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Young Bruins Take the Ice vs. Baby Buds

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
5:50 p.m.

Zach Hamill had four points, including an assist on Jamie Arniel's game winning goal in overtime, as the Boston Bruins rookies defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs rookies, 6-5, in front of 2553 in the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Hamill, who is serving as captain of the young Bruins during a season-opening rookie tournament, intercepted an errant puck in the neutral zone to begin a give-and-go which Arniel finished by beating Toronto goaltender James Reimer (30-saves) and give Boston goalie Adam Courchaine the win (34-saves). It was Arniel's second goal of the game. Both were assisted by Hamill.

More to come...

1:39 p.m.
Okay True Believers, you can "watch" the game with me over on my live blog.

1:30 p.m.
The lines...


Dalton, MacDermid


1:04 p.m.
People are starting to file into the building and it looks like the Zamboni is doing its final cleaning before the game.

Toronto's rookies are gathered outside their locker room talking. I wonder if they are surprised by the number of Bruins jerseys already in the stands.

We are, of course, deep in Maple Leafs territory, so it wouldn't be shocking to see a sea of blue in the stands later..

12:26 p.m.
More reading...
Boston Bruins Rookie Camp Guide (PDF)
Rookie Tournament Rosters (PDF)

12:13 p.m.
Afternoon reading...

LoVecchio is happy to get going (K. Paul Dupont, Boston Globe)
Bruins prospects look forward to chance to compete (M. Loftus, Enterprise News)
LoVecchio  is game to get going into action (M. Kalman,
Craig Janney’s game-winner takes on Cam Neely’s 50th goal (J. Isner,

11:05 a.m.
No morning skate for Boston.

10:20 a.m.

B's rookie defenseman Ryan Button, wearing a sharp suit, was all business yesterday afternoon as he left the Boston Bruins locker room in the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium -- The Aud -- and headed for the bus back to the hotel after practice. But, when I stopped and asked the young man from Edmonton (by way of Medicine Hat in the WHL) how he was doing, a smile dawned across the rookies face that shone some light on the actual situation.

These kids might be trying to land a spot on an NHL or AHL roster (or maybe just plant the seeds for one next year), but getting to act like NHLers for even a few days is pretty heady stuff.

"This is really quite an experience for me," said Button, earnestly. "I was at my billet house a week ago and my billet family took a look at the itinerary and saw it said Boston vs. Toronto."

For young men in Canada, playing for or against an "Original Six" team like Boston and Toronto is perhaps the seminal moment in their childhood dreams. And for these boys, just barely adults themselves, to play for an Original Six team against their beloved/hated Maple Leafs is the stuff that fantasies are made of.

"It's a small thing, but I guess it's the start of a dream come true to play in the National Hockey League and have your name be under Boston and play against the Toronto Maple Leafs," said Button, trying to find words to describe an event that he surely played out on frozen ponds and streets. "It's is a pretty neat feeling."

Like many of his fellow new B's, Button's family will be in the crowd, enjoying the moment nearly as much as their son/cousin/nephew.

"There are going to be a lot of them," he said. "My cousin, who's a huge Bruins fan, lives in Montreal and he's driving down. My parents are here. My uncles.

"I've got a lot of relatives in and around Toronto. So I am pretty sure they'll all be coming up.

"But I guess I have to focus at the end of it," he said.

As someone who has really never faced that kind of athletic pressure, I asked how he would go about clearing his mind for Monday afternoon's contest. Button said it won't be easy, and his lack of a solid retort to the question makes me think he is still trying to figure out exactly how to focus on the task at hand.

"You're trying to focus on your game and the pace is a million miles faster than what it is at the Western Hockey League level," he imagined. "And you've got parents in the stands you are trying to impress."

There was a beat, and the smile came back and Button cleared his head.

"I mean, it's all fun, and why not live the dream and have everyone watching you," said the blueliner, whose non-answer answer explained to this reporter exactly why he made it to this level and so many others fall short.

Basically, it comes down to self confidence; a belief in the abilities and habits that got you here.

"They drafted me for a reason," said Button, suddenly serious again. "I am a puck-moving, transitional offensive-defenseman. That's what I do. I don't try and change my game from game-to-game.

"So I'll do that to the best of my ability and hopefully I can make the team better and we can come up with some wins here."

Beyond his own abilities, Button knows that he has to learn the NHL way of doing things if he is going to make the jump and enthusiastically pointed to the resouces the Black & Gold have provided as catalysts to their prospects prospects.

"It means so much," said Button. "You get a guy like [Doug Houda], Don Sweeney - another ex-NHL defenseman.

"All the coaches here are ex [professional] players, so anytime you get a chance to talk it's huge. That's why Boston is an elite NHL organization. They have the right coaching staff, they have the right general manager.

"It's a pleasure to be part of such an organization."

But for now, Button and his fellow rookie campers can revel in being young, happy and indestructible.

"This is the best life you can have as an 18-year old. I mean, what more could anyone want?"

Button had answered his question a little earlier: Some wins.
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