Observations While Waiting For Training Camp

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There are twenty-four days until the Boston Bruins open training camp. Here some observations from Beantown:

As of today, goaltender Tim Thomas and center Marc Savard are still employed by the organization. This is good news as the team needs an experienced, quality, goalkeeper waiting in the wings should Tuuka Rask go down with an injury or worse, suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. Thomas faltered last season after winning the Vezina Trophy but looks to rebound back into trophy winning form this season. It says here, that he will. Not to mention, there are no backup goaltenders with the resume Thomas possesses.

Fans have been waiting, on a daily basis, to see where Savard will end up playing in the 2010-2011 season. His contract has been under investigation by the National Hockey League since it was filed with the league by the Bruins. If the NHL finds that the contract violated league rules then the centerman will become an unrestricted free agent and no team wants to risk losing a player they just traded for. Other factors that may have teams wary of acquiring Savard are the concussion he suffered this past season, the length of the contract extension, and the salary itself. The extension runs for seven years at a total of $28,050,000 or a cap hit of $4,007,143 per season (according to www.capgeek.com.) Most teams do not want to commit to a seven year deal to a player who is thirty-three years old. In a recently published article, (http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Bruins-star-Marc-Savard-hurt-by-summer-of-trad?urn=nhl-262507) Savard said his feelings were hurt by all of the trade talk. Hopefully, the player and the organization can sit down and work out any negative feelings that may exist before the start of the 2010-2011 season. The crafty pivot has been the team’s best offensive weapon since acquiring him and they will need his skills and leadership to make a return to the playoffs.

Forward Trent Whitfield suffered an Achilles tendon injury while training this past week and is likely lost for the season. Last season, he played in 16 games for Boston, scoring 1 assist while used primarily in a checking role. He spent most of last season with the Providence Bruins, for whom, he scored 43 points.

On August 19, 2010 and the following day, August 20th, Bruins net minder, Tuuka Rask and forward Shawn Thornton took part in the 9th annual NESN/WEEI Jimmy Fund radio-telethon. The telethon raised over $2.9 million dollars for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Principle Charlie Jacobs, son of owner Jeremy Jacobs, donated $25,000 on behalf of the Boston Bruins Foundation. This writer, who lost both of his parents to cancer, applauds the Jacobs family and the Bruins for stepping up to the plate.

The Belfast Giants select team is preparing for their exhibition game against the Bruins in Belfast, Ireland on October 2, 2010. The Giants named four players, two forwards and two defensemen, to their team for the pre-season match. Those players are Luke Fulghum, a forward, who grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado and played collegiately at the University of Denver. The other forward is Colin Shields. Shields’ name will be familiar to Hockey East fans, as he played at the University of Maine and was drafted 195th overall in 2000 by the Philadelphia Flyers. The defensemen named to the Giants are Jonathan Weaver and Jon Gleed. Weaver captained the British team at last springs World Ice Hockey Championships. Gleed hails from Milton, Ontario, Canada. He played his NCAA hockey at Cornell University and was drafted in 2004 by Montreal. The defensive defenseman played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League before crossing the pond to play in the U.K. Elite League. It appears the B’s will be taking on a quality team in Ireland.

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Blake Wheeler. The recently married forward will turn 24 on August 31, 2010.

Finally, best of luck to former B’s defenseman Aaron Ward. The steady blueliner announced his retirement yesterday. Ward was a leader in every sense of the word, on and off the ice. He leaves the game with three Stanley Cup rings which he won as a member of the 1997 Detroit Red Wings, 1998 Detroit Red Wings, and the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. Ward played three seasons for Boston, 2006-2009, before being dealt in an ill-advised trade with the New York Rangers. The black and gold’s defense corp was visibly weakened with his departure.

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Tags: Aaron Ward Belfast Giants Blake Wheeler Boston Bruins Carolina Hurricanes Detroit Red Wings Jimmy Fund Marc Savard New York Rangers NHL Draft Playoffs Shawn Thornton Tim Thomas Training Camp Trent Whitfield Tuukka Rask

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