the best players it’s only going to make them better.

"So it’s good for them and it’s good for our organization, that they’re getting their opportunity to go to those camps and to see where they stand and hopefully make those teams."

Benning was asked if the current crop of skaters represents an upgrade in prospects coming through the B's pipeline.

"Well I think we have good depth this year for sure," he said. "Every year that we’re here we’re able to add more, depth-wise.

"[Calle] Ridderwall came in, his number’s were excellent...and he looks like a guy he’s come in good shape and wants to know the people and the organization so he looks good. [Carter] Camper, the same thing.

"You know, we’ll see," added Benning. "It’s a big step from playing junior hockey, playing college hockey to coming to their first camp or second camp and seeing where they stack up against, first of all, with the younger guys [and] the younger guys from other teams and then going to main camp and then if they’re able to play in the exhibition game.

"So it’s a learning process for them. I think they put themselves in a position to show us what they can do so that’s a good thing."

As far as actually making the NHL's Boston Bruins, Benning was pragmatic.

"All the players are going to be given a fair opportunity in these [rookie] exhibition games coming up," he said. "And from there the guys we feel deserve to be at main camp will be invited to main camp.

"So we’re going to sit down after these games and decide who deserves to come and if you put on a good showing and you do the work you’re going to get to come." 
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