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Taylor and Tyler: A look back

06.25.10 at 12:53 pm ET
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With either Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall set to join the Bruins in tonight’s NHL draft, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at what’s happened around WEEI.com in the past month with the two stars.

May 27: I spoke with Seguin about what playing in Boston may be like. We discussed his early struggles in the OHL, potentially playing wing, and his intrigue with jumping right into a push for a Cup with the Bruins. I also spoke to his coach, Mike Vellucci, who compared him to Steve Yzerman.

May 28: Peter Chiarelli gave a quote that, if read into as much as it was here, could suggest the Bruins were leaning towards Seguin.

May 28: On the very day that Seguin dominated the NHL combine, we found out why Hall was taking it easy.

May 31: Former NHL tough guy Warren Rychel, who won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche and brought Hall in as GM of the Windsor Spitfires, called the left wing a “tougher” version of Pavel Bure.

June 1: We asked you who you wanted for the Bruins. Sixty-two percent of you wanted Hall, 24 percent said they’d be happy with either, and 14 percent preferred Seguin.

June 2: We got word that the Bruins were bringing in Hall for a visit. Seguin also met with the Bruins last weekend and the team visited both players’ homes.

June 4: Peter Chiarelli said Hall and Seguin are so close that trading a large package to secure their preferred player might not be worth it. He emphasized this point several times with the media over the last month.

June 16: Chiarelli admitted that he got a very intriguing offer that stood out from the others involving the second overall pick, but rejected it. He stressed that under no circumstances would the pick be moved, saying “We’re going to take one of those two forwards.”

June 21: Chiarelli said both he and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini were hesitant to show one another their cards.

June 24: Seguin called Boston a “great place, great city.”

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,

Neely: ‘We’re waiting like everyone else’

06.24.10 at 10:08 pm ET
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New Bruins president Cam Neely was taking care of business at the NHL Board of Governors meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday, but he now has to play a waiting game like everyone else.

While the Board of Governors approved a rule change providing a five-minute penalty for a blindside hit to the head ‘€” such as that which sidelined Bruins center Marc Savard this season ‘€” Neely emerged from Thursday’€™s meeting focused on Friday’€™s draft in which the Bruins have the second overall pick.

The Edmonton Oilers have the first pick in the draft, and with it the possibility of trading down if the player they would select is different than the player the Bruins want. Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are considered locks to be selected with the top two picks, but so far, the Oilers have not indicated which player they prefer.

There has been much speculation the Oilers plan to take Hall and the Bruins would then choose Seguin, but nothing is definite at this point.

‘€œEdmonton still hasn’€™t really said anything, so nothing is etched [in stone]. We’€™re still waiting like everyone else,’€ said Neely, who was named as the Bruins President on June 16.

Neely had attended Board of Governors meetings before, but was doing so his new capacity for the firs time on Thursday.

‘€œA lot of the stuff I’€™ve been doing has not really changed that much,’€ said Neely. ‘€œObviously, a little more responsibility now, which is OK. I’€™m looking forward to the challenge.’€

Among his first duties at the Board of Governors meeting was assessing the blindside hit rule approved Thursday.

‘€œThe one concern that I have is that it’€™s still going to be a tough rule to call,’€ Neely said. ‘€œI don’€™t know if you’€™re going to get everyone happy. That’€™s the problem.’€

In response to a question regarding the Matt Cooke hit on Savard, which caused Savard to incur a significant concussion, Neely said that the hit would be illegal under the new rule, which he generally favors.

‘€œI think it’€™s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’€™s going to be some questions,’€ he said. ‘€œAt least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game. ‘€œ

Read More: Cam Neely, Marc Savard, Matt Cooke, Taylor Hall

Seguin: Boston ‘great place, great city’

06.24.10 at 6:29 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES ‘€”  About 24 hours before he is likely to be selected by the Bruins with the second overall pick in Friday’€™s NHL draft, Tyler Seguin was sitting on a terrace balcony absorbing the buzz of downtown LA. But the skilled forward had little trouble quickly shifting his vision to thoughts of  playing in Boston.

‘€œIt’€™s a great place, great city,’€ Seguin said Thursday afternoon. ‘€œWhen I went there I thought the city looked like Europe. It was so different and so beautiful. The rink was great ‘€” a nice facility and a great fan base as well.’€

While the prevailing consensus among the hockey world is that the Edmonton Oilers will select Taylor Hall with the first pick in the draft and the Bruins will then take Seguin, the Brampton, Ontario, native is still not sure how everything will unfold.

‘€œI have no idea, I think its win-win if it’€™s Edmonton or Boston,’€ Seguin said. ‘€œI’€™m not expecting anything. There could be a trade, there could be anything. It’€™s going to be a fun day tomorrow.’€

After completing a strong junior hockey season with the Plymouth Whalers, in which he scored 48 goals and generated 58 assists, Seguin emerged as the top ranked prospect by NHL central scouting. He also impressed scouts and league GMs with a strong showing at the NHL combine last month.

Seguin’s work ethic is also prevalent during the draft week. He has managed to continue his training regime despite some heavy time demands.

‘€œI went to the hotel gym yesterday and I’€™m going to go today if I have some time,’€ Seguin said. ‘€œIt’€™s a little hard right now, it’€™s been a little crazy but after tomorrow, everything will slow down a little bit and I’€™ll be able to get back to my program.’€

Oilers GM says team is ‘close’ on whom they’ll take

06.24.10 at 6:28 pm ET
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Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini said that his Oilers, who are the owners of the top overall pick in Friday night’s NHL draft, have nearly reached a decision on whom they will select in Los Angeles.

“We’re close,” Tambellini said. “But we haven’t formally sat down as a group and said, ‘This is who we’re taking.’ ”

The Oilers have Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin to choose between. Seguin is the top-ranked player according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, but many believe the gutsy winger Hall will come off the board first after an electrifying Memorial Cup performance.

With the Bruins picking second, general manager Peter Chiarelli has been in contact with Tambellini about a potential deal that would send some sort of compensation to Edmonton in order to assure Boston’s preferred  player will be available to them. The top two picks would not actually be moved in such a deal.

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Add new tag, Peter Chiarelli,

Panthers re-gifting Bruins’ pick?

06.24.10 at 5:20 pm ET
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TSN is reporting the Panthers have been actively shopping the 15th overall pick, which was the centerpiece of the package sent to them from the Bruins in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Darren Dreger of the Canadian sports outlet reports the pick is “most definitely in play” and that Oilers have been in contact with the Panthers, as they have been seeking another first-rounder to go along with the top overall pick in the draft.

Dreger says a potential deal might not happen until during the draft and that the Flames and Maple Leafs could also be interested.

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft,

Thomas chatter continues

06.24.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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All indications out of California say that Bill Zito, the agent for Tim Thomas, has been cleared to talk shop with other teams regarding a new home for the goaltender. The story was first reported by TSN and it makes all the sense in the world, given the Bruins’ tight salary cap situation and Thomas’ $5 million cap hit for the next three seasons.

It is unknown which teams may be in on Thomas, though the Lightning have been rumored to be one of them. A source told WEEI.com earlier this week that the Flyers were not among those interested. Thomas’ no-trade clause doesn’t figure to be an issue in a potential deal, as the ’08-’09 Vezina winner’s ultimate goal is to start, which he wouldn’t do in Boston due to Tuukka Rask‘s stranglehold on the job.

Read More: Tim Thomas,

Boychuk back with Bruins

06.24.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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The Bruins and would-have-been unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Boychuk have agreed to a new deal to keep the defenseman in Boston. Multiple outlets have reported it’s a two-year deal worth around $3.75 million. The deal was first reported by the New England Hockey Journal.

Boychuk had a breakout year for the Bruins last year, chipping in 15 points. He highlighted the campaign with strong play in the postseason. He was on the ice for just over 26 minutes per game, trailing only Zdeno Chara, and blocking 39 shots in 13 games. He added six points.

‘€œHe made great strides this year,’€ Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said in Marina Del Ray, Calif., where the NHL draft will take place on Friday. ‘€œHe was patient before he got into the lineup, he learned our system, he’€™s got a dimensional shot, he competes, he’€™s got size, but the biggest thing that I saw was that he improved from being the defenseman of the year in the [AHL] to being maybe our seventh [defenseman] to start [while] patiently waiting to learn along the way. We have a very good defensive system and Johnny has picked it up and showed improvement while he is in the lineup. He’€™s a good kid and he’€™s still young.’€

Boychuk didn’t have much of a desire to test free agency, he told reporters in a conference call. Though the ride from forward, to defenseman, to the NHL, to being a healthy scratch, to playing, to being on the top pairing in the playoffs was a bit hectic, returning to Boston was his priority.

“I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeingwhat was out there, but when I looked around the league, I knew what kind of position I’d be in,” Boychuk said. “Just to come back to Boston to a great coaching staff that we have there and I know a lot of the guys.

“It made it a lot easier decision knowing that we would have all these people back in boston, so that was the main factor that tipped the scale for me.”

As for his role, he anticipates being a more regular contributor with the recent trade of Dennis Wideman to the Panthers in the Nathan Horton deal.

“When they moved Dennis, obviously it maybe makes an opening for me to maybe jump into the top four and play little more minutes than being a five or six guy,” Wideman said. “When they moved him, it kind of just maybe sent a message to me saying ‘You’d better be ready to be a top four guy.’ And even if I’m not, I want to play like I am.”

Boychuk’s new deal, which carries a $1.87 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons, leaves the Bruins with $5,723,690 in cap space. Notable contracts still to be tacked on include Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin (anticipated $3.75 million), and Mark Recchi, should he return.

Graig Woodburn contributed to this report from Marina Del Ray, Calif.

Read More: Johnny Boychuk,
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