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Transcript: 07.02 Don Sweeney Development Camp Presser - Day 5

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Quotes - 2012 Development Camp


July 2

BOSTON BRUINS ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY

On the progress Ryan Spooner has made from last year to this year…
Well I think both on and off the ice maturity has been a big factor. You know, he’s gaining in strength and understanding of the level of playing going up and the stronger guys are going to be there. His time in Providence has certainly helped in that regard. I think his overall training - and, there’s a pro mentality that’s starting to seep in there, which is what we need all these guys to do. And it’s not something you wake up with or you do by osmosis. You have to really go through it and understand it, and they’re building blocks. You know, you just can’t go from A-Z, there’s a period of time and transition that you go through, and you see the skill, obviously comes out. And he had a real good day in the scrimmage today – a very creative player. And that’s the stuff we know is there but we want to make sure we continue to build the habits away from the puck and he understands that much, much, much clearer now.

On if Spooner’s development has had an upward trend…
Well it’s leveled off in that he hasn’t played a lot of playoff hockey, you know, to go through that experience, which all kids are benefitting from – anybody benefits from, for that matter. He’s bounced around to a couple different teams now in the past couple years and as far as plateaus, I don’t think they’ve plateau’d but it definitely throws some – he went through the mono and missed even a potential World Junior Championships. So I mean, there’s been some, you know, minor setbacks from his overall trajectory, but I think we’re really happy about where he is today, and where he’s headed, most importantly, where he’s headed.

On Tommy Cross’ rough start…
Yeah, I mean health has been an issue for Tommy - he wins the award for longevity here. And it’s just great to see him healthy. I’ve said that the last couple of years of walking over to rinks and watching him play. Most importantly talking to him afterwards and knowing that, he’s got an ice bag on but he’s able to understand what his training has to be changed in order to get the same stuff out that other kids just take for granted. And that’s gotta be something he’s gonna fight forever, but he understands it better now and it’s translated to the ice and his game. I mean, you saw the physical presences and stuff that he has and he still has patience on the offensive blue line to wait that extra second so a shot gets through and you know, I think he’s really, Tommy’s, I think, looking forward to moving to the pro game now. It’s sort of been in the – he’s completed that, he’s a guy that does like to complete what he started. He did it when he was in prep school and he certainly did it when he was a captain at BC and now I think he’s just really looking forward to getting into the pro game and seeing where he stacks up.

On the invitees…
We’re happy with all the players that we brought in. I mean, the intent is, as I’ve always said, to get to know them on and off the ice a little better than we currently do. Both as people and their work habits, you know, sometimes you can go and get an idea that when you’re speaking to coaches that they play on their current teams and watching them play, but the trade off is pretty unique to have them in your own camp against players that you’ve been evaluating for two, three, and four, five years and see how they stack up there. So, some of them are a little older so you have to sort of put them against where you have kids in Providence and where they’d stack up because they’re of the same age. But this camp gives us the benefit of that, so we’re excited to, you know, we’re going to sit down with all those kids today and sort of indicate where we see them and certainly be watching them throughout the course of this year.

On what advice he’ll give Dougie Hamilton going into the rest of the summer…
Well, as I’ve said, the experience factor is the thing he’s missing. Athleticism and overall talent size of it, he’s gonna stack up to, you know, anybody. We’re very excited about where he’s at. I mean, the advice I would give him, and consistently going to be giving him, you know last year the same thing - if he makes the play he made behind the net you know rather than just make that, identify that simple one and invite trouble, you know, that’s where things get crossed up. But, that’s, again, experience and going through, he probably got away with that situation in junior because he’s bigger and stronger than anybody else and realized now he turned that one over and it’s in his net, you know, coach looks over at him and says, ‘Are you making that one again or are you learning from it?’ So, again, go through it, understand it, and I’m sure he looks at it and says, ‘Okay, I’ll move forward.’ Because he has done that for the most part, but that’s the learning curve that everybody goes through.

On if he compares each camp to the next and what he liked best…
You’re right. It is a tough thing not to do, I think internally, we do need to do it from overall, first of all, the structure of camp and how things run. You know, these kids now we’ll talk to a little bit and find out if we pushed them a little bit too far. All that stuff has a factor, and shows up on the ice at times. If they’re too fatigued to scrimmage, and the scouts look at it and say ‘boy that’s not what I saw during the course of the year’, you’re offsides in that regard. But I think the overall initial impressions are that this was a really good group of guys. I mean it was different in that we had a few more invites, which means the kids might be a little bit older. We had some kids that have been here now for a couple years so they’re familiar with the camp environment and the expectations. But that also helps to bring the other younger kids that haven’t gone through it for the first time. So, I’ll sit up here and say I’m grateful for everybody, as I’ve always said, chipping in to make this camp run as smoothly as it does. And, you know, it’s a very exciting time for the organization, to be honest with you, because these kids are all under sort of the same umbrella, maybe for the only time. Some of these kids might not decide to come, or they go off on different paths, right? So, it’s kind of a unique thing to have all your guys that you’ve been tracking and just recently drafted and sort of, you know, they now go up on the whiteboard and sort of see how the puzzle starts to come together, you know, hopefully down the road.

On whether Malcolm Subban was “as advertised” or different from what they expected…
I think it’s pretty much as advertised – the athleticism and the competitiveness, you know, even from a shootout perspective, you know, his statistics are phenomenal in that. Then you see him out here today he’s an exciting prospect. There’s, you know, we’re looking forward to having our goalie coach really be in close communication and certainly line up a path that they can have input while not overstepping while he’s back what his junior team. But certainly starting to identify some of the stuff that he sees that may or may not be exposed strengths and weaknesses and going to work on it. So we’re excited about him.

On how they’ll track his progress and playing time next season…
Well yeah our indications are that he’ll go back and play a lot, you know, barring injury – he had some injuries last year that might have held him out of games or he would’ve certainly probably played more. You know, we do expect to go back and watch a lot, and as I said it’s unique because from the goalie perspective those guys I think have to have that relationship – they talk a different language. And it’s important for Malcolm to understand what Bob’s [Essensa] seen in his game and where he wants to see it in the progression, you know, in his game.

On Subban learning there’s a time to have fun and a time to be serious…
I love that, you know, to tell you the honest truth. I mean, first part of camp when you’re, you know, you can’t even hold on to your itinerary, you’re forgetting things and such that mom’s not here to pick up the stuff for you. And some of the time, like he literally just went from the excitement of being drafted in the last weekend to being thrown into this environment, which can catch anyone off guard especially when you’re 17 or 18 years old. So I think that’s great. That’s really where the expectation part goes, you know, realized that even Tyler [Seguin] missed a meeting last year and the repercussions of that. Realizing that’s the, as I talked about [Ryan] Spooner earlier, that’s the pro mentality we want to start to seep in and realize that you can’t get that overnight - you have to go through it and realize it and be around other guys. You know, they’ll see [Jared] Knight and some of the other guys Tommy [Cross] that they’re further along in that process and all of a sudden they’re like ‘Woah, that’s how I’m supposed to react.’

On Tommy Cross’s development at Boston College…
Well it’s really hard to kind of track him along that context because of the injuries. You know, when you drafted him you sort of see him as the athleticism and the dynamic skating aspect of his game that’s changed a little bit. You know, that’s just facts that he’s had to face with and change his game along those lines. He makes, you know, better reads in terms of where transitionally passing and stuff that before he might be able to skate himself out of situations. So he’s done a good job, and I think I’ve tracked that a little tighter in the last two years because that’s certainly going to have to be upheld at the next levels as the game picks up even more and more speed, you know, ‘How is he going to react to that?’ And the physical component of his game I think will continue to get better and better in the pro environment. In the college environment as a forward I think you’re a little more involved physically, as a defenseman it’s probably a little harder, you know, except down low in front of the nets and stuff, but Tommy seems to understand - to step in the neutral zone and picking your spots, so physically I think he’s looking forward to the challenge of what bigger and stronger guys at the pro level represent.

On Torey Krug’s first Development Camp…
Well being around the team and having the advantage of playing a couple games, going through the preparation, I think seeing the guys prepare to play at the NHL level, and then folding into this I think that’s going to help Torey. Coming out of this I hope he has a clear idea of what he needs to do between now and September to put himself in the best position to challenge, because as I said earlier the reset button sort of hit, right? Everybody comes in to challenge for a job as opposed to somebody who’s come in and sort of, you know, worked his way in here I think he’s got his foot in the door and the coaching staff has a pretty good idea as to what his skill set is and what he’s going to bring to the table. But now you’ve got other guys that are going to try and win that same job. So his skill set, his processing, his transitional play is excellent and now he’ll understand the laws of physics are going to apply at his size and have to deal with it.

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