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Bruins don’t convey preference for internal vs. external hire for GM

04.15.15 at 3:48 pm ET
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The Bruins do not have a preference on whether to fill their vacant general manager spot with an internal or external candidate. Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs said in a press conference Wednesday that hockey operations will report to Neely in the meantime.

“We’€™re going to take our time and go through the process and make sure we make a decision is best for the organization,” Neely said.

Assistant general manager Don Sweeney would figure to be the top internal candidate for the job. Asked whether promoting from within would bring about enough change after firing Peter Chiarelli, both were noncommittal.

“It’€™s really about what we feel is going to be best for organization,” Neely said.

Added Jacobs: “Find the best candidate. Period.”

Bruins fire general manager Peter Chiarelli, three scouts

04.15.15 at 10:56 am ET
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The Bruins announced Wednesday morning that they have fired general manager Peter Chiarelli.

The firing comes after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. The only other season under Chiarelli that the B’s failed to qualify for the postseason was 2006-07, his first with the club.

“We are grateful for Peter’s service to the Bruins organization over the last nine seasons,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a press release. “His efforts undoubtedly helped the team achieve great success during his tenure and he helped restore the proud tradition of Boston Bruins hockey. We ultimately feel that this change is necessary in order to ensure sustainable success for the club both in the short term and the long term. Our search for a new General Manager will begin immediately.”

The B’s also fired amateur scouts Mike Chiarelli (Peter Chiarelli’s brother), Denis Leblanc and European head scout Jukka Holtari.

No interim general manager has been named, though assistant general manager Don Sweeney is the most obvious internal candidate.

“Peter Chiarelli has done a tremendous job for the Boston Bruins over the last nine seasons,” Jeremy Jacobs said in a statement released later in the day. “During that time I have come to know, and like him, both professionally and personally. This decision was not an easy one for Cam and Charlie but, ultimately, the right one for this organization. They have my full support in this decision. I know Peter will move on and continue to do great things in the league and I would give him my highest recommendation.”

The highlight of Chiarelli’s tenure came in June of 2011, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in his fifth season with the team. The B’s were back in the Cup Final two years later, falling to the Blackhawks in six games.

While drafting was Chiarelli’s most notable shortcoming, his dealings with veteran players were a reason the Bruins became an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Chiarelli’s move from Ottawa to Boston inspired top free agent Zdeno Chara to do the same, while the re-signings of Chara and Patrice Bergeron prior to the 2010-11 season locked up the team’s two best players right before they led the team to the Cup.

Chiarelli was also bold with his roster management. His trade of Tyler Seguin to the Stars in the summer of 2013 did not yield a proper return for the caliber of scorer the Bruins dealt, while the Bruins’ signing of Jarome Iginla left them with millions of dead money against the salary cap this season. The cap crunch forced Boston to shed salary going into this season, with Chiarelli opting to move Johnny Boychuk because the free-agent-to-be would yield the best return of players not expected to stay in Boston long-term.

Chiarelli still has multiple years remaining on his contract. He will continue to be paid by the Bruins until he takes a job with another club.

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Torey Krug named to US Men’s National Team for World Championship

04.14.15 at 3:34 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was one of 15 players named to the US Men’€™s national team as part of the squad’€™s initial roster announcement. Team USA will compete in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’€™s World Championship May 1-17 in the Czech Republic.

Other NHL players named to the team include Marc Arcobello, Justin Faulk, Jake Gardiner, Matt Hendricks, Trevor Lewis, John Moore, Jeremy Morin, Connor Murphy, Dan Sexton and Ben Smith.

Leominster native and former University of New Hampshire forward Steve Moses was also named to the team. Moses most recently played in the KHL.

Tuukka Rask gives Bruins an ‘F’ for season: ‘If you don’t make the playoffs, you’ve failed’

04.14.15 at 10:52 am ET
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Good was not good enough.

In a nutshell, that sums up Tuukka Rask and the Bruins’ first non-playoff season since 2007. The Bruins goalie acknowledged as much in assessing what went wrong throughout a season in which the Bruins could never find a consistent groove.

Rask finished with a 34-21-13 mark in a career-high 70 games, including 64 starts, also the most ever by the 28-year-old in his eight-year career. Rask had a 2.30 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, good numbers to be sure but when you compare them to the previous three seasons (2.03 GAA, .929 save percentage), they represented a drop off, just like the team.

“Good. Not great, good,” Rask said. “Improve? Always like to improve. But I looked at my numbers and the scoring chances, and it was not obviously quite as good as last year, but it was still over 82 percent. So, that’€™s good.”

But Rask left no doubt about how he felt about the season from a team perspective when asked to give a grade for the season.

“Well, what’€™s failed, F? Because you know, if you don’€™t make the playoffs, you’€™ve failed,” Rask said. “You know, it doesn’€™t matter what happened, if you make the playoffs you’€™ve failed. I mean, if we were to make the playoffs, who knows what could have happened. So the line there is very thin, and we really felt like we had a group of guys to make a good run in the playoffs. But we failed because we didn’€™t make the playoffs and we’€™ll never find out.

“Never would have thought that I’€™d be in this situation, never been in this situation in my career before. Hopefully never have to be here again. It’€™s tough.”

After reaching the Cup finals in 2013 and the second round in ’14, Rask has a little extra time this spring to think about what went wrong.

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Brad Marchand promises missing playoffs ‘definitely something that’s going to drive us next year’

04.13.15 at 11:33 pm ET
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One of the pitfalls of success can be the false sense of comfort it provides.

Brad Marchand said Monday on wrap-up day at TD Garden that these Bruins who missed the playoffs with 96 points took winning for granted too often this season and it eventually caught up with them at the end.

This is a Bruins team that had made the playoffs in each of the first seven seasons under Claude Julien. But the run of success ended in season No. 8 as the Bruins watched their hold on the second wild card spot slip out of their hands in the final week.

“We all have to come in knowing that we have to learn from this year,” Marchand said. “We have to know that every game we have to be prepared for and we can’t have any guys taking nights off. I think too many nights we had guys not at the top of their game and most nights we could only rely on a couple of guys. We have to make sure that we all are prepared every night. That’s what we seemed to be so good at in the past. Four lines, 60 [minutes] and the goalie rolling and when we play like that and play within the system, we’re a good team.”

Having won the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the finals two years later and finishing with the best record last season, does Marchand think the Bruins took winning and success for granted too much this season?

“For sure. We definitely did,” Marchand said. “When you’re at the top, you feel like it’s going to be there all the time,” Marchand said. “It’s always going to happen. This is a big wakeup call for our team. I think now we realize how hard we have to continue to work to be at the top and get back there. It is definitely a wakeup call for us. We definitely took it a bit for granted and expected it to be there. We’re going to have to make sure we’re working hard to get back to the top.”

Marchand made the playoffs in each of his first five seasons before missing out this year.

“It’€™s obviously very disappointing. Something to really’€”it’€™s tough to describe,” Marchand said. “You have such high hopes coming into the year and obviously with this team we’€™re expected to not just make the playoffs but win the whole thing. To not be there is different. I’€™ve never missed the playoffs before in my life so it’€™s not a good feeling at all. It’€™s definitely something that’€™s going to drive us next year.”

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Bruins assign Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Zach Trotman to Providence for AHL playoffs

04.13.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Zach Trotman will play postseason hockey this spring after all, just not the way they had hoped.

The Bruins assigned all three players to Providence on Monday, which will allow the trio to play in the Calder Cup playoffs next week. The Baby B’s clinched their playoff spot last Friday.

Pastrnak, the team’s first-round pick in last summer’s draft, played 47 NHL games this season. He finished with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points. Spooner had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 29 games for Boston this season, while Trotman played in 27 games as the Bruins dealt with various injuries on the blue line.

All three players figure to be on Boston’s NHL roster next season. Trotman is on a one-way deal, while Pastrnak will be in the second year of his entry level contract. Trotman is a restricted free agent who is expected to be re-signed.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Zdeno Chara won’t need surgery, vows to return to normal self

04.13.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara‘€™s PCL may be toast, but he says he’s got a healthy offseason ahead of him.

Chara will not require knee surgery after tearing the PCL on Oct. 23 and missing nearly two months. He admitted that he wasn’€™t right when in his first 10-15 games back.

“Obviously I was not looking good and [took] a lot of criticism for that, but that’€™s the only way you can do it,” he said. “What are you going to do? You’€™ve just got to play. You’€™ve just got to go through it and eventually you play out of it. It took me a number of games, but then I started feeling better and better, made more adjustments and honestly, towards the end I had no issues. I was skating back to normal. It just takes time.”

The ligament Chara tore is pretty much destroyed — he said “œmaybe 10 percent”€ is still attached –€” but it stabilized after two or three months. Chara, who will continue to wear a knee brace, feels the PCL will not be an issue this summer.

In the final week of the season, Chara was hit twice in the left ankle by shots. He said he is in fine health now heading into the offseason.

If that’€™s true, that will be a departure from the last couple of years. Chara played through injuries until the end of the last two seasons entering this year, with a hip issue hindering him in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final and broken fingers hurting his play against the Canadiens in the second round last season.

Instead of having to recover from such injuries in a relatively short offseason, Chara now has all of the spring and summer to train. He will continue to tweak his workout plan.

This season was a step back from Chara’€™s 2013-14 season, which was one of the best of his career and deserving of the Norris Trophy (he finished second). Asked whether he can tell after a season with injuries if he is still the same player, the 38-year-old was adamant in his response.

“I am,” he said. “Believe me, I will be.”

Continued Chara: “I know there’€™s a lot of questions asked about my age and this and that, but trust me, it’€™s not an issue. If it [wasn’€™t] an issue last year, why would it be this year? One year, you’€™re not going to lose everything.

“It’€™s something that an injury did happen, and obviously, it slowed down the whole season. As much as I would like to have a great season, it’€™s not going to happen when you miss two months off the ice and then it takes another month just to get your timing back. For sure, it’€™s not ideal. It’€™s difficult to deal with, but I will find a way to be [great] again. I have no doubt to be at my top performance.”

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