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Peter Chiarelli on D&H: Not trading high pick

02.01.10 at 2:54 pm ET
By
Peter Chiarelli

Peter Chiarelli

Since the Bruins’ stunning win over Philadelphia in the Winter Classic, 2010 has not been kind to the B’s. General manager Peter Chiarelli was on with Dale & Holley Monday to talk about potential moves that could be made to kick start a Bruins playoff run.

Chiarelli voiced his displeasure with the overall performance of the team but said there is no way he parts with the valuable pick that he received from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade.

“I’m not going to trade the pick that we received from Toronto for this year,” he stated. “I’ve said that before on other conversations, and I have had other conversations regarding everything else.”

The GM said the players need to step up, including No. 1 goaltender Tim Thomas, to right the ship on Causeway Street. He said that he has seen some improvements over the last couple of games, but under no circumstance would Chiarelli give away secrets to the show.

“I’d like to tell you exactly what I’m doing, but I’m not going to,” he said.

Here is a transcript of the interview, to hear the interview click here.

What do you make of all the moves and trades that the Toronto Maple Leafs made this weekend?

This isn’t a comment on those trades, but if we are going to make something it has to be the right deal and it’s not for lack of trying right now. I’m not beating the bushes so to speak. It has to be the right deal if we are going to do something. Those deals, I think Calgary was trying to shake things up and I think Toronto was building for the future.

Would you shake things up here in Boston?

It’s not easy to make a trade, and that’s where we are at right now.

Have you received or presented a deal with the draft picks you have from Toronto?

I’m not going to trade the pick that we received from Toronto for this year. I’ve said that before on other conversations, and I have had other conversations regarding everything else. If it is picks to players I’m all ears.

Does your team need a shakeup?

It looks like it. We are not confident now and I can see it in them. You look at that shootout the other night and guys that are confident make strong, assertive moves, and we are not doing that. I’ve been watching practice all month and you can see it and builds on itself. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy we got to shake out of it. It’s my job as general manager to try initiate that anyway I can. One way of that is to look at a trade, and I’ve been looking at trade opportunities for the last month. There’s nothing that makes sense right now and it may be that way until the 11th hour, and that may not help us but it certainly is something we are not ignoring. To your point, it’s certainly something that would shake things up. It could go either way, but it’s certainly something that has worked in the past and it may work again.

Was the team overrated last year? Was it a fluke?

I don’t think it was a fluke. It depends on how you define fluke, but a lot of our players had career years and they are not repeating those. At the beginning of the year I know I said to our owner, “I don’t know if we are going to match last years point total in the regular season, but he plan is that we are better prepared and more battle tested in the playoffs.” Right now we have to get into the playoffs before we can play in the playoffs. We didn’t overrate the team, we expected some drops here and there. If you go player-to-player last year, their performances were outstanding and for a variety of reasons they are not performing the same this year. Like it or not, when you give someone a new contract there’s a level of comfort that subconsciously creeps into the game and I think you are seeing that in some players. You’ve seen some players off of injuries and you’ve seen sub-standard performances. It’s a combination of all those things.

Have some of the players tuned out Claude Julien?

I’m not concerned. If that’s the case then we have to fix it. As I’ve said before, nothing is happening with this staff, it’s a very good staff. There are a number of instances throughout the league when staffs have been around for a long time and people improve and people change, that’s what you have to do. There’s nothing that suggests that. I see a level of performance player-to-player that’s below expectations and we have to make it better.

What’s the one team stat that is disappointing you the most?

The thing that stands out is even-strength scoring. We have been awful in that regard. I wouldn’t have thought that we would drop so much and there are a lot of reasons for that. We are trying to rectify that and maybe it’s a personnel thing and we are looking at that also.

If you trade your leading scorer and don’t fill that position wouldn’t you expect a drop-off in scoring?

Yeah. Absolutely. You can mention names because you are talking about Phil Kessel. What we figured is that we would have increased scoring from our back end and Marco Sturm is back in our lineup, so there is some added goals. You don’t replace player-to-player, a player that is a 36-goal scorer, you don’t do that. That’s not the only thing holding us back with regard to scoring.

Is Tim Thomas your No. 1 goaltender now?

He is now based on games played and what’s he done in the past, he’s our No. 1 goalie. He’s another one of the players that hasn’t performed to expectations. The easy way out is to try and move everybody and re-do. That’s not the way we want to do it here. There’s a continuity that we want to keep in place here and there is demand for improvement in players, whether it is a skater or a goalie we work with these guys and they have to improve. At the end of the day if I don’t see improvement and don’t see a reverse to the performances of last year then I’m going to have to do something as the general manager. We are looking at moves with regards to Tim. Tim has showed me that he’s a No. 1 goalie and this year his performance hasn’t been where it should be, simple as that.

How close are you being to a championship team now?

We are in the 11th or 12th place so we are not close. The conference itself is so tightly packed that if we can go on a run we can be in a very good spot. But we have to start winning games. If you were to ask me going into January how close we were I’d probably have the same or almost the same answer as the beginning of January. I still wasn’t satisfied at the beginning of January and we obviously had a bad January, so we are at 55 points. I think we are three points out of sixth, so we just have to start winning games. We are not a championship team now and we are not performing to the level we should be.

How did you feel about the championship prospects in October?

I felt pretty good, I felt pretty good.

Do the Olympics help or hurt this team this year?

I don’t know Dale. You have the break and I guess in the ideal situation you have a strong couple weeks going into the break. You have a chance to recharge, re-energize, refocus, and you come out guns-a-blazing, perfect situation. I don’t know there are arguments on both sides of that. The fact that the schedule is compressed it gives you time to reconcile. You can get playing the next game so you can forget the previous game and it gives you time to build momentum. It’s a tough one. I’ve experienced one other break with Ottawa and it didn’t help because we had guys that were tired and injured that went to the Olympics because it was overseas. The fact that it is in North America is a little different.

Why don’t you want to trade the Toronto pick?

I said I’m not going to. Right now the player we can get with that pick is a tremendously impact full player that I think will provide returns in the very near future. You guys don’t know these players that are coming up in the Amateur Draft but there are some really good players, and right now the spot that we are in is a terrific player.

Has someone came to you with an offer you can’t refuse for that pick?

No.

How would you compare this draft to the Sidney Crosby draft or even last year’s draft?

I think it’s significantly stronger that last years. Last year I don’t think the players that were picked high would be, last year you got [Matt] Duchene, [John] Tavares and a couple others who are in the NHL. I think the top end of the draft is stronger and deeper.

What are the chances you could get an immediate impact player with that pick?

I think they are better this year than last year. For this coming years draft class, I think the chances are better for this year’s class in compared to last year’s draft.

Do you have any interest in renting a player?

I’d look at that. Absolutely. I have been looking at that.

Would you consider giving up a lot to rent a player?

Depends on the player. If I think that the player is going to give immediate impact and will get us into the playoffs and beyond the first round then I’ll seriously look at it. As far as what I’d give up, the history has shown on these impact full rentals that the price is fairly high. That’s what is happening right now, the price is more than high. I would look at it, but again I’m not trading that pick that we received from Toronto, but we have a lot of other assets including their first round pick the following year. We got a lot of options we could use.

Does a player like Ilya Kovalchuk or a player like that have the skills to come in a provide that spark?

I’d like to tell you exactly what I’m doing, but I’m not going to. I can’t comment on other team’s players. What I can tell you is that I’m looking at all things that are being offered to me. We are going through all different scenarios and if there is something that will impact our lineup then we will have to look at it very closely.

What have you seen over the last couple of games that have got you feeling better about the team?

This has happened in the previous weeks practice, I’ve seen the quality of chances in our practices have increased, and they’ve increased in the games too. Not just the number of chances but the quality of chances. We still have to convert on those chances, but I’ve seen that. I’ve seen us making more plays in the neutral zone. I’ve seen us sustaining more of a fore check. I’ve seen our compete-level inching upwards and in Buffalo we had a good compete-level and I thought in both games we outplayed the other team. In Buffalo if it wasn’t for Ryan Miller we win that game and against LA we just lost in the shootout, so that’s a coin toss. You have to build on these positives I’ve seen them and I’m not trying to be the eternal optimist, but I’ve seen them and that’s the way you work yourself out of these slumps, and that’s what I’m seeing.

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