|03.03.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
Call it spin or creative marketing.
But Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, while admitting frustration in not landing one of eight snipers they hoped to add before Wednesday’s trading deadline, did say the Bruins accomplished something significant that indirectly could result in a better offense.
In making two deadline-day trades while shipping one of their current defenseman and a forward out of town, they remade their blue line. The centerpiece is 28-year-old defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, a defenseman aquired from Florida, along with the rights to Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski, in exchange for forward Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second-round draft pick in this year's draft.
'I know a lot of the questions will be, 'Why didn't we get scoring?' And those are very good and valid questions. Firstly, we wanted to change the composition of our defense. I can say that was an equal priority to getting some more scoring,' Chiarelli said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Bruins sent 31-year-old defenseman Derek Morris to Phoenix for a conditional pick in the 2011 draft. On Tuesday, the Bruins added defensemen Cody Wild from Edmonton and the rights to University of Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer from Anaheim.
'I put [defense] as an equal priority because I feel that if we change the composition that will, in itself, allow us to improve from the backend out and that should result in better offensive production,' Chiarelli said. 'It allows defensemen to play in their appropriate roles and that was the motivation behind that now.'
Chiarelli said he and his staff targeted eight potential forwards around the NHL as possible acquisitions prior to the deadline but he deemed the asking price too high. Names such as Edmonton's Steve Staios, Raffi Torres, who wound up being traded from Columbus to Buffalo and Carolina's Ray Whitney, who wasn't dealt at all, were among the names rumored to be on Boston's radar.
'With regard to improving the scoring, there were some players out there and we were in on more than a couple,' Chiarelli said. 'But I guess at the end of the day, I just wasn't in a position to give what they wanted. I didn't think additions that I contemplated would produce more than marginal improvement. Hard to believe after scoring one goal [Tuesday] night, I really believe our group can score more and we will score more.'
|03.03.10 at 6:17 pm ET|
As promised, here is the rest of the transcript from the Boston media’s conference call with newly acquired defenseman Dennis Seidenberg courtesy of Bruins media relations staff
First of all I'm very glad and happy to be joining the franchise. It has a lot of history and a lot of success and I'm excited to join a team that's hopefully going to be going deep into the playoffs. I'm going to be looking forward to that.
On if he's hoping to stay in the same place for multiple seasons'¦
Well first of all, I'm really happy to be playing for the Bruins. I think, myself, I think that's what I'm looking for. I want to produce a little bit offensively. I don't know what else I'm going to do, but I'm looking forward to my time here. Over the past few years I've been traded a few times and I'd like to stay in one spot for a long period of time. If it's in Boston, great. So that's my goal for now. I'm really looking to get a long-term deal somewhere.
On if he considered signing with Boston last summer as a free agent'¦
I'm not sure if Boston was on my shopping list. Me, personally, I hadn't talked to them. There was a possibility that my agent had, but I can't remember if they were on the list. I would certainly like to have come to Boston, but there wasn't an opportunity though, or chance to do that.
On if he thought the Bruins would struggle this year, based on what he saw against them in the playoffs with Carolina last year'¦
I mean, if you look at the team, they're almost the same team that they were last year so there's no doubt in my mind that they have a chance to go deep in the playoffs again this year. What are the reasons for this year's struggle? I don't know, I haven't followed it too close. But hopefully we'll be going strong the next few games and find our position in the top eight for the playoffs.
On if he thinks Boston needs scoring help'¦
My thoughts on Boston? They're definitely a really skilled team. Last year they were scoring a ton I think, so I don't know what the reasons for this year's scoring drought is. On the other hand, I think Boston plays a really well-played system. They play smart hockey, they don't give up a lot of turnovers, they wait for the other team to make mistakes and then jump on it. I always had a hard time playing against them because they kind of wait for the other team to make mistakes and then try to use it for their advantage.
On what it was like in Florida with all the rumors and issues'¦
It was tough. Everybody knew they could have gotten traded, but at the end, we all didn't have control of what was going to happen. All we could do was just go out and play. We tried to do that and it didn't really work out as well as we would have liked to, but we at least tried to put our heads into the game and play hockey.
On if he knows Marco Sturm or anyone else on the team'¦
No, I haven't played with anybody else. Oh yeah, maybe, I played with Mark Recchi in Philly for probably two years, so I know him. When I got into the league I was 20 and he was one of the older guys so we weren't too tight but I know him. Other than Marco, it's only Rex and that's about it.
On how the trade process happened today'¦
I came to the rink, I got called in by [Panthers Head Coach] Pete DeBoer and he told me to hold tight and just wait for a couple hours because they were close to trading me. So I just waited around and then after awhile I got called up to the GM's office and told me I was traded to Boston. Then I got home, had lunch, and I was getting ready to leave.
|03.03.10 at 5:23 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli faced the music and the New England media approximately 90 minutes after the NHL trade deadline passed.
He was unable to land one of eight scoring forwards he and management had targeted to help a Bruins team that – with 150 goals – ranks dead last in offense in the NHL.
It was the great frustration of his, as he readily admitted throughout his question-and-answer session.
“As a manager, you try to separate the direct results of the team on a day-to-day basis. I wasn’t happy with [Tuesday] night and we didn’t try to react and we didn’t react today because we put a lot of planning into a bunch of these things,” Chiarelli said. “I know the fans want more scoring and they want us to have more success. So there’s my frustration. I didn’t put that in place.”
|03.03.10 at 3:47 pm ET|
Well, the 2010 NHL trade deadline has passed and the Bruins did not acquire the scorer that they probably needed to make some noise in the playoffs (let alone qualify for them). Though there were 12 deals announced after the deadline last year multiple outlets have confirmed that the Bruins are indeed done with their maneuvering.
“I am very happy to be joining a team with a lot of history an success and hope to be part of a team that goes far into the playoffs,” Seidenberg said.
Note — This reporter’s cell phone service dropped the call. A transcript of the conversation will be available soon and we will post it as soon as we can.
General manager Peter Chiarelli is set to hold his press conference at 4 p.m. at TD Garden.
|03.03.10 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A professional sports team is broken up into two parts: the front office who make the decisions and the players who actually do the competing. We have heard from the Bruins front office on Wednesday with the trade for Dennis Seidenberg and the departures of Derek Morris and Byron Bitz. For the players it is a different, more emotional type of day.
“There is still two-and-a-half hours left until the day is over,” Tim Thomas said. “But, it is meant to effect the team and hopefully it does so positively … I noticed [that there has been more nervousness in the locker room] a little bit. I noticed it yesterday, since yesterday was my first day back but I noticed it even a little bit before the break. I think there was some nervousness about it and you try your best not to think about it but that does not mean you do not think about it at all. It really does no good to think about it because no matter what way you think about it, it is not going to work out that way.”
Not many people would have suspected that the Bruins would ship out Morris and replace him with Seidenberg. Coupled with Bitz the Bruins have opened up some cap room to bring in a scoring forward later in the afternoon. There have been rumors of talks with the Blue Jackets about acquiring Raffi Torres but the cost might be a first round pick which would make it prohibitive for general manager Peter Chiarelli.
For the most part the Bruins players understand that the NHL is a business and that this team was probably looking at some type of shakeup at the deadline, but that does not mean they are numb to watching their teammates shipped out.
“Both the guys we lost were good teammates and good people,” Thomas said. “I had a lot in common with Derek and I had a lot in common with [Bitz]. They both played in the ECAC in hockey and are actually some of the only college graduates in here. It is sad to see them go but you just want to wish them the best wherever they end up being traded to.”
Defenseman Matt Hunwick learned a lot from Morris during his time in Boston.
“He was a big part, I think, in helping my game this year. I played with him in different stretches and he really added a calmness to my game. I think I really played my best hockey when I played with him and it is tough to lose a veteran defensemen that you look up to but things happen and you have to move on and remember the things that he told me and keep improving.”
As much as Morris has meant to Hunwick, the loss of Bitz touches a little closer considering that they were both first year professionals the same year with Providence and started their NHL careers with Boston last season.
“Well, it is tough,” Hunwick said. “Bitz is a great guy and someone who came up last year and helped this team and really earned his spot, that is for sure. It is always tough to see someone go especially us being first year pros together in Providence and being up last year. It is obviously tough to lose guys, especially guys who you have some history with.”
On the other end, the Bruins are acquiring a strong defenseman from the Panthers in Seidenberg who is comparable to Morris but plays a different game. Boston is familiar with Seidenberg as he was a top-four defensive pair with the Hurricanes during the playoffs last year.
“I thought he played excellent in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said. “Having said that I was focused on the puck most of the time. I was not focused so much on people … we brought him here, I am assuming, to make the team better so, I hope he can.”
Marco Sturm played with Seidenberg on the German Olympic team and knows him well.
“He is a good guy and a big strong guy, so, I think he will help us on the power play too,” Sturm said. “He has a pretty good shot, a heavy shot and blocks a lot of shots so I think he is a solid defenseman … I have known him a long time, we have played together on the national team.”
With the turnover today the Bruins have created some space under the cap. Chiarelli is still looking for a forward and for his part, Sturm does not think the Bruins are done dealing yet.
“I don’t think it was a surprise that [defensemen were traded], well, maybe a surprise that it was [Morris] but we still needed a defenseman,” Sturm said. “I still think we are not done yet.”
|03.03.10 at 12:20 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins and Panthers have worked out a deal that would send defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and the rights to Ohio State’s Matt Bartowski to Boston for forward Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and and a second round pick. the team confirmed the trade early Wednesday afternoon.
Seidenberg is likely a rental for the Bruins at this point and comes at a cheaper price and what the they were paying for Morris as he has a 2009-10 cap hit of $2.25 million, about one million less than Morris. He is known as a puck moving defenseman who is good at blocking shots. He will become and unrestricted free agent this summer and turns 29-years-old on July 18.
Seidenberg signed a one year contract with the Panthers last summer and has played in 60 games for them this season with two goals, 21 assist, a plus/minus of -3 and 33 penalty minutes. He is likely to slot right into Morris’s spot in the defensive pairings, spending some time with Zdeno Chara though more likely on the second pair with Mark Stuart.
Bitz was a bit of surprise call-up for the Bruins last season and played well enough down the stretch to earn and NHL roster spot in training camp. But the former Cornell Big Red forward has not played well this year, posting a plus/minus of -9 with four goals and five assists in 45 games. If Chiarelli does not make another move that would effect the fourth line later today look for Vladimir Sobotka to get regular playing time while Steve Begin moves to his regular forward spot and Shawn Thornton stays on the ice.
Weller, a fifth round choice in 2000 (167th overall) was acquired by the Bruins from the Wild in the Chuck Kobasew trade and is switching teams once again to join the Panthers organization.
No word yet on exactly which second round picks have been traded in the Morris and Seidenberg trades and will update when we have the information.
|03.03.10 at 11:54 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Derek Morris has confirmed that he has indeed been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes this morning by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. Morris said that he had a no-trade clause in his contract that he would only waive to rejoin the Coyotes where he played last season and owns a house. The Bruins acquired a conditional draft pick from Phoenix and freed up the remainder of Morris’s $3.3 million dollar contract he signed with the team last season.
“It has been a process over the last few days and I came here this morning and I got a call this morning from the office, from [Chiarelli] that is was going to be done and it is all done now,” Morris said.
Morris was contacted over the weekend about waiving his no-trade clause that would send him to Phoenix but the discussions were a back and forth to the point where Morris was told as early as yesterday that he would be staying in Boston.
“Yeah, I was. I was told that I wasn’t going to be traded,” Morris said. “But, you will have to ask [Chiarelli] those questions. I am obviously disappointed to leave Boston, you know? My kids are playing hockey in Charlestown and there are good people there. Once you get to Boston you realize why people stick around Boston. The people in this place are down rooted, good, wholesome people so I am disappointed to leave this place.”
At the same time, Morris does not mind going back to the American Southwest for the rest of the season.
“Yeah, the weather is nice. I am really excited to go back to Phoenix. They’ve got an amazing coach there,” Morris said. “Once this all is all done with I will be excited too.”
Morris said that he hopes the Bruins make the playoffs and would love to see a Boston/Phoenix Stanley Cup. Forgoing that unlikely scenario, Morris said he hopes Boston can win. He said the Bruins group of players is a special mix and he will miss his teammates.
“You just take to these guys,” Morris said. “These are a really good group of guys in here that really get along and really enjoy each other and like each other a lot. It was a fun locker room to come into and a tough one to leave … Obviously it is shock a little bit. You never expect to be traded and you don’t expect. Obviously disappointed more than anything.”
Morris said that he would love to be with the Coyotes tomorrow in Colorado but does not know what his immediate plans are.
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