Rookie Hamill is playing to stay

February, 5, 2011
2/05/11
5:57
PM ET
BOSTON -- Even though it had to hurt the Boston Bruins management and scouting team that the player they passed on -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Logan Couture -- to draft Zach Hamill in 2007 scored his 23rd goal of the season for what proved to be the game-winner in the Sharks' 2-0 win Saturday, the Bruins were more concerned about the present and Hamill’s second NHL game. Hamill didn’t register a point in 13 shifts and 10:35 of ice time, but Bruins coach Claude Julien saw improvement from the 22-year-old’s first NHL game last April.

“Well, it was his first game [this season] and it wasn’t an easy game and I don’t think he got a ton of ice time,” Julien said. “But in a player’s first game, you give him the benefit of the doubt, and I don’t think he was any worse or better than anybody.

"But I thought he was OK and I thought his battle level, for Zach, was good and I thought his positioning and his smarts, you could tell were there, so we’ll probably see more of him as we move on here.”

Hamill admitted to having some first-period jitters again, but they subsided.

"I was a little nervous to start, but as the game went on, I felt more comfortable and was making plays a little bit, and overall, I felt pretty good," said Hamill, who was second in points on the Providence Bruins with 28 when he was called up Thursday.

The rookie, though, realizes that almost four years after being drafted, this call-up can’t just be about getting a feel for the NHL -- it’s about making an impact, just as Couture has done this season.

"You grow up and you say you want to play in the NHL, but once you kind of get up here, you want to stay,” Hamill said. “And not just stay but staying in terms of contributing, and you go forward from there."

James Murphy

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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