|02.17.11 at 11:41 am ET|
Are the Bruins, seemingly linked to Tomas Kaberle in trade rumors forever, finally closing in on a deal for the Leafs defenseman?
TSN’s Darren Dreger leads off his “three things you need to know” for Thursday with an update on Kaberle. Writes Dreger:
Failing a complete meltdown – which has scuttled at least one previous trade involving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tomas Kaberle, and the Boston Bruins – there’s strong belief that Kaberle will be traded to Boston.
It’s unlikely the deal gets done today, but sources say it’s close and say the deal doesn’t hinge on Kaberle signing an extension with the Bruins.
Dreger adds that given salary cap restraints, the Bruins might need to make a separate deal with another team to shed some space. Unsurprisingly, Blake Wheeeler is listed as the Bruin who could be the odd man out. The team acquired Chris Kelly, who makes similar money and could play a similar role, on Tuesday.
Bob McKenzie, Dreger’s TSN colleague, followed up on the report in tweeting that “if it goes down, looks like it will be [Friday].”
|02.16.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
By now, there are few people who don’t know that Peter Chiarelli wants to trade for a defenseman. Not only has the Bruins general manager stated it several times, but it’s been discussed heavily by media and fans alike as the Feb. 28 trade deadline grows nearer.
Tomas Kaberle has been the most popular name in the rumor mill, and with reports emerging Tuesday that the Bruins are the only team he would accept a trade to, many are playing hypothetical GM in trying to predict what the B’s could move to Toronto should a deal be made.
Yet as the rumors are generated, players face the annual task of trying to block out all the trade whispers. Claude Julien admitted Wednesday that there’s “no doubt” that players can have a tough time dealing with it, adding, “I’m sure there’s some players thinking about that.”
From the moment the Bruins acquired Chris Kelly late Tuesday night, rumor sites and various sultans of speculation made the connection that given the two players’ cap hits, Blake Wheeler could potentially be expendable in a trade for a defenseman. The 24-year-old has heard his name in various rumors before, and will use past lessons learned to handle this trade season.
“I guess the first lesson you learn [is] you don’t read anything because you’re always better than you are when things are going good, and you’re always worse than you are when things are going bad,” Wheeler said Wednesday. “Trades and all of that are the same way.”
“I can’t speak for everyone in our locker room. I know personally, I don’t read anything. I’m sure most of the guys don’t read much either, because what good does it do to read your name and that you’re going to be traded? Ninety-five percent of the time it’s not true anyways, so until that happens, you’ve just got to worry about your business here.”
While players are better off not focusing on names and who could go where, the Bruins are in a different situation from years past, as it is universally know that the team has a move in mind. With Chiarelli targeting a defensemen, the logjam that already exists on the blueline could face even more competition. Johnny Boychuk was the team’s healthy scratch on Tuesday, and the B’s have scratched a different defenseman over the last three games.
While the seven guys on the Bruins’ blueline are already pushing one another for a spot in the lineup, Boychuk would welcome another defenseman under one condition.
“If it’s going to help our team, then yeah,” Boychuk said Wednesday. “Anything to help our team.”
Earlier in the season, various rumors suggested Wheeler could be on the move to the Coyotes, the team that he elected not to sign with after they spent a fifth overall pick on him. Nothing happened there, but Wheeler can bet that he will continue to hear his name brought up in rumors. With Wheeler a part of a team that is in the midst of a season-worst three-game losing streak, the winger is more focused on changing the team’s luck than worrying about a change in uniform.
“The rumors you hear never happen, and the ones you don’t hear about, those ones seems to happen,” he said. “From our standpoint, I think our focus is that we have games to play. We have points to earn, and we can’t worry about what’s being written in papers, or online in blogs.
“We start worrying about things we can’t control and all of a sudden things we can control are going to slip. We’ve already lost three straight, so the most important thing for us is to start winning. Whatever happens from other standpoints is going to happen, and that’s out of our control.”
The Bruins will be on the road for the next six games and will not return to the Garden until March 3. Julien can see why players could worry about whether they’ll be with the club for that next game in Boston, but at the same time knows that it isn’t the hands of anyone in the dressing room.
‘I know it weighs on players’ minds all the time when you hear rumors about a certain player on your team,’ Julien said. ‘At the same time, you want the players to be professionals and deal with the issues as professionals and say it’s out of your control. At the same time, those players, if it’s not here, it will be somewhere else.
“It’s not like they’re not going to be playing hockey anymore. You really have got to take that approach and say, ‘You know what? It’s one game at a time. Right now I’ve got to do my job and let the people that make those decisions that are out of my control make them. That’s the best way to approach it.”
Five more days and the players won’t need to think about it. For now, the only change they’ll need to focus on is in the final scores.
|02.16.11 at 1:31 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins will see a new face in their lineup when Chris Kelly, acquired in a trade with Ottawa Tuesday night for a second-round pick, joins the team for either Thursday or Friday’s game. While Kelly will have nearly an entire Bruins dressing room full of new teammates, he will be reunited with B’s captain Zdeno Chara, with whom he played in Ottawa in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons. Chara had high praise for is former teammate and the move that the team made to acquire him.
“It’s a great addition. He’s a hard-working player, a smart player,” Chara said following Wednesday’s practice. “He always plays his role well and is going to give us more depth in the middle and the experience he has. I think it’s a great addition.
“He’s always a guy that you can rely on to get the job done. He’s a very smart player, and he’s always thinking on the ice before he does anything.”
As for where he will fit in the lineup, Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday night that he expects Kelly to play center on the team’s third line. Coach Claude Julien wouldn’t go that far, saying Wednesday that he needs to see the player first and has “team issues to deal with.”
In 57 games this season, Kelly has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points and a minus-12 rating.
|02.16.11 at 12:52 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk Bruins and NHL news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury indicated he likes the Bruins’ acquisition of Chris Kelly from the Senators. “I think the Bruins have made a wise decision to add to their depth and toughness,” he said. “In both cases, you can’t get enough of it, particularly when it comes time for playoff time.”
The Bruins reportedly have interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle. “He’s a quiet player,” Milbury said. “He’s efficient, he’s not a physical force, doesn’t have a big shot, moves it pretty well from the point. I didn’t mean to be too critical of him the last time we spoke. If I was, I stand somewhat corrected.”
Added Milbury: “This is a player that’s going to need to step it up in terms of intensity and commitment level if he does come to Boston. That’s how I see it.”
On Friday night, the Islanders sought revenge on the Penguins for previous hits by sparking a number of brawls. The NHL responded with suspensions and a $100,000 fine for the Islanders due to their inability to control their players. However, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux said it didn’t go far enough.
“What happened on Long Island was unacceptable,” Milbury said. “Clearly, the league made that statement. We allow fighting because we like it. ‘¦ We like the manliness of it. We like the immediate retribution for a perceived slight to our teammates or to ourselves. We like it when guys stand up for themselves. And we like it that they’re willing to sacrifice and are they’ll go as far as dropping the gloves to do it.
“But it’s not supposed to be a tactic. We bristle when people come up from behind, because it crosses our sense of etiquette in the hockey world. We bristle a little bit more when it seems to be not a mano-a-mano retribution thing but almost a team-wide, orchestrated thing. And we really don’t like it ‘ and what happened on Long Island ‘ is when somebody is in a compromised position that the fighter continues to pummel his opponent. And not only that, once it’s over, he comes back to taunt him from the runway. All silly, and a black eye for the league.
“Fortunately, it’s an aberration. It doesn’t happen very often any more. But when you allow fighting, and you allow those emotions to vent, it’s difficult to control it. From time to time, you’ll see this stuff. As I said, fortunately it’s less frequent now.
“The league acted. Was it strong enough? You can debate that. You could certainly have an argument about whether it was forceful enough to make changes in behavior. But it was a strong and it was an immediate statement. I think everybody would grant that.”
As for Lemieux’s criticism, Milbury noted that Matt Cooke still is a member of the Penguins. “Pittsburgh is not a goody-two-shoes team,” he said. “They’re a snippy little bunch. They’re not shy when it comes to a hit when you’re vulnerable.”
|02.16.11 at 12:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins will be on a flight to New York Wednesday, but they first squeezed in a practice at Ristuccia Arena. Patrice Bergeron was not on the ice, nor was newly acquired center Chris Kelly. Coach Claude Julien said Bergeron was simply given a maintenance day, while B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday that it would be unlikely that Kelly would be able to make it to Boston by Wednesday morning.
Here are how the color-coded lines looked.
Check back for more following practice.
|02.16.11 at 4:03 am ET|
Thanks to the awesome folks at the Bruins, here is the complete transcript of the press conference Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held Tuesday night following the trade of Chris Kelly:
So you’ve obviously seen the release. We’ve acquired Chris Kelly in a deal this evening in return for our own second round pick in this coming Entry Draft. Chris is a two-way center, he’s’¦ I don’t know if he’s 30 or 31, he’s a late-eighty [November 11, 1980]. He has a lot of playoff experience, very good on faceoffs, he’s a high character person. He plays both ways and he can’¦ we needed a centerman that is going to give us some depth. Chris can give us that and he can play up and down the lineup also. I’ve obviously had a connection to him in my time in Ottawa, and know him as a person. He’s a very good person, has good leadership characteristics. He’s under contract for next year, also. And we’re happy to have him in the organization. He’s going to help us.
On how important it was to get a player who wasn’t going to be just a rental’¦
When you go out into the market and there’s rentals, there’s good things and bad things to rentals. The bad thing is you don’t know if you’ll be able to resign them. So with Chris [Kelly], you have him for at least another year which is a good thing. His market price is set. And he’s a known commodity in the sense that I know him, our scouts know him, having seen him a lot in the East. There’s also good things to rentals, meaning contracts who are expiring so it gives you flexibility for the summer. But we think this is a good thing in light of we’re not’¦we have a lot of uncertainty with Marc Savard. So this helps us in that sense too. And he can play the wing too. He’s a smart player and a responsible player. He can play up the middle and he can play the wing. But he’s a natural centerman.
On if when the team lost Marc Savard, he had in his mind that he wanted to find another centerman or if he waited to see how things played out’¦
Well you look at all your’¦all of the options come up at once in your mind. So like oh we’ve got some young centermen, we’ve got whether it’s Tyler [Seguin], whether it’s Zach [Hamill], whether it’s Joe Colborne, those are three off the top of my head. You instantly’¦as a manager you know what the market is anyways so you automatically run through the couple of names in your head. You talk to your scouts, you see’¦we saw Zach play a bit. And actually I thought he did pretty well. And I think Tyler had a strong game in Detroit and he’s’¦the fact that Chris can play the wing also, his versatility is very helpful too. So he was available, he brought a good two-way game and he can make plays also and we felt that we had to make a move on him.
On if there is another move on the horizon’¦
Well I’ve been pretty public in saying I’d like to get a defenseman, so that’s still in the works.
On if the move for a defenseman is close’¦
Well I know there’s a lot of furor here today. But I’ve had discussions on a number of fronts and I’d say a couple of them are closer, but I don’t have anything imminent. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.16.11 at 12:30 am ET|
When the Bruins gave word late Tuesday night that they had an announcement coming, the logical place for one’s mind to wander to was the blue line. Instead, the team made a move to send its second-round pick for Senators center Chris Kelly. Here’s a brief introduction.
Draft: Third round, 94th overall in the 1999 draft by the Senators.
Contractual status: Has one year remaining on his current deal after this season, commands a $2.125 cap hit.
2010-11 stats: 57 games played, 11 goals, 12 assists, 33 points, minus-12.
WHAT HE BRINGS
— The Bruins are basically looking at another guy in that third line mix, with Peter Chiarelli even specifically mentioning the line. He averages 15:38 of ice time each night, which is around the likes of Blake Wheeler (15:13) and Michael Ryder (14:49). He is capable of playing both center and the wing, though Chiarelli called Kelly a “natural centerman.” Given how well he takes faceoffs, such a title makes sense. His 50.01 faceoff percentage puts him 51st in the league and second on the Bruins (Patrice Bergeron: 56.3).
Kelly doesn’t put an overwhelming number of shots on goal, as he has registered more than one shot on net in just one his last nine games. He also kills penalties.
WHY THEY MADE THE DEAL
Chiarelli liked the idea of getting a “known commodity” that wasn’t a rental player without having to move a roster player. A second-round pick ‘ which was their own and not that from the Wild ‘ wasn’t a major commodity to lose given that it should be toward the end of the round.
He also admitted that the move had to do with the uncertainty of Marc Savard going forward. The center’s future is in question after his fourth concussion caused the team to shut down the center for the season. While nobody will ever get Chris Kelly confused with Marc Savard, having another center under contract going into next season may make the predicament a little better.