WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage during Day 4 of Bruins Development Camp brought a wave of pop from the capacity crowd at Ristuccia Arena.
Monday's camp-closing scrimmage? More pop, but of a different kind.
There were no nifty one-timers or Justin Florek snipes from the circle. But scrappy forward Anthony Camara drew a gasp as he whiffed on a body check on Alexander Fallstrom along the visiting bench and ran into the stanchion -- a scary sight, if only for a split-second, based on recent history.
Camara laughed about it later in the Bruins locker room, chalking it up to another learning experience.
“I’ve just been trying to soak up everything this week, be a sponge,” he said.
Things were sluggish at the start of the scrimmage, which concluded the five-day camp and didn’t have quite the offensive luster of Sunday's game. But players like Camara showcased the kind of spunk the front office was hoping for.
“It didn’t surprise me that it was him because he likes to hit,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said of Camara’s face plant off the stanchion. “He’s got a sturdy body. I think under normal game circumstances, I think you might have seen his gloves off his hands at some point, because that’s the way he plays. But I like what I saw in him.
“Again, he’s a robust player, he can make a play too and he skates well. So I wasn’t surprised. He and [Zach] Trotman were going at it too for a couple of days, so it was good to see.”
Play on the ice Monday was more physical, and a little chippy -- demonstrated by Tyler Rendell and Trotman -- as players sought to make a lasting impression.
Much of the talk coming out of this camp will center on Dougie Hamilton’s raw potential, Tommy Cross’ maturation and the scoring touch seen from the Justin Florek-Ryan Spooner-Brian Ferlin line, but Jared Knight’s tenacity from close range also drew attention. At 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds, Knight is built like a hydrant and was tough to push around. He also demonstrated a willingness to get in the dirty areas and put his body on the line.
“I love going to the net and taking that post of the goalie out,” Knight said. “You can’t be going out there and playing hockey scared. You’ve got to be fearless. Hockey’s not a soft sport, you’ve got to be tough to play this.”
Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said that overall he was pleased with the camp and encouraged by what the organization will have to work with going forward. That holds especially true for top draft choice Hamilton. At times, the 18-year-old and No. 9 overall pick backed up his reputation as a plus-skater with an accurate shot; other times, he got taken for a ride, like in Sunday's scrimmage when Ferlin left him in the dust after he mishandled a puck at the blue line.
“Where it goes will really be up to him,” Sweeney said. “You know he won't know that until he gets on the power plays at the next levels. He knows he can do certain things at the junior level. And you know his physical stature helps him get away with some of that stuff. I would say at this point in time, the decision-making is really what it will come down to as to where his impact will be.
“And really, a lot of times, you don’t get that until you go through these experiences and play against guys that will expose you when you do run around.”