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Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy Development Camp Day Four Transcript

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
On how the guys are holding up physically…

Well pretty good, I mean it’s a fairly young group. I think other than Malcolm [Subban], I don’t think any of them are going to turn pro. Obviously that could change. I thought the pace was – we haven’t scrimmaged much, it’s tough with 20 guys, we go through that every year, how much we do it. So it’s never really a point of emphasis but I thought today they kept up the pace okay for 15-20 minutes. You know, the ice because of the time of year gets a little slushy as well. So I think they are doing okay.

On if anyone has stood out to him…
Well he [David Pastrnak] clearly, there’s a reason he’s a first round draft pick. He’s got all kinds of skills, he’s got a – he reminds me a little bit of when Tyler [Seguin] was here at his first development camps again. And Alexander Semin I had years ago, those quick guys that can really shoot it off without a lot of time or wasting a lot of time and make those little tight area plays. You know, [Ryan] Fitzgerald is on the puck, he’s a guy that likes to hunt it. Then you see a young guy like [Ryan] Donato that in space you can see he can make plays. The question is going to be when the pace picks up and in less space will he be able to do the same things. And it’s always until that day comes you don’t know. Some of the defenseman I thought today you’re getting to see them transition a bit. Like a guy like Robbie O’Gara, he came in, is a big guy and always thought was more of a defensive guy, he made some nice plays out there. So he’s not afraid to get up and dish the puck. I think that’s the way the game is going, you have to have defenseman who can move the puck. He’s tall, kind of lanky, defender, he’s got some puck skills. I guess those are the guys that come to mind right away. [Linus] Arnesson looked better in a game sort of format than sort of some of the practice drills, he’s a good hockey player as well.

On if he can tell if a player hasn’t skated much in a few months…
No I think where it would show is in his endurance. It’ll fall off quicker if you haven’t been on the ice you know the muscles just aren’t trained again. But these guys with young legs, most of them can probably skate all day and he [David Pastrnak] looks like he’s one of them. He’s got a lot of jump, a lot of power in his stride and he can separate in a hurry. So interesting guy to watch, there is a lot of talent there.

On David Pastrnak falling down a lot…
Yeah he toe picks a lot, I don’t know what that is. I think he’s almost too fast for himself sometimes, I don’t know if his skates are a little worn I don’t get in to that stuff. I don’t know, again, so maybe he’s due for a new pair in August and he’s getting by on the old ones. But you're right, he does – his feet are so fast. I assume that there is something up either the ice gets a little slushy for him or maybe the top end of his steel’s worn off there.

On if he sees any Michael Nylander in David Pastrnak…
Yeah, you know, I coached Michael [Nylander] years ago in Washington and Michael wanted to hold the puck forever but then he’d eventually dish it. Whereas this kid looks like he’ll shoot or pass, you know what I mean? Whereas Michael was predominately a pass first type of guy and if he scored it was more deeking the goaltender. I don’t think he was crazy about shooting the puck from 25 feet whereas this kid seems to be able to wire it.

On Michael Nylander’s quick feet…
Yeah, Michael [Nylander] was one of the best guys I had seen at protecting the puck in tight spaces and he was about 172 pounds and he was just so quick.

On Ryan Spooner challenging for a spot...
Well he should challenge for a spot, there’s no doubt. Whether he gets one or not, some of it depends on his competition around him, if the Bruins fill up the roster a little more, etc. But he should be a guy that is one of the last cuts, if he’s a cut at all. He’s played two years, there’s been growth from this year to last year, epecially in the playoffs. He was the leading scorer in the playoffs when we got knocked out. Last year, he did not play well in the playoffs, he admitted himself that it was a long year and he didnt have the endurance to get through it. This year he was much better. You hear talk about oh would they move him to the wing because after [Carl] Soderberg’s performance in the playoffs as centerman – so all those factors go into it. Like i said, those decisions are way beyond me. But to answer your question, yes I believe he will push for a spot here. He’s got to come to camp believing it’s his time, it’s his spot to lose, and come with that attitude. Because Ryan’s [Spooner] a young 21 and I think it would benefit him to be around an NHL locker room, NHL players and learn from them. But he’s got to do it himself, he’s got to push through the mental aspect of the game because everything else is in place.

On if Ryan Spooner could transition to the wing...
I think he likes to have the puck too much between the blue lines and the open ice, personally. He might have played five shifts for us in two years on the wing. So I dont want to rule that out, you dont know things until you try, a lot of times. I just think, naturally, that is when he’s at his best when he’s getting the puck and attacking the D and backing them off. And usually through the middle of the ice is the best place to have that unless you’re a shooter down the wing. And that’s not his game, where you’ll come flying down the wing and you know, back a D off there and beat him one on one. He’s more of the middle of the ice, draw people to him, drive wide and then find the open man. And that is part of his game that driving wide and attacking the net himself is what he’s going to need to do to score some goals. And that is one of the reasons he doesn’t have one and that would come and go in Providence, but it was there at times. And when you see something more than once, you know that it’s there, it’s just you have to get it out of him. And the ball is in his court there.

On if he went to the net more after going from Boston back to Providence...
He went to the net, started shooting more, started scoring more goals for us. His shot is not heavy, per se but he can get it on net, it’s accurate, he’s just got to pick the right time to do it when goalies are not set. And he went ot the net more often but it’s an area of his game that he is going to have to continue to build on. He has to get there, doesn’t have to live there, but has to get in and get out.

On how it feels to have a lot of the Providence team pushing for a roster spot...
Well it’s good for, personally as a coach, to develop every position. We’ve seen it in goaltenders as well, [Anton] Khudobin came through here, did well and moved on. Tuukka [Rask] spent time down there and Svedy [Niklas Svedberg] and hopefully Malcolm [Subban]. But now, you’re right, it’s the forwards turn. [Alexander] Khokhlachev and [Ryan] Spooner and [Justin] Florek and [Matt] Fraser through a trade. It’s their chance to push for jobs more this year than defense and for me that’s great. Like I said, you don’t want to be – it’s great, all these defenseman, and if that’s how people identify ‘oh you did great at teaching defensemen’ but you’d like the whole nine yards. Defensemen, forwards, goaltenders and then winners. This year it looks like it’s the forwards turn, you’re right.

On if Craig Cunningham is pushing for a spot...
He’s put in his three years, his numbers have got – he scored 20 goals every year, he hasn’t missed a game. The games he’s missed we sat him out late in the year to give him a rest. He’s very durable and the thing with Cunny [Craig Cunningham] it’s almost like someone comes along and passes him as a winger, then as a centerman. So he’s just missing that – he’s good in every area of the game and to be in the NHL, to earn your job, you maybe have to have a particular strength in one area to sort of solidify that spot for yourself and he’s missing a little bit of that. But I tell you what, there is not a better kid in the locker room down there so he’s a type of guy who you’re certainly hoping for and routing for, that he finds a way. It’s just such a tough lineup to crack and now you got bodies to climb over. Which is a good problem for Boston, tough problem for him. I’d put him in that category, but I think some of the other guys have moved passed him a little bit in the last year in terms of centerman, like Koko [Alexander Khokhlachev] and [Ryan] Spooner. But I think Cunny [Craig Cunningham] as a winger, it’d have to be the right situation for him. With Thorty [Shawn Thornton] gone, that’s good for him, it gives him an opportunity to maybe start on the fourth line if they don’t address that position with another player like [Shawn] Thornton. Then that’s good for Cunny [Craig Cunningham].

On if he thinks it’s tough for Ryan Spooner to play on the fourth line since he’s not as physical...
I don’t think so, I think a lot of kids come up and that’s kind of your eight to 10 minues a night after you’ve spent some time. It’s not always good your first year, but now that he’s had two years, he’s proven that he can be a good offensive player down there. He’s a good two way player, he’s never minus for us through the whole year. He can defend, it’s his willingness to close quicker defending that Claude [Julien] has relayed to me and we’ve tried to work on him because he certainly has the foot speed to do it. It now becomes the will so I think he could do it. Now if you’re matched up against a [Brian] Boyle, I guess he’s not New York now, what is he Tampa? Then that becomes a bit of a mismatch but it could work in his favor if he uses his foot speed. Marty St. Louis goes through this every night and it doesn’t seem to hurt him. So I think he could do it but if your mindset is a heavier line, then clearly he’s not going to fit there. If your mindset is more maybe what Detroit does, then I think so. He’s certainly capable of checking, he can kill penalties, maybe earns his way into the good graces of the group that way by becoming a solid two way player. I don’t know what happens to [Gregory] Campbell, how that straightens out. And I know that if late in the game you’re not comfortable with him – but then late in the game maybe he’s more of a go to offensive guy when you’re trailing than your typical fourth liner that’s a shut down guy. So you have a bit of a, maybe a different approach in those time and scoring situations.

On if one year is enough for Seth Griffith...
I think he needs more time. I hope he proves me wrong because I know the right hand shot forward is in demand here so great for him. I think the pace of the game for him got better as the year went on, it’s still not consistent where he keeps his feet moving every night and that’s part of the learning process. Better on the walls, he’ll have to get better against men. But the other parts of his game, I think he could come up and compliment skilled players. He’s got the hockey IQ, he’s got the hands, I think he can make the same plays he does in Providence here at times. You know, when they’re there he can do it, it’s just the time and space issue for him and the strength and quickness. And I think another year will benefit him because he is a pretty fit guy for us, he’s 190 pounds, he’s strong. It’s now just building that in to man strong and not just, you know, young adult strong for lack of a better term.

On if David Warsofsky and Kevan Miller are completed projects...
Well I think Kevan [Miller] is. I think he proved he can be a National Hockey League defenseman. You hear some things that the Montreal series didn’t go as well, it didn’t go well for everybody right? If you want to look at it that way. So I think he’s a guy that you could put on the ice every night and he’ll give you a solid 15 to 20 minutes. David [Warsofsky], he hasn’t had the same amount of time to judge him on so I can’t sit here unequivocally and say, ‘yeah he’s going to go out and replicate what Torey Krug has done’ because there is always that comparison that comes naturally. But I think David’s ready to play in the NHL. Could he beat out eight guys in Boston? I don’t know, that’s a pretty good lineup right? So a good problem for Boston to have again, tough for David. But I’ve always felt if you’re good enough and you’re ready and you go up and prove it, they’ll make room for you. I’ve seen it with other guys and how quickly they’ll do that is another question but they will generally make room for you if they believe you are ready to play.

On who he sees in Providence as his next “project”...
Well [Joe [Morrow] and [Zach] Trotman are clearly the next guys in line I think they have a real good chance to play. I think they’re both going to be – Id assume be in Providence another year to find their game so I’d expect those guys to be really good defensemen in the AHL next year. And then Chris Casto had a good second half, he’s another guy that down the road would be in the next wave because he can skate so well. He makes a decent play, he just still needs to develop that “man” mentality when he’s on the ice to be haevier, more competitive on a daily basis. That’s a normal process, I think a lot of them go through it. Zach Trotman went through it and you see it now in his game, every night he wins the line share of his battles where maybe the first year for a strong guy he was winning half of them. And you can see that, how that mindset – he’s developed that. We need to get [Joe] Morrow and [Chris] Casto.

On if Bobby Robins’ age works against him...
I don’t think his age works against him. I think in some ways it might you know, you almost feel like he’s paid his dues give him a chance because of his age. So maybe it could work for him in that regard. Clearly he’s getting a late start, he knows that. But the way the League is going, you’re right, there is less demand, but Bobby [Robins] is a good skater and a good open ice hiter as well so he’d be a guy that would change the momentum in a hurry with body checks as well. He’s not going to sit at the end of the bench and play two minutes, he can play. We need to see, can he handle the puck on the boards clean enough at the NHL level and make the plays into the middle of the ice? And until you see him do that, and get his opportuniy – he’s gotten so much better at it. Time will tell, that will determine whether he players or not because I think the other elements are in place.

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