WILMINGTON, Mass. — Dougie Hamilton already has a keepsake from his first meeting with Zdeno Chara. Now the Bruins top pick is looking forward to hanging around the Boston captain for a little longer when the club's main training camp begins on Friday.
"Last season we went down to a game in Toronto and I got to take a picture with him," Hamilton said after the rookies went through off-ice workouts at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. "I still have it on my phone. He was just towering over me, and I thought I was big. It's going to be fun to be out there with him and try to see what he does to make himself such a good player."
Hamilton, who stands 6-foot-5, 194 pounds but still gives up four inches and 61 pounds to Chara, will get a chance to see the captain in action in camp. Maybe sharing the ice with the veterans will help the youngster overcome his awe of the guys who hoisted the Cup just three months ago.
"I haven't really talked to any of them yet," Hamilton said. "I did watch them practice. A couple months ago I was watching them on TV winning the Cup, and now they're walking around here with you, so that's pretty cool."
Before testing himself against the vets, Hamilton and the rest of the rookies spent the start of the week down on Long Island, taking on the New York Islanders' prospects in a pair of exhibition games at Nassau Coliseum. Boston's rookies prevailed 8-5 on Monday, but fell 7-2 on Tuesday.
"I was pretty happy," Hamilton said. "Obviously [Tuesday] didn't turn out so good on the scoreboard, but I didn't really know what to expect going in so it's good to get those first games out of the way. I had some fun, so it was good."
It was also a good early test for Hamilton, who was taken with the ninth overall pick this June after a 12-46-58 campaign in 67 games with Niagara in the Ontario Hockey league last year.
"I was expecting it to be fast and physical and a step up from the OHL, and it was," Hamilton said. "I just tried to raise my game up and focus on the little things and be physical and move the puck. I thought I did a pretty good job of that."
Hamilton did pick up one point in the two games, earning a secondary assist on Carter Camper's late power-play goal on Monday, though Hamilton wasn't taking much credit for the play.
"I don't even know if it was me that passed it," Hamilton said. "But I'm not really worried about that right now. The points come if they come, but I'm more focused on doing the little things right now."
Those little things will become a much bigger challenge soon when the veterans join the mix, but Hamilton is eager to test himself against those guys as well.
"I'm really excited for that," Hamilton said. "Coming in here [to rookie camp], it's a big step up from the OHL, and next week's going to be an even bigger step. I'm just excited to get a chance to play with those guys. They're obviously really skilled and really fast, so it will be nice to kind of compare myself and see what I need to improve on."
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