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Transcript: Bruins Media Day Press Conference

09.28.09 at 9:28 pm ET
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The Boston Bruins held their pre-season media today this morning. The session started with a press conference panel of owner Jeremy Jacobs, principal owner Charlie Jacobs, head coach Claude Julien, general manager Peter Chiarelli, and vice president Cam Neely. The transcript from the press conference is below.

Pressure to live up to last year’s 116 points within the sports culture of Boston?

Jeremy Jacobs: Simple answer? Yes. There is an expectation on my part and the community at large. I share the same goal, my ambition is to win a Stanley Cup and I think we have the personalities in place from management, coaching and players. So, I look for a great season and will be disappointed if there is anything less than that.

How impressed are you with the brain trust that has been put together in the front office? 

Jeremy Jacobs: I think he [Peter Chiarelli] has done a great job. We’ve extended our relationship and our contract and I expect that we are building on something. Every body here [the media] are all totally and justifiably critical when we stumbled at first but we got it going and stayed with it and I think the organization is working really well and I think there are personalities in place to run it.

On sending Brad Marchand and Zach Hamill down and the depth of the organization.

Chiarelli: I think both of them have had tremendous camps and I told Zach this morning that, we had talked about him playing at the rookie tournament and when some of the other guys just didn’t play. That was good thing that he did, you could see it in how he played in the main camp. I said that most importantly it was the work he did in the development camp, the summer camp, so you have to build on it when you go down to Providence. I told him he had a good camp. I told him he has to work on his battles when he goes down low and I thought the speed caught up to him a little bit at the end.

When I talked to Brad I told him that he had a very good camp and that he was on the right track and while his game is always simple, sometimes down in Providence it tended to get a little complicated and we tried to fix that and he tried to fix it during the camp. So, two young kids, both speak well for the future.

Those guys and the guys we assigned down on Saturday. I like our depth here. It is in different sorts, it’s not just a finesse player here or something but players that can fill in different capacities. 

On health situation at the start of the year.

Chiarelli: As of today, I haven’t talked to the training staff, but as of today I believe we will be pretty healthy at the start of the year unless something were to happen between now and then. You hear of a lot of these teams with groins and hips and, you know, it was a condensed training camp this year and we had maybe one more game than maybe we wanted to. So, I think Claude [Julien] can speak to this, but I think the off day yesterday was good and I think we will get some productive work in between now and the start of the year.

On having first five games at home.

Julien: Well, first of all I think the first part of the season is probably more important no matter whether you are on the home or on the road than most people think and it’s been brought to our attention every year that teams in good shape on Thanksgiving are usually the teams that end up in the playoffs. So, we are aware of that and the important-cy of getting off to a good start but even more so this year in front of our fans. No doubt the first five games in front of our fans will be crucial in their minds.

Filling Phil Kessel’s Shoes.

Julien: We are confident with the team that we have here, no doubt. We have Marco Sturm back and healthy so, as a group we are a strong team. We fell stronger as well with some young guys having matured and Marco Sturm in as I mentioned he was out most of last year. David Krejci is ahead of the curve right now and we’re hopefully looking forward to seeing him in the opener. All in all I think our team is in great shape. Tuuka Rask is going to be a great goaltender to support Tim [Thomas].

We’re very confident and I think this Kessel issue for us is in the past and we’re moving forward. 

Addition of ECHL Redding team helping the organization.

Chiarelli: We will providing some players there as those who won’t be on Providence. So, anytime you can expand your organization depth wise it’s going to help in the long run. I think we are probably going to provide two or three players there, so, it is a good addition. The last few years we have had east coast affiliates and I think they are affiliated with a couple other teams so they have good staff there and good for the development of our young guys.

On what the race for the conference will look like.

Julien: I am not one to look at these situations as a whole and just sit there and say that we have to be at the top. I think we have to work our way to the top, just like we did last year. There is nothing different except that the challenge will be bigger. There is more respect towards our team this year so obviously there are teams around our conference who are certainly improved. Philadelphia is one of those teams with [Chris] Pronger on the back end, they are certainly going to be a better team. I don’t think I am going to spend all my energy worrying about what’s on the outside. I think it’s important to worry about your back yard and for me it is about the preparation of our team. I have said all along that if teams want to beat us, they are going to have to adapt to us, because we are not going to adapt to others. We play our style of game and we feel confident with it and we will go forward with it as well.

Patrice Bergeron has an extra bounce to his skates this pre-season?

Julien: I think Patrice has taken off where he left off last year. You know, he went through a lot and we were patient and helped him along the way to find his game again but what he went through is something that you don’t want to see again and I think he had a great second half and even the playoffs. I have mentioned that before, he was one of our best forwards in the series. I think he was excited about it when he left here last year and is excited about coming back and I think that is a continuation of what you saw last year.

For someone who has played in the finals twice, what does this team need to do to reach that mark?

Neely: We just need to learn from last year. As a player you learn from the experiences you go through. I think when we got to the finals in 1988 it was the first time for a lot of us to be in the finals and I think a lot of us, including myself, were thrilled to be in the finals. Then, in ’90, we understood what happened in ’88 and we don’t look at it like we are excited to be in the finals. You have to remember two years ago, for a lot of our players it was their first time being in the playoffs and a lot of our key players, it was the first time for them. So, the learned from that series and took it a little bit further last year and what I always have these guys try to remember is how it felt to win those games and how it felt to lose that final game and you can learn from that. I think we have a lot of guys that know we should have gone a little deeper than we did and I think they’re hungry to get back to that challenge to go a little deeper.

Will the team be actively searching the waiver wire as the league wide roster cut deadline looms? 

Chiarelli: Waiver acquisition that we’d look at? You basically react to that. You have a general idea of who is going to be on and we will look at who is on today. We will see who is up there and I suspect we will see some activity as far as trading players, for teams that are under cap crunches. So, I will be fielding some calls but I don’t anticipate anything happening.

On Versus and Direct TV customers not seeing opening night.

Jeremy Jacobs: I think you are right, it doesn’t look good. The commissioner and everybody in the league office is doing what they can do but the situation is not within our control. We know how unhappy the whole hockey world is. I think the best thing is that everybody should be put on notice that if they want to watch our game with what the circumstances are, if they want to watch our game get to a location where they can see it from. Right now it does not look good to be broadcast. They are moving at glacial speed.

Giving Sturm a try out on the top line with Savard considering how the speedy Kessel played there. 

Julien: We’d certainly like, to a certain extent, put some speed again on that wing and Marc is good at finding those guys so we will give those guys a try. Like I mentioned through training camp there is nothing carved in stone. We are going to put the best lines together as we can possibly find and if that means tweaking them and moving them around we will until we find the right combination. I think right now it is worth having a look at and Marco has played the off wing before and he feels comfortable there as well so, again, there is a guy who hasn’t played in a while so we have to take that into consideration whether he’s on top of his game or whether he is trying to find it again.

With the stable situations in the front office and on the ice, what are the tweaking points that could be made during the season?

Chiarelli: Structurally I do not foresee anything. I mean, we always exchange ideas and philosophies where we hope to improve the communication between the management, the coaching staff and the team. We always look to improve. I can’t tell you anything that we haven’t told you already, I know there are some themes that Claude and I have talked about that we want to impress on the team all year. Besides that, I am happy where we are at. We always look to improve but there will nothing really significant from within the management group.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Claude Julien

Cusick ceremony at Oct. 3 Bruins game

09.28.09 at 5:40 pm ET
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Boston Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs announced during Monday’s Bruins Media Day festivities that the club will honor Bruins legendary play-by-play commentator Fred Cusick during the second period of the team’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, October 3.

During the first media timeout of the second period, the club will dedicate the Bruins home TV broadcast booth to Cusick by renaming it the “Fred Cusick Broadcast Booth.” The club will also install a silver microphone centered in a black and gold frame on the TD Garden’s level 9 façade beneath the home TV broadcast booth.

“His memory will always live in on in the hearts and minds of Bruins fans, and we feel that these permanent dedications to Fred will memorialize and honor his contributions to the Bruins, for fans and media to see,” said Jacobs.

Cusick passed away on September 15, 2009 after serving as the play-by-play commentator for the Bruins for 45 years before retiring in 1997.

Read More: Charlie Jacobs Boston Bruins, Fred Cusick,

Krejci likely to play in B’s opener

09.28.09 at 2:32 pm ET
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With Zach Hamill and Brad Marchand both dropped down to Providence, it’s expected that David Krejci will be able to skate in Thursday night’s season-opener against the Washington Capitals. Krejci was at his customary position centering a line of Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, and B’s coach Claude Julien took as a great sign when his young pivot took part in all drills at practice.

Both Marco Sturm (groin) and Steve Begin (groin) also skated a full practice on Monday morning at the TD Garden, and neither player felt any health restrictions during the session.

“It’s a positive because nobody told me they had to get off [the ice] and they’re doing fine,” said Julien, referencing all three players battling assorted bumps and bruises. “They’re doing fine. Krejci is fine and he’s been practicing with us for close to a week now. The other two guys had small groin issues, and with a day off yesterday — and giving them a few days to heal before that — it’s going to help us Thursday.

“[Krejci] is day-to-day, and I’ll still put him at 50-50 for Thursday. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Today was a little more gritty for him at times with 3-on-3 down low. We made sure that guys finished their checks on him and made sure he’ll feel comfortable. I think a lot of it is feeling comfortable [mentally].”

• Vladimir Sobotka couldn’t keep the smile from his face after learning that he had made the final roster after a training camp effort that improved with each passing day. The young Czech Republic forward pointed to a conversation he had with Julien that helped him relax and begin playing his game — a mix of puck skills and controlled aggression.

“I’m glad I could stay here and get this opportunity. I just have to keep it simple,” Sobotka said. “The last three games I felt less pressure on me and I didn’t put it on myself. I didn’t try to do too much on the ice and it helped me. I wanted to try to score two goals every game, you know, and it wasn’t working.

“[Julien] told me to play like I did two years ago and I’d be good. I try to play without minuses, the coaches don’t like that. Try to score some goals, keep it simple and play my game.”

• Chris Bourque has made the Washington Capitals’ final roster after a competitive training camp, and he’ll be taking shifts at his hometown rink on Thursday night for the first time as an NHL player.

Read More: Chris Bourque, David Krejci, Vladimir Sobotka,

Hamill, Marchand are final B’s camp cuts

09.28.09 at 10:07 am ET
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Bruins rookies Zach Hamill and Brad Marchand were both assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins on Monday morning in the final cuts of training camp. Both youngsters showed promise and impressed B’s officials throughout the two-week camp: Marchand had a pair of goals in five games and Hamill potted two goals in six preseason games. Both youngsters should be among the first players recalled should injuries hit the B’s in the first few months of the season.

The two moves are pretty clear indicators that both Vladimir Sobotka has made the team and David Krejci’s surgically repaired hip is pretty close to ready for game action. The moves leave the Bruins with a total of 22 players for the club’s final NHL roster when the regular season opens against the Capitals on Oct. 1.

‘Tuukka Time’ is finally coming to Boston

09.26.09 at 10:51 pm ET
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Tuuka Rask has won the backup goaltender position with the Bruins, and will commence 'Tuukka Time' immediately

Tuuka Rask has won the backup goaltender spot with the Bruins, and will commence 'Tuukka Time' immediately

With a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets still fresh in his mind, rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask still couldn’t hide his excitement at winning a spot on the Bruins regular season roster Saturday afternoon. The B’s announced that Dany Sabourin was being sent down to Providence prior to the game, and that meant a goalie competition — one that was fairly one-sided – was officially over.

One short season ago Rask had the best camp of any Bruins goaltender, but was busted down to the AHL for seasoning with veterans Thomas and Manny Fernandez on the roster. It was difficult for the 22-year-old to hide his frustration on his way down, but things couldn’t be more opposite this time around as Thomas’ understudy.

“[I'm] really excited,” said Rask. “This is something that I’ve been working toward. I feel for [Sabourin] because I was in the same spot last year. Obviously it’s fun to be here, and I’ve been hoping for it to happen. It’s good that it happened.

“It’s a little different feeling [this year]. You can imagine what it feels like when you have a good camp and then you’re sent down. But if that’s the way things are you’ve got to get over it.”

The young goalie clearly was battling with a fatigued team in front of him playing its sixth game in eight nights, but there were flashes of exactly what he’ll bring to the table this season on Saturday night. He’s bigger and plays a much more silent game between the pipes than his Vezina Trophy-winning partner, and he managed 31 saves against a Blue Jackets team piling on Grade A chances over the final 30 minutes of play.

“When you looked at the way [Tuukka] played in those first few exhibition games, it was clear he had improved a lot from what I saw last year,” said Claude Julien. “Personally from what I saw in the playoffs in Providence the year before, he had collapse a little bit. Especially in that last game.

“Mentally he’s become stronger and physically he’s become stronger and he’s in a lot more control. He’s got a lot more experience and he’s the right fit for us. Tonight, I think he played well. Didn’t have much help in front of him. We’re confident in him, and he’s going to play. We all know Timmy is not a goaltender that will play 70, or 75 games. Tuukka will need to come in and do the job, and we’ll confident in him.”

Rask was never more impressive than when he completely stone-walled Russian sniper Nikita Filatov skating in all alone for golden opportunity in the third period. There was no panic or quick movements, and Rask didn’t allow any holes for Filatov to pick at as he came speeding toward the cage. Rask won’t be required to play any more than 30-35 games in his first season backing up Thomas, but the 6-foot-2, 171-pounder is ready to fill whatever role comes his way.

“I’m really excited for Thursday and to get things going,” said Rask. “We’ve just got to get this train going on the right track. Just get a good start and never look back.

“The job I’m given, I’m going to try the best I can and help this team. You want to do your best and simply help the team. That’s all I can do. I feel like I’ve been this team for two weeks now, and it feels good.”

Read More: Dany Sabourin, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,

Bruins cut down to 24 players on camp roster

09.26.09 at 8:35 pm ET
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The Bruins announced a series of expected roster cuts prior to the Columbus Blue Jackets game that trimmed the training camp roster down to 24 players. The particular players sent down to Providence indicated that heralded rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask has won the backup goaltender’s spot, and that both Brad Marchand and Zach Hamill are in the running for final roster spots.

Hamill could stick with the club for Boston’s first few games if David Krejci isn’t quite ready to play Thursday night as he comes back from right hip surgery. Marchand and Sobotka were in a competition for a spot earlier in camp, but it appears that Sobotka has won himself a job with three strong performances at the end of the preseason.

“It’s important for these guys to come in and — whether they’re with us at the beginning of the year — at least know we can call them up and feel comfortable with their play,” said B’s coach Claude Julien

The Bruins are down to 24 players, but will pare down to either 23 or 23 bodies when they announce their final roster for the Oct. 1 season debut against the Washington Capitals. Here are the most recent cuts for the B’s:

The following six players have been waived for the purpose of assignment to Providence: Drew Fata, Drew Larman, Guillaume Lefebvre, Dany Sabourin, Trent Whitfield and Andy Wozniewski. Mikko Lehtonen, Jeff LoVecchio and Adam McQuaid have been assigned to Providence. Kirk MacDonald has been returned to Providence. Zach McKelvie, Levi Nelson and Yannick Riendeau remain injured, non-roster players.

Bruins name Sweeney to Assistant GM post

09.26.09 at 7:26 pm ET
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Former B’s defenseman Don Sweeney was named Assistant General Manager of the Bruins on Saturday afternoon in a promotion from his former titles of Director of Player Development and Director of Hockey Operations. Sweeney will serve in tandem with Assistant General Manager Jim Benning and the duo will split the different business and hockey operations duties encompassed in the job description.

Sweeney has been an instrumental piece in the player development phase of the Bruins organization that’s been an unadulterated success under B’s GM Peter Chiarelli. The former Bruins blueliner incorporated the prospect development camp that’s now become an annual event designed to serve as an Bruins orientation of sorts for the younger players. 

“Don deserves this promotion,” said Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli.  “He is a very diligent person who truly cares about the welfare and development of the player both from the personal and professional perspective.  In his three years as part of our management group, he has shown tremendous passion, a growing aptitude for the business side of hockey and most importantly the willingness and enjoyment of being part of a management team and learning from others like Jim Benning and Scott Bradley.

“I believe in this business model with two assistant GMs because of the ever increasing intricacies of this business and the good chemistry between those in our group. Jim, Don and Scott will all continue to have specific duties and responsibilities, and I will continue to rely heavily on all three individuals.”

Drafted by the Bruins as their eighth pick, 166th overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, he went on to play four seasons of college hockey at Harvard University. He played in the 1986 NCAA Finals before graduating with a degree in Economics.

The defenseman played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League, including 15 in a Bruins uniform. He is one of just two defensemen and four players in team history to play over 1,000 games in a Boston sweater and he still ranks third on the team’s all-time games played list. He also ranks in the top ten of the club’s all-time lists in career goals, assists and points by a defenseman. He played his final NHL season with the Dallas Stars in 2003-04.

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