WILMINGTON -- The first impression Martins Karsums hoped to make didn't go the way he expected last season.
This year, he doesn't plan on a repeat.
The 20-year-old forward from Riga, Latvia, who is participating in the Bruins' informal skates at Ristuccia Arena this week, tried to open eyes during training camp last season. But an injured right ankle, which had kept him off the ice for the previous nine months, slowed Karsums, keeping him from signing a pro contract and sending him back to junior hockey.
Ankle: healed. Confidence: high. Preferred destination: Boston instead of Moncton, New Brunswick.
``I hope I'm not back there," said Karsums of Moncton with a laugh. ``I'm not sure I could be here in Boston, but maybe I can make it in Providence."
Karsums, the 64th overall pick of the 2004 draft, scored 34 goals and 31 assists in 49 games last year for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats. Karsums signed with the Bruins May 22, but if he doesn't make the Boston or Providence rosters, he can be returned to his junior club as an overage player.
Last season, Karsums and the Wildcats, who were led by current New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan, won the league championship and advanced to the Memorial Cup. Also on the Moncton roster was recent Bruins pick Brad Marchand (71st in the 2006 draft), who recorded 29 goals and 37 assists .
The 5-foot-9-inch, 190-pound Karsums is one of the club's Special K's (Phil Kessel, Petr Kalus, David Krejci), four prospects who are fighting for NHL jobs. Karsums is a dark-horse candidate for a fourth-line spot with the parent club, but given his speed, strength, and skating ability, the wide-shouldered forward could be a featured player in Providence.
While Kessel is a sniper who thrives in open space, Karsums prefers to grind in the corners and in the slot, and isn't afraid of contact.
``I don't think it matters," Karsums said of his height. ``I can still do the hard job in front of the net. I can stand there, dig pucks out, and play hard in front of the net."
Pineault, who played at Boston College in 2003-04 before withdrawing from school, scored 29 goals and 30 assists last season. Pineault is property of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected the forward in the second round of the 2004 draft.
``He can do everything -- skate, score, play defense," Karsums said of Yandle. ``I think both of them can play in the pros."