Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Rookies lining up for work

They hope to make the jump

WILMINGTON -- The Bruins' five-day rookie camp will come to a close tomorrow afternoon, which is when left wing hopeful Martins Karsums hopes to be handed the Get Out Of Rookie Camp Free card and progress to the varsity workouts that officially begin the next day here at Ristuccia Arena.

``I hope my junior days are done," said the 20-year-old, who spent the last three seasons at Moncton in the Quebec League, and collected 65 points in 49 games in 2005-06. ``I don't want to go back."

According to assistant general manager Jeff Gorton, all of the club's rookie K's -- Karsums, Petr Kalus, Phil Kessel, and Dave Krejci -- are eligible to play junior hockey this season.

The biggest surprise in that bunch is Kessel, who played last season with the University of Minnesota and turned pro just before Labor Day. Kessel's junior rights are owned by Saginaw, the club that made a big pitch to Kessel before he opted to play 2005-06 with the Gophers, and his combination of NCAA experience and his name on an NHL contact would not preclude him from being designated to the juniors.

However, a far more likely landing spot for Kessel, if he were not to make the Boston squad, would be Providence (AHL).

The Baby B's, though, would not be an option for Kalus, a 19-year-old left wing. According to Gorton, if Kalus doesn't make it in the Hub of Hockey, he must return to Regina in the Western Hockey League. Krejci, a 20-year-old center, could land in Boston, Providence, or back for a third season with Gatineau in the Quebec League.

``Kalus has the potential to be here," said Scott Bradley, the club's director of amateur scouting, who in 2005 oversaw a draft in which the Bruins nabbed Kalus No. 39 overall. ``He's a goal scorer, and he came to camp in great shape. But I wouldn't rule out any of the K's."

Axelsson: Good signs
P.J. Axelsson, whose wrenched knee in his first game after the Olympics ended his 2005-06 season, was back on blades with the veterans for an afternoon skate. The 31-year-old left winger, the last man standing from the group of rookies that made the roster in 1997, had to take a couple of days off over the weekend when he was clipped on the back of the right heel by a door when exiting the practice facility.

``It wasn't anything, really, just a little bad luck," said Axelsson. The small gash required three stitches, however, and kept Axelsson out of skates for a couple of days.

Axelsson signed his three-year renewal, worth some $5.4 million, in late March, just prior to Mike O'Connell getting the gate as GM. Over the summer, the club made a massive overhaul, opting to send about a dozen free agents packing, and went on to create nearly an all-new roster.

``It's a little strange, but I think they made a lot of good signings," said Axelsson. ``I didn't know this would happen, but I sensed something would happen, because we weren't really that good last year. Change is always going to happen when you are not successful."

Axelsson returned to Sweden over the summer, carrying home his gold medal from the Turin Olympics. He also owns two silver and two bronze medals from international play, and has made a point of saving all his team sweaters from international competition. He is looking forward one day to putting together a formal display.

Not part of the Axelsson collection: the gloves he wore during the Olympics or with Frolunda, his Swedish club that won the league title during the lockout. In both cases, after clinching the championship game, said Axelsson, he and his teammates fired their gloves into the stands as souvenirs.

Slow going for Stuart
Second-year backliner Mark Stuart met Saturday with Dr. Bert Zarins, the club's orthopedist, to get a gauge on how his right knee is mending after surgery in late July.

``It looks good, coming along well," said Stuart. ``But [Zarins] said he wants to take this slow -- he's not looking to set any records by coming back too fast."

According to Stuart, the return date can't be estimated because part of the recovery involves the regrowth of cartilage in the knee. Until there is sufficient cartilage buildup, Stuart must progress slowly with the weight training for his quad muscles.

``The quicker I get the quad back, the faster I can get out on the ice," he said. Until then, all of Stuart's training is on dry land.

Developing a plan
New coach Dave Lewis is confident he'll have everyone on the same page for Opening Night in Sunrise, Fla., Oct. 6, but he also knows there is much work to be done to prepare a squad that will be dotted with new faces -- virtually every one new for Lewis. ``So far we've had no meetings, no video, no talk about our style of play, no plan for the power play," he said. However, Lewis said he spent some time over the weekend roughing out an opening night roster. There are some open spots, but not many. A handful? ``Probably too many," he said . . . Glen Murray, sniper in need of a setup man (please step forward, Marc Savard), stepped on Ristuccia ice for the first time since early April . . . Harvard coach Ted Donato, last inside Ristuccia in the 2003-04 season, swung by for a visit with fellow Crimsoneers Peter Chiarelli and Don Sweeney . . . Kalus was among those that Lewis thought had a very good practice day. ``I like his tenacity," said Lewis. ``He works tirelessly, and he is strong on the puck."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives