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Sweeney's Focus Shifts to the Ice for Bruins Development Camp

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins

BOSTON – For the last few weeks, Don Sweeney has been focused on the future of the Bruins organization.

The B’s general manager – and the rest of the hockey operations staff – have spent countless hours identifying the players they best believe will make Boston a team to be reckoned with for years to come.

But much of the work at the Scouting Combine, NHL Draft, and during the opening days of free agency is done from offices and conference rooms. The executives and scouts have not seen ice – outside of the occasional beach cooler – in quite some time.

As a result, Sweeney is very much excited about being back at the rink for the 10th Annual Boston Bruins Development Camp, which runs Tuesday-Friday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.

Twenty-six players, including all six 2016 Draft picks, will participate in the camp, where all on-ice sessions will be open to the public.

“I’m actually really looking forward to it,” Sweeney told BostonBruins.com on Monday afternoon. “The last three weeks there’s been a lot going on, so it’ll be fun to go back inside a rink and just focus on hockey – most importantly, watching our young players, see what their progression has been, and obviously the number of players that we recently added through the Draft and see how they fit into the big puzzle.”

It’s another step in Sweeney’s offseason quest to solidify the future. Though there will not necessarily be any direct competition or NHL roster spots on the line this week, the camp will give Sweeney a better idea of how many the organization’s prospects have progressed.

“It’s just a real good opportunity to sort of look at things from an umbrella standpoint at 10,000 feet, to see where, again, the pieces of the puzzle are going to take shape,” said Sweeney.

“I think it’s important to communicate directly with the kids and know where they stand. It’s not a time to be overly critical.

“The most important thing is that they progress…As far as the poor performance side of it, no, it’s about kids coming and learning, and us learning about them.”

Sweeney said the hope is that when the players leave at the end of the week they have a better understanding of what it takes to be a professional hockey player – both on and off the ice.

He wants them to gain, “A better understanding of what the expectations are going to be as they move forward in their careers for us, for the National Hockey League, what it will take for them as players to continue to progress,” said Sweeney.

“Most importantly about themselves, as well, see what areas of their games they need to improve upon, individual skill bases and collectively where they fit in in the grand scheme.

“These guys all have NHL dream aspirations and we want to try to help them get there and give them the resources necessary.”

In addition to the on-ice practice sessions, the players will be put through off-ice testing, while also participating in charity events and other team-building activities.

Sweeney feels that after 10 years, the organization has figured out how to best maximize time and make sure the players are getting the most out of the experience.

“Ten years ago when this was sort of crafted, teams were starting to do it and we jumped in pretty heavily and we probably were a little heavy-handed in some areas of trying to do too much in the course of a week,” said Sweeney.

“We’ve shortened the week, we’ve streamlined it, we’ve been target-specific in the areas we’d like to continue to see evolve. It’s not about a tryout environment for us and bringing in 50-60 kids. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to evaluate them in their own games or when they get into rookie camp and training camp.

“We keep the numbers small for individual attention and progression. We want to see these kids come in, compete, and understand what it’s going to take in their own personal development to be National Hockey League players.”

BOSTON BRUINS 2016 DEVELOPMENT CAMP ROSTER AS OF JULY 6:

The 2016 Boston Bruins Development Camp is presented by AT&T.

(Players are listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Forwards: Jack Becker, Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, Jesse Gabrielle, Danton Heinen, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Sean Kuraly, Mark Naclerio, Zachary Senyshyn (will not attend due to mono), Oskar Steen

Defensemen: Brandon Carlo, Cameron Clarke, Matt Grzelcyk, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Ryan Lindgren, Charlie McAvoy, Wiley Sherman, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Stephen Dhillon*, Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar

*Indicates attendance to Development Camp is on an invite basis

Please note that 2015 second round pick Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will not be at Development Camp. The Bruins and Forsbacka Karlsson agreed that he would not attend due to school, family and travel commitments.

BOSTON BRUINS 2016 DEVELOPMENT CAMP SCHEDULE AS OF JULY 6:

(Locations and times are subject to change)

Tuesday, July 12 (Wilmington, MA)

-Off-ice testing (Not open to media), Ristuccia Arena, 9:00 a.m.

-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, July 13 (Wilmington, MA)

-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 14 (Wilmington, MA)

-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:00 a.m.

Friday, July 15 (Wilmington, MA)

-On-ice practice, Ristuccia Arena, 10:00 a.m.

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