Big Bad Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Krejci says ’10 percent’ chance he’ll be ready for season opener

09.14.09 at 12:45 pm ET
By   |   Comments

David Krejci termed himself doubtful for the Bruins season opening game against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1 while discussing his recovery from right hip surgery on Monday morning. Krejci skated with the rest of his teammates for the first time during training camp, and spent nearly an hour on the TD Garden ice Monday morning.

The pivot said that the only time he still feels pain is when he crosses over on the right side. While the playmaking center still harbors a great deal of desire to be ready for the beginning of the season, he labeled it a “10 percent chance” that he’ll be ready to go when the puck drops on the NHL season.

“If I didn’t feel any pain then I’d be 100 percent and ready to play,” said Krejci. “I feel pretty good when I skate straight or when I cross over on the left side. When I cross over on the right side that hurts. It feels like it hasn’t healed yet.

“What do we have 17 days? Two-and-a-half weeks? I don’t know. I’ll say there might a little chance. Not a big one, but maybe a little one. I’d say…I don’t know, 10 percent. I can’t say there’s zero percent because I feel pretty good in the ice, and I don’t know how I’m going to feel one week from now.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, David Krejci,

First day of B’s training camp is in the books

09.13.09 at 6:55 pm ET
By   |   Comments

As is the custom during Bruins training camp, the 54 camp invitees are broken into two different groups scheduled to skate in separate sessions during the camp days. Group A opened Sunday morning with a 90-minute skate and Group B following with a session that began at noontime. Here are the breakdowns of the players from Group A and Group B. Line pairing aren’t all that important at this point as Claude Julien and staff will be mixing and matching a lot of different player combinations over the next two weeks.

As previously mentioned, David Krejci, Lane MacDermid, Jordan Knackstedt, Kevin Regan, Jordan Caron and Zach MacKelvie were among a group of players that skated early non-contact drills. Krejci is expected to join with Group B when he returns to the regular practices in the next few days after making an impressive recovery from right hip surgery.

“Somebody asked me about the condition of the team yesterday, and the guys are in really good shape,” said Claude Julien after the first day of training camp had concluded. “That bodes well. I think the second group today had better ice so they probably looked a little bit better. The first group the puck was jumping around a lot and they didn’t get the real flow in their drills, but we got the things done that we wanted accomplished.

The B’s will be on the Garden ice again bright and early on Monday morning at 10 a.m., and Group B will lead things off this time. 

Here’s a breakdown of Group A and Group B:

Group A
Forwards

Patrice Bergeron
Zach Hamill
Drew Larman
Jeff LoVecchio
Milan Lucic
Brad Marchand
Kirk MacDonald
Tyler Randell
Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder
Max Sauve
Blake Wheeler

Defensemen

Johnny Boychuk
Ryan Button
Zdeno Chara
Rob Kwiet
Derek Morris
Jeff Penner
Mark Stuart
Andy Wozniewski

Goalies

Adam Courchaine
Matt Dalton
Tim Thomas

Group B Forwards

Jamie Arniel
Steve Begin
Byron Bitz
Chuck Kobasew
Guillaume Lefebvre
Mikko Lehtonen
Matt Marquardt
Marc Savard
Vladimir Sobotka
Marco Sturm
Shawn Thornton
Trent Whitfield
Jason Wilson

Defensemen

Andrew Bodnarchuk
Drew Fata
Andrew Ference
Alain Goulet
Matt Hunwick
Zach McKelvie
Adam McQuaid
Dennis Wideman

Goalies

Michael Hutchinson
Tuukka Rask
Dany Sabourin

Wheeler speaks about unresolved Kessel situation

09.13.09 at 2:14 pm ET
By   |   Comments

First official on-ice day of training camp for the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, and the first wave of interviews are finished and in the books. Among the first group of players participating in the skate were Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Derek Morris, Johnny Boychuk and Mark Stuart along with Baby B’s like Brad Marchand and Zach Hamill.

There will be plenty of info from Sunday’s session still to come, including Stuart’s thoughts on taking more of a leadership role in the room and Wheeler’s physical adjustments headed into a pivotal second pro season with the B’s — but here’s a quick bite from Wheeler on his philosophy toward unsigned restricted free agent Phil Kessel. Wheeler and Kessel were good friends while both played for the University of Minnesota and remained close off the ice last season. But Wheeler and the rest of the Bruins are simply moving on with the players at training camp, and letting the Kessel situation resolve on its own timetable.

Kessel and the Bruins are in something of a limbo to start training camp off with suitors like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers publicly lining up for the 21-year-old and other teams believed to be burning up the phone lines to B’s GM Peter Chiarelli behind the scenes. It’s been obvious for more than a week that Kessel’s days in a Spoked B are severely numbered, and the 23-year-old Wheeler is taking the business approach to things. The players understand that it’s a salary cap development more than anything else with the B’s holding roughly $1.7 million in cap space with a bright young star able to still attract offer sheets.

“it is what it is,” said Wheeler, perhaps unintentionally invoking the mantra of Bill Belichick. “It has nothing to do with me. Phil is one of my best friends and he’s my buddy, so from that standpoint you miss having him around. But that’s business. It’s got nothing to do with me, and I just leave it at that.”

–Best line of the day also came from Morris, who compared the massive Bruins fan turnout to the first day of training camp at the Garden to the bleak, dark days otherwise known as his entire career as a Phoenix Coyote.

“That was special,” said Morris of the fan turnout. “They’re good fans and they cheered when guys scored. It’s fun to practice when there’s fans there. We probably didn’t have that many there for games (in Phoenix).”

Report: Nashville Predators covet Kessel in potential deal

09.12.09 at 7:40 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Nashville Predators are one of several teams in the running for a potential Phil Kessel trade with the Boston Bruins, according to the Tennessean, and Nashville GM David Poile confirmed interest to the newspaper in a report published Saturday. Poile admitted that he’s spoken with both Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, in recent days, and had nothing but flattering things to say about the 21-year-old sniper.

 “He’s a young player that scores goals,” said Poile, who also admitted that the Preds wouldn’t be interested in signing Kessel to an offer sheet “and that’s very much of interest to us. We’ve talked concepts. I’d be very interested to see if there might be something he would like from the Predators.”

The Preds have a long list of younger players that could be intriguing to Chiarelli including Russian KHL refugee Alexander Radulov, first round draft pick and former Boston University skater Colin Wilson, Jonathan Blum, Ryan Ellis, Cody Franson and Ryan Suter. Including within those talented puck youngsters are a plethora of talented young defensemen that could supply a serious talent transfusion to a B’s blueline stock that doesn’t boast the greatest amount of depth organizationally.

Read More: Peter Chiarelli, Phil Kessel, Wade Arnott,

‘State of the Bruins’ Meeting set for September 17

09.11.09 at 12:22 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Boston Bruins will hold their annual ‘€œState of the Bruins’€ Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden.  Attending this year’€™s State of the Bruins from the Bruins organization will be Owner Jeremy Jacobs, Principal Charlie Jacobs, General Manager Peter Chiarelli, Vice President Cam Neely, Head Coach Claude Julien, forward Milan Lucic and defenseman Derek Morris.

The Town Hall Meeting gives Bruins season ticket holders and premium ticket holders a forum to speak directly with Bruins personnel and to ask questions and provide comments about the organization and team.  In addition, everyone present at the ‘€œState of the Bruins’€ will get an exclusive first look and the opportunity to pre-order the Winter Classic jersey, which will be unveiled at the event. Bruins alumni and NESN color commentator, Andy Brickley will serve as the evening’€™s moderator.

The Bruins executives will discuss the current ‘€œState of the Bruins’€ before the question and answer session begins.
The “State of the Bruins” meeting will follow the first official on-ice day of Bruins training camp held at TD Garden on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 13 beginning at 10 a.m. The Bruins will celebrate the opening of the club’€™s 2009-2010 campaign by holding a used equipment sale and offer fans free breakfast, courtesy of TD Bank, as part of the first full day of 2009 Bruins Training Camp on September 13.

On Sunday, the first day of official on-ice work for the team, fans will have access to two practice sessions beginning at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., free of charge.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. and breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, coffee and juice, will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

In conjunction with the open training camp sessions, Bruins fans will have the opportunity to purchase equipment used by Bruins players from past and present.  Items that will be available include skates, socks, pads and helmets, among others.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation. The used equipment sale will begin at 8:30 a.m. for Bruins season ticket holders and 9:30 a.m. for the general public.

The 54-player Bruins training camp roster is listed below.

2009 BRUINS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):
Forwards (31):
Jamie Arniel, Steve Begin, Patrice Bergeron, Byron Bitz, Jordan Caron,
Zach Hamill, Jordan Knackstedt, Chuck Kobasew, David Krejci, Drew
Larman, Guillaume Lefebvre, Mikko Lehtonen, Jeff LoVecchio, Milan Lucic,
Brad Marchand, Matt Marquardt, Lane MacDermid, Kirk MacDonald, Levi
Nelson, Tyler Randell, Mark Recchi, Yannick Riendeau, Michael Ryder,
Marc Savard, Max Sauve, Vladimir Sobotka, Marco Sturm, Shawn Thornton,
Blake Wheeler, Trent Whitfield, Jason Wilson

Defensemen (16):
Andrew Bodnarchuk, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Button, Zdeno Chara, Drew Fata,
Andrew Ference, Alain Goulet, Matt Hunwick, Rob Kwiet, Adam McQuaid,
Derek Morris, Zach McKelvie, Jeff Penner, Mark Stuart, Dennis Wideman,
Andy Wozniewski

Goaltenders (7):
Adam Courchaine, Matt Dalton, Michael Hutchinson, Tuukka Rask, Kevin
Regan, Dany Sabourin, Tim Thomas

Unsigned Restricted Free Agents as of September 10 (1)
Phil Kessel

Bruins season ticket holders and premium ticket holders wishing to attend should log on to their ticket holder account and print their State of the Bruins tickets by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 14. This will be a ticketed event, as State of the Bruins tickets will be scanned at the TD Garden turnstiles. Any questions can be directed to the Bruins Fan Relations Department at 617.624.BEAR (2327).

Read More: Boston Bruins, Jeremy Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli,

Report: Kessel hasn’t broken off negotiations with Bruins

09.10.09 at 8:47 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Unsigned Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel spoke with Sportsnet.ca on Thursday afternoon and denied a Boston Globe report that he’s broken off all negotiations with the Boston Bruins. The 21-year-old sniper said that he didn’t think he would be a member of the Boston Bruins during this coming season, but also said that returning was still a remote possibility.

“I don’t know who is saying that, but it’s not true,” Kessel told sportsnet.ca when asked about cutting off talks with the B’s after a summer that featured very little in the way of negotiations. “You can never say never. They are doing what they think is best for them. It’s just business.”

The Boston Globe quoted several unnamed sources that said the free agent planned to eschew the Bruins and instead pursue an offer sheet with one of the other 29 teams in the NHL. But Kessel clearly poured cold water all over that report while speaking with sportnet, and left the door ajar for a return to the Bruins. The B’s still have the right to match any offer sheet that the talented winger might receive from another hockey team.

Kessel also admitted to Sportsnet that the negotiations and trade rumors involving the Bruins have been uncomfortable to deal with this summer, and that he felt his chances of returning to Boston were slim.

A resolution may be near for Kessel, Bruins

09.10.09 at 3:18 pm ET
By   |   Comments

A fascinating multi-layered piece from Elliotte Friedman on his CBC blog on Wednesday afternoon appears to be a meaningful shot over the bow of Phil Kessel and agent Wade Arnott amid reports that Kessel has moved on from potential contract talks with the Bruins. According to a Boston.com account, hockey sources claim that Arnott has informed Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that both player and agent are beginning to negotiate with the 29 other NHL teams holding potential interest in the restricted free agent.

Not much of a shock there as Kessel’s camp and the Bruins haven’t really spoken at all through an entire summer to negotiate a fair deal for the 21-year-old sniper. So now they’re moving on to teams that might be willing to pay the $4-5 million freight that Kessel’s market should likely bear on the free agent market. The B’s have roughly $1.7 million in cap space with training camp set to begin this weekend, and the two sides are looking at a contactual chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. Tough to refute a lot of Friedman’s observations in a column culled from discussions with unnamed Bruins sources, but they are damning to Kessel nonetheless.

One thing should be added to Friedman’s revealing snapshot of Kessel from some eyes within the walls of Causeway Street. Kessel led the Bruins with 36 goals and was among the top 20 goal-scorers in the NHL last season while ranking 116th in the NHL in terms of power play ice time per game. That should give hockey followers an idea of how much higher his hockey production can rise. Kessel also missed a dozen games while fighting through mononucleosis and the late-season shoulder injury that resulted in off-season surgery, and would have easily cleared 40 goals had he remained healthy.

Among the interesting tidbits from Friedman are:

–Kessel wouldn’t play through a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder until teammates informed the young winger that fellow teammates were playing through much worse injuries.

–The talented winger is a gifted skater and shooter that enjoyed a breakout season in 2008-09, but much of Kessel’s production was attributed to Kessel’s pairing with Marc Savard last season. Kessel needs to skate witha gifted passer that can get him the puck in spots where he can utilize his blazing speed, but that could be said of just about every scorer worth their salt in the NHL. Without a crafty playmaking “piece” like Savard skating with him, Friedman wrote, a Kessel experiment would fail.

–Kessel is compared to hulking winger Milan Lucic in terms of work ethic and willingness to improve his strengthwith weight room dedication, and Kessel isn’t looked upon favorably. There’s been whispers throughout Kessel’s years in Boston that the youngster is averse to needed weight room work and is slow to absorb constructive criticism from the coaching staff and teammates. It’s part of the reason he’s been mentioned prominently in trade rumors in each of his three seasons with the Bruins, and it’s why the goal-scorer is again on the verge of being dealt away to another NHL destination.

One other hockey fact that rings true about the Kessel/Lucic comparison: Looch is going to be a cornerstone player for years to come with the Bruins, but the youngster doesn’t possess the hands, speed and shot to score 36 goals in a season.

Kessel is also compared with 23-year-old Krejci, and again the goal-scoring phenom isn’t cast in a favorable light. Krejci is more respected in the room for playing through a hip injury that required surgery without a complaint during the season, and he was awarded with a three-year, $3.75 million contract that is actually viewed as very club-friendly in many circles.

The Bruins set something of a ceiling for Kessel in their own minds with the $3.75 annual salary awarded to the playmaking Krejci, but goal-scoring players with Kessel’s skill-set always command more salary than their assist-happy, two-way playing brethren. An elite – or potentially elite — goal-scorer is the most rare and valuable commodity in today’s NHL. Kessel is the only skater on the Boston Bruins roster with that kind of potential, and nobody can match his blend of speed, skill and wrist shot on the roster.

–Kessel has had some fairly well-documented run-ins with B’s coach Claude Julien during their two years together in Boston, and culminated in Kessel getting benched three games in favor or Jeremy Reich for the 2007-08 playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. Reportedly they’ve argued on things as trivial as the stick that Kessel is using in games and the youngster isn’t very receptive to criticism of any kind.

Apparently the Bruins have also required “good cops” in the Bruins locker room — teammates on the winger’s side that make sure Kessel has the proper support system in place within the B’s dressing room. Kessel would be extremely uncomfortable under the Toronto microscope if that’s where he were to eventually end up when he’s ready to play in mid-to-early November. That situation would be further exacerbated if Kessel doesn’t have the very-same support system in place with the stern Ron Wilson and blustery Brian Burke running the Maple Leafs Show.

One unnamed Bruins teammate referenced Kessel’s combination of youth and immaturity, and assumed that he’ll learn as he gains age and experience. That should be true, and his goal totals should also grow as he gains more power play time and enters his hockey-playing prime. Ruling out growth and improvement in an asset so skilled as Kessel would be unwise, but it appears that too much water has already traveled under the bridge between player and hockey team. How many times does a player have to hear his name involved with aborted trade proposals before he begins to believe that his own hockey team truly doesn’t want him on the roster anymore?

Two? Three? Maybe four?

A difficult free agency negotiation and countless trade rumors during Kessel’s career have taken their toll on the essential bond of trust between player and organization, and it appears that the end is in sight soon. All that remains is to see what hockey sweater Kessel will wear next season. Because it certainly doesn’t appear that it’ll be the Black and Gold of the Spoked ‘B’.

Read More: David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel,
Bruins Box Score
Bruins Schedule
Bruins Headlines
NHL Headlines