Although he didn’t record a point versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dougie Hamilton is making major strides for the Boston Bruins.
In the 3-1 victory Saturday night at TD Garden Hamilton had four shots on net, recorded three hits, had a blocked shot and recorded close to 25 minutes of ice time. Hamilton has three points in his last four games and he is really stepping up in his sophomore season.
Head Coach Claude Julien is very impressed with his young defenseman and his progression while being held out in the beginning of the year.
“His first part of the year he was in and out a little bit, but he’s played really solid for us and offensively continues to make good decisions, good plays and be very aggressive,” Julien said. “Defensively he’s becoming better and better all the time. So, he’s a young player-he’s a 20-year-old-but with experience. He’s starting to flourish and he just has to keep going that way.”
Hamilton has three goals and three assists in 14 games played while sporting a plus-6. He is doing his job as the offensive puck-moving defenseman the B’s hoped they would get when they drafted him.
Now, with teammate Adam McQuaid most likely missing time, Hamilton will need to step up.
“It’s happened before, last week when Johnny went down,” said the second year defenseman. “Right away you just say, quick shifts, and you’ve got to expect that you’re doing to play a lot, so you have to know that you’re going to be right back out there. I thought we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Hamilton enjoys playing a lot of time, but deflected the notion of his own success, but acknowledged his teammates effort.
“I like it better, personally,” Hamilton said. “When you know you’re going to play a lot you just keep going out there and you don’t really have to sit on the bench too long. Like I said, I thought everyone stepped up and we played well as a defensive group.”
With a full year under his belt, Hamilton looked to make improvements in year two of his NHL career.
“I think everything,” Hamilton said. “I think very defensively and around the net and in the corners with stuff. I think I got stronger. I think just more confidence, more comfortable with guys and just having been here for a half a season last year. I think it just makes it easier being comfortable.”
Competing for a defenseman spot early on in the year was tough, but Hamilton knows he needs to stay focused and be ready when his number is called.
“It’s tough, but it makes you better,” Hamilton said. “Obviously it’s maybe a little bit different now with the rotation in the stop, but I think you’ve really got to stay on your toes knowing that somebody’s there, itching to play. I think for all for us it’s just about playing hard so that we can keep our spots in the lineup and that’s all you have to do.”
Hamilton looks to gain a lot more playing time not just because of McQuaid’s injury, but because he has earned it. At the youthful age of 20, Dougie is playing at a very high level.
See what Dougie and Jarome Iginla had to say about last night’s victory
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