By Rabita Naqvi and Rick Stephens, Bulldogs Hockey Report
HAMILTON, ON – It was media day at FirstOntario Centre marking the official opening to the Hamilton Bulldogs 2014-15 training camp. 27 players are in camp preparing to spend the next few days in Newfoundland practicing in St. John’s and playing a three-game series in Gander against the St. John’s IceCaps.
One player, defenseman Magnus Nygren, attracted the most attention for comments that he made after returning to Sweden following a 16-game stint with the Bulldogs last season. Salivating with tabloid-like enthusiasm, some media prodded Nygren with questions about crime in Hamilton and the unemployment rate.
Credit to Nygren for rising above the fray saying, “I’m here for playing hockey. What happened last year is past now. I’m looking forward to this season.” The young defenseman added, “I’m here to be a better hockey player. I’m here to help the team win.”
Coach Sylvain Lefebvre told Nygren that they would be starting with a “clean slate” telling reporters, “This year is a new year. You know for him, he’s a year older, he’s got more experience now, and he knows what to expect here in Hamilton. He knows the coaching staff and some of his teammates. I’m sure that Magnus is disappointed that he was cut from (the) main camp in Montreal, but his goal is to play in the NHL.”
Lefebvre added, “His goal is our goal. We want [Nygren] to be a very good player for our club here in Hamilton. We want him to move up (to the NHL.)”
Goaltender Joey MacDonald said that the Bulldogs should have a good combination of young players battling for positions as well as veterans like T.J. Hensick and Joe Finley saying “It’s a good situation here and I’m looking forward to it.”
Newly appointed assistant general manager Vincent Riendeau spoke about his move to a more administrative role to assist the Canadiens senior vice president Rick Dudley and assistant general manager Larry Carriere.