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MacDermid excelling during camp grind

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / September 23, 2011

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Lane MacDermid knows better than anyone that the helmet and skates he wears might as well be a hard hat and work boots. As long as he keeps that in mind, the young grinder will continue to please his bosses.

In Wednesday’s 2-1 exhibition loss to Ottawa, MacDermid scored the Bruins’ goal. He did so by fulfilling one of the duties required of a grunt: going hard to the net.

“I thought MacDermid played well,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “I’m talking about players, their roles, and what you expect of them. He was a good, solid player for us.’’

MacDermid, skating on a sandpaper line with Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton, gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 7:01 of the second period. Thornton handled the puck on the right side and spotted MacDermid approaching the top of the left circle.

With a rebound in mind, Thornton flung the puck on goal. As Thornton expected, Senators goalie Craig Anderson kicked out his shot, and the rebound bounced MacDermid’s way. The left wing buried the puck.

MacDermid, 22, the son of former Whaler Paul MacDermid, was the Bruins’ fourth-round pick in 2009. Last season, as a second-year pro, MacDermid had 7 goals and 12 assists in 78 games with Providence.

He also has shown that he can throw down with the big boys. Over his first two AHL seasons, MacDermid recorded 313 penalty minutes. During the 2010 preseason, he battled former NHL brawler Andrew Peters and held his own against the towering tough guy.

“I’m trying my best to fit in,’’ MacDermid said. “I’m trying to show that I can play at this level and play with these guys.’’

MacDermid is most likely headed for Providence again. He projects to be a fourth-line NHLer, which doesn’t improve his chances to make the current Black-and-Gold roster. The Stanley Cup Final served as absolute proof of how vital a strong fourth line can be, and the Bruins have one of the best in the league in Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Gregory Campbell.

But given the nature of the position, fourth-liners are at risk of injury. MacDermid could see fill-in duty if one of the wingers goes down.

“I think he’s fairly aware of the type of player he is,’’ Thornton said. “He plays to those strengths. He works hard. He takes the body when it’s there. He’s smart defensively from what I can tell. He’s done a good job.’’

Board games The postgame puzzlement of Andrew Ference and Benoit Pouliot Wednesday showed how players will need some time to sort out the NHL’s revised boarding rule. This season, a player will be called for boarding if he pushes a defenseless opponent into the boards and causes a violent or dangerous impact.

At 17:30 of the second period, Ference shoved Nick Foligno from behind into the glass and was called for boarding.

Asked why he deserved a penalty, Ference smiled and said, “I don’t know. Probably because he was facing the boards. But I’m not really sure.’’

At 3:43 of the third, as Brian Lee broke out along the left boards, Pouliot belted the Ottawa defenseman into the boards from the side and also was hit with a two-minute penalty.

“That was weird,’’ said Pouliot. “I don’t know about that penalty there. Rules every year are different. That one, I thought I hit him shoulder to shoulder. But it was a little far from the boards.

“We’ll get used to it. It will eliminate a lot of injuries, that’s for sure.’’

Seventh sense The only blue line position available on the Bruins is the No. 7 spot. On Wednesday, Matt Bartkowski staked his claim for the job.

Bartkowski led all Bruins with 25:30 of ice time. The second-year pro was credited with one shot and three hits. Bartkowski was paired mostly with Adam McQuaid, and manned the blue line on the No. 2 power-play unit alongside rookie Dougie Hamilton.

The native of Mount Lebanon, Pa., appeared in six games for the big club last year, including three against his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins. Bartkowski looked jumpy in his NHL games and struggled with his decision-making with the puck.

So far in camp, Bartkowski has been far more comfortable when the puck has been on his stick. Long-term, Bartkowski projects to be a second-pairing NHLer because of his skating, size, and two-way game.

Steven Kampfer is also in the mix for the No. 7 spot. Colby Cohen has had a good camp, but would probably be best served skating big minutes in Providence to start the year.

Weekend plans The Bruins were given yesterday off. They will host the Islanders tonight at TD Garden. After practicing tomorrow, they will have back-to-back games against the Canadiens Sunday in Halifax and Monday in Montreal . . . Tonight’s game will air on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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