BOSTON — The idea of Colin White playing in the NHL at this time last season was a no-chancer.
One year later, it’s a no-brainer.
White, the 21-year-old forward from Hanover, Mass., endured the usual challenges experienced by first-year pros in 2017-18 — plus some extras, like breaking his wrist in his first preseason game. That meant a one-month delay to the start of his season, which finally began at the AHL level in early November. It took until early January for the 2015 first-round draft pick (No. 21 overall) for White to get to the NHL with Ottawa, and that was probably still too soon.
“I wanted him since the beginning of January last year,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said, “but our GM [Pierre Dorion] was smart enough to say it wasn’t the time — and he was right. [White] went down to Belleville and really developed, and by the end of the year he was ready to come up, and he played well for us.”
Re-assigned to Belleville, Ontario, in mid-February, White returned to the Senators for the last six games of the regular season. He finished the year with a two-assist effort against the Bruins at TD Garden in Ottawa’s 2017-18 finale, and has been a changed player since the start of this season.
I’ve really liked [White] through camp,” Boucher said. “He looked like a man amongst boys in our rookie camp. … He was very smart, defensively and offensively. It was a no-brainer to start the year here.“
White, who turned pro after his sophomore season at Boston College (2016-17), started this season with a bang, putting up a goal and an assist in last Thursday’s season-opening overtime loss (4-3) to the Blackhawks. Saturday’s 5-3 win at Toronto, in which White skated at right wing with No. 1 center Matt Duchene, didn’t go as well, but that didn’t worry Boucher.
“I had a good talk with him,” the coach said. “It’s fine. Everybody has those.”
White’s game on Monday was a mixed bag. He fed defenseman Thomas Chabot for what seemed like an empty-net chance until B’s forward David Backes stuck his leg out to deflect it, and he just missed the net on a chance of his own later in the first period. White’s 13-minute, 3-second outing included a perfect 5-for-5 effort on faceoffs, but he also took a penalty that led to a power-play goal by Patrice Bergeron.
“He’s developed the way we were hoping he’d be developing,” Boucher said. “Colin’s a hard-nosed, smart, reliable hockey player, and a great person, so he’s got the intangibles, too.”
Down for the count
The Bruins all but invited the Sens to cut their deficit to 3-2 late in Monday’s second period, when they started a shift in their defensive zone with only four skaters on the ice. Just as David Pastrnak made it off the bench and into the play, Ryan Dzingel was whistling a screened shot past Tuukka Rask.
“Maybe I lost a little focus, and didn’t hear it was our line, so it was my bad,” said Pastrnak, who was sitting on the bench when Bergeron took a faceoff in the defensive zone. The B’s cleared the puck briefly, but the Senators regrouped quickly and got a goal off the forecheck as Pastrnak raced back into play.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy shouldered some of the blame.
“It’s always on the coach to get the right people out there,” Cassidy said, “but by the same token, [Pastrnak’s] line was out there, and I just assumed he was on the ice … so we’ll share responsibility on that one.”
Around the boards
Boston University product Brady Tkachuk, the Senators’ first-round draft choice (No. 4 overall) over the summer, made his NHL debut, leaving no room for Weymouth, Mass.’ Paul Carey in the lineup. Carey, signed as a free agent on July 1, was recalled from Belleville and made his debut with the Sens on Saturday. … Winger Joakim Nordstrom and defenseman Steven Kampfer were Monday’s healthy scratches, but each dressed and took the ice for Opening Day introductions. … Pastrnak’s two goals pushed him to 97 for his career.
Published at Tue, 09 Oct 2018 00:27:09 +0000