|05.22.14 at 10:00 am ET|
The Canucks confirmed Wednesday that they have hired Jim Benning away from the Bruins to serve as their general manager. He will be introduced at a Friday press conference.
Benning, 51, was the assistant general manager for the Bruins. The Edmonton native joined the B’s as director of player personnel in 2006 after spending 12 years in the Sabres organization.
Benning replaces Mike Gillis (a former Bruins forward), who was fired last month by new Canucks president Trevor Linden after the team finished 12th in the Western Conference with a 36-35-11 record. Coach John Tortorella also was fired.
Benning, a defenseman, and Linden were teammates on the Canucks in the late 1980s, although Linden said they had not been in touch since then.
“There were moments of clarity for me in speaking with Jim that we just really connected on a hockey level,” Linden said in a story on the team website. “Our beliefs on how success is built in the National Hockey League were very aligned.”
Added Linden: “Jim is an extremely hard worker, he recognizes how much commitment it takes to build a championship team. He’s a guy that doesn’t have an ego, I think he’s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work, and he’s a very down to earth dedicated person, so he’s going to fit great in the structure with the organizational values that we want to create here. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
|05.20.14 at 2:55 pm ET|
With a talented core and a young group of complimentary players in the fold, Bruins management and ownership feels there won’t be a drop-off in performance for while.
As a matter of fact, owner Jeremy Jacobs, son Charlie and team president Cam Neely said Tuesday during their season-ending media availability that there’s no reason to think the Bruins aren’t poised for another run at the Stanley Cup in 2015.
“[There’s] a tremendous amount of confidence in our both on-ice leadership and off-the-ice leadership,” Charlie Jacobs said. “A lot of character in our dressing room, and it starts with Zee [Zdeno Chara], but listen ‘ there are a lot of complimentary pieces, and when you consider Patrice [Bergeron] and Krech [David Krejci], and we may have lost something with Andy Ference but we picked it up with Jarome [Iginla]. And then there’s a lot of character and leadership, and they held each other accountable, and you saw in your exit interviews ‘ they all felt as though they maybe didn’t necessarily play their best but they let the team down, and that meant more to them than, say, their individual stats. And I think that speaks volumes about the mentality in the locker room itself, and that’s what you aspire to have.”
The Bruins reportedly did suffer a bit of a hit Tuesday with word that assistant general manager Jim Benning has been named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing the fired Mike Gillis.
“In terms of our organizational leadership, I think with Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli] and Don Sweeney and Jim [Benning], they’ve done a great job of really trying to assemble a mixture of both veteran and some young leadership to bring us back to the promised-land,” Charlie Jacobs added. “And you need that mix. You need the right mix. We maybe erred a bit, a little bit, in terms of having too many inexperienced defensemen. If you think about it, really only two of them ‘ two veterans on the back line this postseason. But as my dad referred to, that will pay dividends as you progress moving forward. So listen, I have great faith in both aspects. I do believe we’ll be right back there. I expect that we’ll be back there. Stranger things have happened, but I hope we start right out of the gate where we left off in March, not necessarily at the end of April.”
|05.20.14 at 2:40 pm ET|
Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday at TD Garden to wrap up media availability for the 2013-14 season.
Though little news emerged from the press conference, Neely did say that the team has not discussed using compliance buyouts on any of their players. Peter Chiarelli vowed not to use them last season, and Neely hinted the same might go for this offseason.
“We haven’t talked about that, no,” Neely said.
Teams are not allowed to buy out injured players, so even if the team wanted to buy out a veteran like Chris Kelly (two more years with a $3 million cap hit), the herniated disc that caused him to miss the playoffs could get in the way of such a move.
One thing discussed annually at these press conferences is the status of the team’s next practice facility, and Charlie Jacobs gave little update.
“We just had a meeting about our practice facility and [there are] a couple of different options,” Jacobs said. “[It’s] best that I keep where we’re at right now a little close to the vest and say that we are moving along, and pursuing two distinct possibilities, both within 15 miles of the rink here.”
The two possibilities are believed to be the facility being built in Brighton next to the New Balance building and a potential facility that would be built next to the Garden.
Here are some of the other topics that were discussed:
– Neely wasn’t a fan of his team getting itself in hot water during the playoffs, such as on Milan Lucic‘s spear of Danny DeKeyser, Shawn Thornton squirting P.K. Subban with a water bottle and Lucic’s threats during the handshake line at the end of the second round.
“You don’t like to see that happen,” Neely said. “The stick work is something that, you know, now-a-days you just can’t get away with. There’s two referees, there’s all kinds of cameras, there’s reporters that tweet information out as soon as it happens. You can’t get away with certain things like you used to be able to do. The water bottle incident is something that as an organization you don’t like to see happen to be quite honest with you. Stick work happens, it’s not just our team that does it, it does happen. I can tell you this, in handshake lines there’s probably worse things that have been said that just don’t get public. In the history of handshake lines, I can almost guarantee that.”
– Neely defended the lack of movement at the trade deadline. The team tried trading for Alexander Edler, but that deal fell through and the team had to settle for Andrej Meszaros, a depth player who served mostly as a healthy scratch in the postseason.
“I can speak to what we tried to do at the deadline. Not in detail, but with what was available and how we thought we wanted to add as opposed to add and subtract, we thought we had something in place but it was predicated on another team making a deal and it didn’t pan out,” Neely said. “But again, we were going through that really good stretch of hockey and we thought we really just needed to add some depth and if a player with term became available, like the one we were trying to acquire, it would have been a bonus for us. But obviously I don’t think that is the full reason why we didn’t get past the second round, to be honest with you.”
– Jarome Iginla is the biggest name on the team set to hit free agency. Because of the cap penalties the team will have to pay for his one-year deal from last season, the Bruins’ best shot at keeping him is to get him to take another one-year, bonus-padded contract. Neely would like the player to return.
“I thought he started out a little slow when he came on, he came on late and he came on strong,” Neely said of Iginla. “Obviously he’s a leader, he’s the captain of another team for a long time and he came in and added in an element to our group, especially the forward group. He ended up scoring 30 goals which is not easy in this league anymore and we would like to try and see if we can figure something out moving forward with him. We will see where that goes but I thought he fit in really well with our team.”
– Neely didn’t say where things stand with Thornton, though he did echo Peter Chiarelli’s sentiments about there being less of a place in the NHL for fighters.
“I still believe that we like the physical game and physical play which at times leads to dropping the gloves,” Neely said. “But there’s always been a lot of talk, primarily with the media, about you know, ‘is fighting still necessary in our game?’. I think with the way the game’s played and how it is played and how physical it is, I still feel it is still part of the game. But where it goes, you see from like 70s, 80s, 90s, it’s a little different or probably still trend that way, yes.”
|05.20.14 at 2:14 pm ET|
When Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills in April, after the passing of longtime owner Ralph Wilson, Bruins fans wondered if that meant the end of his stewardship of the NHL franchise.
Tuesday, during a 25-minute address to reporters at TD Garden, Jacobs made it clear that he has no such intentions and is quite happy as the owner of the “Original Six” franchise.
“Well, I can’t buy the Bills, because I own the Bruins,” Jacobs said, referring to the NFL by-laws that prohibit owning teams in different cities. “That’s not a bad place to be. I kind of like where I am.”
Jacobs is among the wealthiest and most successful businessmen in the world, owning the Delaware North Companies, with an individual net worth of approximately $3.1 billion. Jacobs was initially among a group of several Western New York businessmen reported to be interested in the Bills. Another businessman reportedly interested was real estate tycoon Donald Trump.
Jacobs has owned the Bruins since 1975. Jacobs also represents the club on the NHL‘s Board of Governors and serves on its Executive Committee. At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in June 2007, Jacobs was elected Chairman of the Board, replacing the Calgary Flames‘ Harley Hotchkiss.
Jacobs made changes in management of the Bruins, with the retirement of veteran team president Harry Sinden from active management of the team into an advisory capacity. New management included Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien. Cam Neely, who was on the dais Tuesday with Jacobs and Jacobs’ son Charlie, was also lured back to the new organization and subsequently named as President of the team.
Since 2008, the Bruins have made playoffs every year, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the Cup finals in 2013 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy this past season as the team with the best record and most points (117).
|05.20.14 at 2:12 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Canucks will hire Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning as their new GM this week.
Benning has been an assistant GM under Peter Chiarelli since 2006, and it became evident he wasn’t long for Boston this season when he was interviewed for the Sabres general manager job this season. Though he missed out on the Buffalo job, he was long believed to be the front-runner in Vancouver once Trevor Linden was named Canucks team president. Dreger’s report suggests that Benning could try to hire former Predators coach Barry Trotz to replace the recently fired John Tortorella.
Bruins president Cam Neely said Tuesday that a potential loss of Benning is the cost of being successful.
“We have given permission for Jim to talk. He has talked to a couple different teams,” Neely said. “That’s what happens when you have success. Teams look at other organizations that have success and start inquiring about your management group. It’s something that a lot of good organizations have had to deal with over time and we are dealing with that right now.”
Said Jeremy Jacobs: “I think that it speaks to what’s now become sort of the Boston model. People do want to copy what you’re doing because of the success we have seen and we didn’t win this year, and got to the Finals the year before and all. These are enviable positions to be in. I love being here after a season like we just had. Disappointment in the playoffs and our objective is the Cup, it isn’t necessarily to have the best team during the regular season as it is to win the Stanley Cup. We will continue that objective and I think we will continue to grow from here.”
Benning will still have a connection to the Bruins, as his nephew, Matt Benning, was a sixth-round pick of the team in 2012. Matt Benning is currently a defenseman at Northeastern University.
|05.17.14 at 3:30 pm ET|
When teams win, every player is appreciated in some way, shape or form. Even Tomas Kaberle ended up positively impacting Boston’s Stanley Cup run with a big assist on Michael Ryder‘s first goal of Game 4 against the Canadiens, and when the Cup was raised, all was forgiven.
When teams lose, it’s a different animal, and underperforming players might have reason to worry about their future.
Of the Bruins’ biggest names under contract, Brad Marchand might be most likely to hear his name pop up in trade chatter. He’s relatively young (26) and on a pretty good contract (three more years with a $4.5 million cap hit in each), but after an up-and-down regular season and a goose-egg in the goal column for the entire postseason, his future with the Bruins is no sure thing. If there is a bigger move for Peter Chiarelli to make, Marchand would be a logical candidate to be moved.
This isn’t the first time Marchand’s had to wonder about whether his time with the B’s was coming to an end. When Tyler Seguin was traded last summer, Marchand wondered if he might be on the move too. On Friday, he reiterated that point and said he hopes to stay in Boston.
“A guy as talented as Segs gets traded at such an early age and it’s an eye-opener for everyone,” Marchand said. “I don’t know. Hopefully I’m not going anywhere, but that’s up to management and the coaching staff. I guess we’ll see.”
Though Marchand is viewed universally as a pest, he’s one of Boston’s best players when at the top of his game. A plus two-way player, Marchand is fast, has underrated hands and kills penalties.
Yet when factoring in Marchand’s quiet end to the last postseason, the pesky forward has now gone 20 playoff games without a goal. That’s not good enough for a player who should be expected to score 25 to 30 goals a season (he scored 25 this season after recovering from a dreadful start that saw him score just three goals in the first 25 games of the season).
“It’s very tough,” Marchand said of his postseason shortcomings. “You really want to perform and help the team. Playoff time is when you need to be big and you need to produce. I wasn’t able to accomplish that this year. I’ll have to focus even harder for next year.”
Marchand was the victim of a horrendous call in Game 7 of the second round of the Canadiens, as he was called for goaltender interference when Andrei Markov cross-checked him in the head, sending him into Carey Price.
As frustrating as that “reputation call” may have been, Marchand — admittedly, to his credit — has earned the reputation to get those bad calls. Reputation calls aren’t given to players who take a lot of penalties; they’re given to players who get away with a lot of stuff that refs don’t always see, such as his punch to the head of Tomas Plekanec before a faceoff that went uncalled.
“It’s frustrating, but I dug that hole for myself and I’ve got to live with it,” Marchand said after Game 7.
If the Bruins were to move Marchand, it would be interesting to see what kind of return he would yield. After being eliminated by the speedier Canadiens and assuming they’ll have to face them at some point most years in the playoffs with the new playoff format, Boston should be in no hurry to remove more speed from its top two lines.
Still, depending on what the B’s could get back and whether it could save them some money against the cap (re-signing Jarome Iginla to anything but a one-year, bonus-laden deal seems to be their only bet at retaining Iginla unless they shed salary), anything might be worth exploring for Chiarelli.
|05.16.14 at 6:45 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton‘s future with the Bruins is murky at best, as he was not told that he wouldn’t be re-signed Friday, but Peter Chiarelli did not tell him the team plans to retain him.
Thornton, a free agent, wants to play another two years. His preference is to play in Boston, so the sense is that if the Bruins will have him back, he’ll return. If they don’t want him, he won’t. Chiarelli told Thornton that he needs to look at some things before he decides whether the team will make him an offer.
“Thorty I thought had a kind of up and down year,” Chiarelli said. “He got, obviously, the incident with Pittsburgh and you know, there’s trends in hockey and the fisticuffs trend — again, this doesn’t characterize Thorty as just a fighter because he contributed on that [fourth] line.
“That line has had a lot of success in the past, but there is definitely, we’re trending away from that style. I had a discussion with Thorty this morning and I said, ‘Look, give me a couple weeks to digest what’s happened and then we’ll go from there.’ That same comment applies to [Jarome Iginla]. I haven’t talked to the other [unrestricted free agents] yet but to Iggy and Thorny so far.”
Iginla is a free agent as well. He played this season on a one-year deal in which the Bruins were able to pay him bonuses that will go against next year’s cap in order to save money on this year’s cap. The team can keep doing that on Iginla, but only on one-year deals.
Iginla, who tied for the team lead with 30 goals in the regular season and led the team with five postseason goals, said he does not wish to negotiate publicly, so he was generally tight-lipped about what he wants. He did say that at age 36, he still feels he can play a while longer.
“I still want to play for a while before I quit. I’ll push myself to be better and there are no issues,” he said. “I loved playing here with the guys and there’s a great chance for next year for the Stanley Cup. They keep getting better with the young guys that they have, Dougie [Hamilton] and [Matt Bartkowski]. The core is still young. There’s lots of reasons. Very fortunate if I can be back here.”
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