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Dougie Hamilton diary: It's fun to come to the rink again

HamiltonBruins defenseman Dougie HamiltonBruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In this edition, he talks about what David Pastrnak has brought to the team, how winning has changed the team’s mentality, and what he thinks about the Patriots' playoff run. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)

Having a team that is healthy is big for us. We went through most of the start of the season missing guys. I think now we’re pretty fortunate to have everyone back and feeling good. It’s definitely going to help us. But when you go through games without some of your big players it helps as well because you learn things from that. Hopefully we can continue to play hard and get wins.

Another reason we’ve been winning lately is we have a good, positive attitude right now. It is helping our energy. Just coming to the rink is more fun. Guys are enjoying themselves. There was a time when we were losing games that it was tough to come to the rink. We were having a lot of meetings and video sessions. We kind of changed the attitude to become a little bit more positive. I think that maybe helped us.

When we had that stretch of losing games in overtime it was tough. You’re so close and those game could have gone either way. You get a bounce and suddenly you win instead of lose. Same thing with the shootout, you know it could go either way. We tried to take some positives from that. We kept trying to win and finally got one against the Penguins and have gone on from there.

Why did we struggle in December? I don’t know. I’m not sure any of us know. If we knew, we would have changed things earlier. But yes, you hear the trade rumors and how our owner wasn’t happy with our play. It was tough with all the negativity surrounding the team and maybe it got into the locker room a little bit. I don’t know if that kind of stuff motivates us, but I know guys are aware of it. At the same time, you’re playing for each other as a team. You’re trying to be accountable and do things for the guy next to you. I think you can’t worry about trades or anything like that. It’s more about working for one another.

We also got a spark when David Pastrnak got called back up here. He brings energy with his skill and speed and dynamic play. He has good hands. He’s smart and sees the ice well. He’s been a help to our team as he scored his first goal and then a few more. It’s been fun for me to have him here as well. It’s another young guy and one I can call a friend now. It’s been fun having him back. Everyone who has watched us lately knows how well he’s been playing. I think he’s only going to get better. He’s already improved in the short time he’s been here. From game one to now, he’s improved a lot. He can definitely contribute to this team. We’re happy to have him here.

On the ice, I think he’s doing great so far. I haven’t really seen him need any help. He’s only been here a little while though. The hardest thing about playing in this league is the schedule can be tough. It can be a grind. He’s doing great right now and I don’t think needs help from anyone. Off the ice, he’s lived away from home since he was about 15. He’s fine there too. He’s doing everything right. I’m just happy to have him here and hang out with him. It’s been a quick friendship that we’ve been able to make. It’s been fun to play with him and hang out with him.

Pastrnak’s first goal was against Philadelphia. Mine was against Buffalo with Ryan Miller in net. It was a power-play goal. I can remember it pretty clearly. I don’t think you forget your first goal. I was fortunate to have some family and friends at the game as well. It was a pretty special feeling. The puck is in my room back home in Canada. I don’t really give it too much of a pedestal, but it’s cool to have. Right now it might not matter a whole lot, but someday it will be something my kids will like.

Pastrnak started off as my road roommate but then it got switched around a little bit when Seth Griffith was up because there were three of us. Then he was down at World Juniors for a little bit. But now it’s just me and him again, so we’ll be roommates. Let me explain this whole road roommate deal to you. When you’re on your entry-level contract, you have a roommate. Right now, just me and Pastrnak are on our entry levels. This will actually be my last year with a roommate. There are times when there are three guys here that are all on entry-level contracts. Obviously there’s not three guys in a room. One guy get his own then.

Sometimes I like having a roommate on the road, especially when you’re bored. But at the same time, it’s nice to kind of keep your routine. If your routine doesn’t match your roommate's, it can make things a little bit tougher. I don’t really care that much. I try to go with the flow.

I’m the older guy now. I get to decide things a little bit more. Like when I used to room with Tyler Seguin in my first year, I would let him decide what’s on TV and do what he wanted. I guess that’s just the way it works. Now, I get control of the remote and things like that. But personally, I don’t ever care about that. There’s not really too many things that I would say, “Hey don’t do this.” Like I said, I try to go with the flow.

We have to talk a little football, don’t we? Football is bigger than you think in Canada. I like to watch it. With our schedule, we miss some games on Sundays. I am looking forward to the games this weekend. Also, I really enjoyed the College Football Championship game. I hope the games this weekend are as exciting as that.

We flew back on Saturday and missed the first little bit of the Patriots game, but then a couple of us went to Lincoln to watch the second half. While I haven’t been to any Patriots games, I have met a few players at different events. While I don’t consider myself an NFL analyst, as a Boston fan I think it would be a lot of fun to see the Patriots keep playing and moving on to the Super Bowl. I’ll be cheering for them. We’ll all be cheering for them. The same goes for the Celtics and the Red Sox. When you come here, you start to cheer for those teams. It’s fun to see the players and what they go through compared to you. I’ve enjoyed making friends with some that I’ve been able to meet. It’s fun to watch and cheer for the other Boston teams.