PROSPECT PLAYOFF RECAP
It has been quite a run for the Bruins organization this postseason. The big club is set to begin its Eastern Conference finals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but everybody throughout the B’s system is getting a taste of playoff hockey this spring.
In Providence, the Baby B’s had one of their best seasons in recent years, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Providence posted a 47-21-0-5 record during the regular season and made it to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The B’s had a 3-0 lead in the series, but eventually fell 5-0 in the deciding game on May 20.
Despite the loss, Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney said he is proud of the year Providence had and the progress they made throughout the season.
“Providence had a terrific season,” said Sweeney of the B’s, who lost defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski to Boston during the series. “Sure we are all disappointed about not closing out a series where we had a 3-0 lead but we are not discouraged about the players’ performance and their growth as professionals.
“It was a very committed group of players and they responded very well to the coaching as they all worked to get better every day.”
Sweeney pointed to the call-ups of Krug and Bartkowski as an example of the depth the organization has built in the minor league system.
“Bartkowski and Krug stepping into the [Boston] Bruins’ lineup and playing significant roles in helping to close out Toronto and then defeat the Rangers, is first and foremost a testament to the work by each player,” Sweeney said, “And secondly, to their development under [Providence coaches] Bruce Cassidy and Kevin Dean.
“Thirdly, it acknowledges all of the competition their teammates provided as they all pushed each other to get to NHL.”
The prospects down in Providence weren’t the only ones to have success in the playoffs. Seth Griffith and the London Knights captured the Robertson Cup in the OHL Championship beating Anthony Camara and the Barrie Colts in Game Seven. The Knights fell in the semifinals of the Memorial Cup. Malcolm Subban and the Belleville Bulls were defeated the Colts in the conference finals of the OHL championship, while Matt Benning and the Dubuque Fighting Saints captured the Clark Cup with an overtime win over the Fargo Force.
“Playoff hockey experience is so valuable to a player’s development because the highs and lows of pressure packed and intense situations cannot be replicated in any other fashion,” Sweeney explained. “It is great to see our player’s make the sacrifices necessary and work towards the ultimate team goal: winning.”
BRUINS DEVELOPMENT CAMP PRIMER
One of the highlights of the summer for the Bruins organization is Development Camp. The camp is just a few weeks away and many of the Black & Gold’s prospects and newest draft picks will be descending on Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington to get a taste of what it’s like to play in the NHL.
“Development Camp is an exciting time for everyone in the organization because it brings a peer group together that provides a glimpse into potential Bruins’ roster members,” said Sweeney. “Every player is being discussed in terms of a progression from last year’s camp or because they have been just drafted or signed as a free agent: how quickly can they make an impact in the group?”
Learning what it’s like to take a leadership role will be one of the most important parts of the week.
“We always encourage players returning to Development Camp to increase their comfort level as far as taking a larger leadership role,” Sweeney said. “[Anthony] Camara, [Brian] Ferlin and [Zane] Gothberg should feel confident to aid in making others in the group feel comfortable.
“[Seth] Griffith, [Malcom] Subban, [Matt] Grzelcyk, [Rob] O’ Gara and Matt Benning should also have a better understanding of what to expect during the week. [Matthew] Lindblad and [Chris] Casto played in Providence, so despite just signing with the Bruins, they have played games for the coaches in Providence and they will be able to lead in on-ice drills.”