Archive for June, 2010

Recchi trusts B’s braintrust, excited to be back

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Mark Recchi, whose new deal with the Bruins was officially announced Monday, said that he maintained good dialogue with general manager Peter Chiarelli throughout the offseason before ultimately inking a one-year, $1 million pact with the club on Friday. The 21-year veteran said that given the mutual interest in both parties to get a deal done, there “wasn’t any” temptation to hit the free agent market and start over with another team.

“They wanted me back and I wanted to come back,” Recchi said. “‘€¦It really wasn’t that hard, to be honest.”

Recchi, a leader in the locker room given his NHL experience and relentless drive to win, added that it wouldn’t make much sense for him to try to gain the confidence and trust of a new coach and group of teammates  by signing elsewhere.

“If I went to another team, the coach doesn’t know me,” Recchi said. “Really, I’m very comfortable in the role I’ve been given here and I think I’ve been good for them. It’s just the right fit and really, I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Recchi said the decision on whether to play another season had nothing to do with his body and that he made the decision based on family. He plans to continue going year-to-year, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility of the ’10-’11 season being his final one.

“It’s definitely winding down,” Recchi said. “Whether this is it or not, I’m not sure.”

The veteran forward is excited about the addition of Plymouth Whalers center and second overall pick Tyler Seguin, calling him and Oiler’s left wing Taylor Hall “franchise players.” Unlike with Hall, who will be expected to re-ignite the spark for the league’s worst team, Recchi sees the opportunity for a young superstar to work his way in on a playoff team as beneficial for Seguin.

“We’re very fortunate,” Recchi said of being able to add Seguin. “Up the middle we’ve got three dynamic guys, all different type of players. You throw this kid in the mix, he could possibly play wing, I understand, and he’s going to be an important part, but at the same time, he can come in and just be a player, which is I think the most important for a young player.

“There’s not pressure for this kid to come in, internally anyway. He doesn’t have to come in and be a world beater. There’s a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall to go there and be an impact player right away. Seguin can come in and he can learn and grow and be part of a good hockey team. I think that’s very important for the development of a young kid.”

Recchi often stressed his approval of the direction the team is headed in. He spoke very highly of the newly acquired Nathan Horton, noting that his potential had been “untapped” while playing for a cellar-dwelling team in Florida for his entire career.

As for one of the afformentioned “dynamic guys” possibly being moved elsewhere, Recchi, who has heard the chatter that center Marc Savard could be on the block, exuded a confidence in Chiarelli to make the right move.

“Obviously I really like [Savard] and you never know what’s going to happen, but general managers explore everything,” Recchi said. “If there’s viable option to move Mark Savard, then obviously you’ve got to look at it.”

Recchi pointed to the logjam at center as a reason why Chiarelli could consider moving the team’s seventh-leading point-getter. He hinted at the possibility of bringing in one piece for Savard and adding another via free agency with the money saved. Wherever he ends up, Recchi feels he’ll remain an impact player.

“He’s obviously a dynamic passer and he’s been great for the Boston Bruins,” Recchi said. “I’m sure they’re not taking this lightly. If it makes sense, they’ll do it, but if it doesn’t I think he’ll be here and he’ll be a good player again for us.”

Neely on D&H: ‘we want to deliver’ for fans

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show Monday to discuss the selection of Tyler Seguin, how difficult it has been dealing with the playoff loss, and what he looks for in certain players.

Said Neely: “The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘€¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.”

Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview, visit The Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Is there any doubt Tyler Seguin can play right away?

I’d be surprised if he doesn’t. We’re certainly counting on him to make our team, based on everything that I’ve been hearing from scouts and what-not, that he should be able to make our lineup next year. It’s a matter of what kind of impact he’s going to have, but he should be able to make our lineup.

Teams can now count on 18-year-old kids to make an impact.

Well, there’s been special players obviously over the years that have come in and made an impact as an 18-year-old. ‘€¦ I said earlier, I don’t know what kind of an impact he’s going to make, we certainly don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him. He’s a young man that has got to learn the NHL game, but this guy is a very determined kid, he’s got a tremendous amount of skills, so we’ll see how he develops over the course of the year. I don’t think we’re going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize his development process. If we feel that he can step in and help us, and play the appropriate minutes, he’ll do that.

What was the attraction in bringing Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton to Boston?

Well, I think when you look at the 15th overall pick, although it’s a great pick and you hope to get a great player, those players are sometimes three or four years away from making your lineup. We have to get better offensively, we have to get some goal scorers, and Nathan was available. We had to give up a player like Dennis [Wideman] and that pick to get him, but we also got Campbell, who we feel is going to be a good fourth-line center for us that can kill penalties and play an aggressive style that we like on the fourth line. But we really believe Nathan will come in here and get into a hockey market, get into an environment like we have here at the [TD] Garden with our fan base, and get re-energized about playing hockey. In his worst year he has scored 20 goals, but in his best year he got over 30, and he’s still young — he’s 25 years old. He’s a big body, he likes to shoot the puck, and he’s a guy we felt strongly about trying to acquire to add to our offense.

Could Campbell be a replacement for P.J. Axelsson?

We’ve always felt that. ‘€¦ Our coaching staff likes to have our fourth line be able to chew up some minutes on the penalty kill. Obviously aside from Shawn Thornton, P.J. was great at the penalty kill, he had been in the league a long time and was obviously a smart player, and great in the locker room. But Campbell is another young kid for us that has played enough hockey to understand what it takes to play in the league; I think he knows his role real well, and for us it’s a good thing.

Does your new title mean you have final say in hockey operations?

Well, as our owners said at the press conference, everything goes through my office. I know that [Peter Chiarelli] and I have had a good relationship in the three years that I’ve been here, and I expect that to continue.

How does that change how things work between you and Chiarelli?

Well, I mean I don’t think it will change much from my perspective. That might be a better question for Pete, but ultimately GM’s. ‘€¦ When I’ve talked to other people in this position that I’m in, it’s been that you certainly have to allow a GM to do their job. And the thing is if you disagree too much then you have to figure out what is the right thing to do, from my perspective. The GM still has to be able to try and do his job.

Do you look at the older teams you played on to judge talent nowadays?

Yeah, I don’t want anybody to think that’s the type of lineup I’m craving for. The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘€¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.

What is your evaluation of last season?

It’s one of those things, we came into the season expecting a better regular season than we had. We had some players underachieving throughout the course of the year, more so than we would have liked. Maybe it was a combination of the previous year, we had overachieved more than we thought. Going into the end of the regular season, we’re scrambling to make the playoffs, I think everyone counted us to be a one-round-and-out. And we played extremely well in the Buffalo [Sabres] series. From top to bottom through the lineup we played really, really well. And we had a great start, as we all know, in the Philadelphia [Flyers] series, and came to a crashing halt in Game 7. It’s two years in a row we have lost Game 7 at home, which is very frustrating when you do work to the point, and you get yourself in a situation where you have home ice advantage, you need to take advantage of that. It’s frustrating when you lose Game 7 at home two years in a row.

If you had to break down that loss in one sentence, what would it be?

Well, I think if we were to look back at all the games we didn’t play well in, not just in that series but in the regular season when we had leads and maybe gave them up, was collectively trying to, and this is just my opinion, trying to not get scored on; and therefore you changed the way you played to get the lead. I think when we got up 3-0 in that game, maybe guys felt like it was done, and Philadelphia would go home quietly; but that wasn’t the case. I think from my perspective, looking back on the season, there were times when we would get the lead, and then it was about, “Let’s not get scored on.” It kind of changed the way we played a little bit, and then started giving up more opportunities.

Did you sense a relaxed attitude during that Game 7?

Well, I think you can kind of see things happening. ‘€¦ They came out in the second period pretty fired up, and we were kind of sitting back a little bit. From that second period on. ‘€¦ And then when they got their first goal, it changed the momentum of the game, even though we still had a two goal lead.

In a salary cap league, how does having Tim Thomas‘ $5 million salary hamstring other opportunities?

Well, it’s always a difficult thing to judge, not just with that scenario, just in everything else. You’re trying to put together the best team you can on the ice, with what restrictions that you have with the [salary] cap. We certainly didn’t think we’d be in this situation, with Tuukka [Rask] kind of taking over, I know Tim is a very competitive man, and he wants to be a number one goaltender. Regardless, he is going to try and get that job back. It’s one of those things where, any position, if you have players that aren’t playing to their potential, and they have a big number that goes against the cap, it’s difficult. As you see now, it’s about trading money as much as players. And there’s times when people wonder why deals aren’t being made, you end up having to get somebody else’s stuff back that they don’t necessarily want, that may not be an upgrade on your team.

Would you prefer to not have no-move clauses in contracts?

I don’t like them. I know as a player, I can certainly understand why players would want them. I don’t particularly like them at all, to be honest with you.

When next season starts do you believe Thomas and Marc Savard will be on the team?

It’s hard to answer that question. ‘€¦ We’re looking at our club, I don’t know who’s going to be on our starting lineup; besides Marc and Tim, there’s other players as well. We’re looking at what’s the best way to improve our hockey club over the course of this offseason. People deserve more than they have gotten over the years, and we want to deliver that to them. We’re looking at the lineup, saying, “How can we improve our club?” to go into the season with the best chance at winning.

Do you get a lot of calls regarding the veterans on your team?

I really don’t want to get into that at all. It’s something that most teams deal with, unless you win the last hockey game of the season, every team is trying to improve their club, so their are lots of conversations.

What does Mark Recchi bring to the table, and are you surprised he has played this long?

He’s a very competitive player, for sure. He wants nothing more than to win, and he’s been unbelievable in the locker room, he’s been somewhat of a mentor to some of the younger players. And his compete level is high, he’s got great character. To see what he’s been able to accomplish at his age, I hope it rubs off on a lot of these younger guys we have.

How would you assess the job Claude Julien has done with this team?

I think you look at where we were prior to that staff coming in, they’ve made great strides. Now, we have to take it to the next level. We’ve lost in the first round, we’ve lost consecutively in the second round, the last two years, so it’s time for this group, not just the coaching staff, the players as well, to take it to the next level.

With Tyler Seguin, how much prep work did you do before selecting him?

Well, obviously throughout the course of the year you identify the top players, and figure out where you may be as the season goes along, where you may draft; the lottery dictated where we picked. During the course of the year our scouts get as much information as they can on a bunch of different players, not just the top players. Obviously when your picking second overall we focused more on two or three players, and then try to get as much information as we can from coaches, teammates, you name it. And then from our own perspective, more due diligence at the combine, with the interviews there, watching them work out. We’ve brought him into Boston to meet with him again  for a couple of days, had various people in the organization meet with these players. I know Peter, Don [Sweeney], and Jim Benning at some point went to the families house and spent some time with the families. All of those things are really important for us to get a good gauge on what we expect to look forward to with certain players; what type of character, what their families are all about.

Do you think Seguin can play the wing, or stay at his natural position at center?

I think it would be tougher for a winger to jump in and play center at the National Hockey League level. I think he’s a smart hockey player and if it made sense for him to play wing, if we felt it was going to be better for his development, I think it’s something he can handle. There’s a little less defensive pressure for a winger. If the coaching staff and we feel it’s best for him to maybe start out on the wing then that’s what we’ll probably do, and I don’t think he’d have an issue with that, and I don’t think he’d have problems adjusting to it.

Video: A look at the Bruins draft party

Monday, June 28th, 2010’s Jerry Thornton visits the Boston Bruins draft party to get a feel for the atmosphere and excitement surrounding the event.

Local defender thrilled with trade to Bruins

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Boston University defenseman and newly acquired Bruins property David Warsofsky wasn’t watching the second day of the NHL draft on Saturday. Instead, the American-born prospect and Marshfield was cheering on Team USA in their World Cup match with Ghana, an eventual 2-1 defeat.It was supposed to be one of the few days hockey wasn’t the priority for the 2008 fourth-round pick of the Blues, as he was at his brother’s taking in the soccer game with family.

Then, as these stories go, the phone rang. It was Warsofsky’s advisor, Bob Murray. Given the other sporting event taking place, the 20-year-old could imagine it wasn’t a casual call.

“Right when he called me I knew something was up because he doesn’€™t call me every day, especially with the draft going on today,” Warsofsky said. “I didn’€™t know what was going on. ”

Having just finished his sophomore year and seemingly a year or two away from signing an entry-level contract with which NHL team holds his rights, the news from Murray may not have shaken the youngster in the way a mid-season trade would for a veteran. In fact, the news that he’d been acquired by Boston was thrilling for Warsofsky in that he wouldn’t be traveling far to his new home ice once he begins his professional career.

“He said that my rights had been traded to the Bruins and my heart kind of just dropped, because living in Boston my whole life and wanting to play for the Bruins was a lifelong dream so I couldn’€™t believe it when I actually heard it,” Warsofsky said.

Having grown up a hockey fan in Massachusetts, Warsofsky can likely understand the general goals around these parts, which are to win a Stanley Cup and beat the to Canadiens. While he has done neither, he’s won a national championship at the college level and was a member of the 2010 Team USA U-18 squad that beat Canadians (note the difference in spelling) to give the states a gold medal at the World Juniors.

Playing and winning at such a high level should prepare him to compete hard at the next level, and any head start on dealing with the rowdy crowds up north is a plus.

‘€œI’€™ve played in front of a lot of fans at BU, Fenway, the Beanpot, a national championship game, and Canadian fans are in a league of their own,’€ Warsofsky told the New England Hockey Journal following the tournament victory in February. ‘€œThe way they cheer, it’€™s almost like having another player on the ice for them.’€

The realization of Warsofsky’s childhood dream to play for the Bruins also meant the end of restricted free agent Vladimir Sobotka‘s time in Boston, as he was sent to St. Louis in the deal, but from a local perspective, seeing a kid raised on the Bruins should be exciting for hockey fans throughout New England.

After playing his high school hockey for Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Warsofsky’s career now gets to take the more-exciting-than-it-sounds proverbial road from Boston to Boston. The defenseman has been a very legitimate offensive threat in his time in Hockey East, scoring 12 goals in 34 games this past season as a sophomore. He had 23 total points, which tied his freshman production.

Despite the promise he shows as the offensive-minded, puck-moving defenseman the Bruins so openly covet, Warsofsky would be wise to continue refining his game under Terriers head coach Jack Parker and strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, as he plans to, in order to round out his overall game.

“I consider myself more of an offensive defenseman, but being at BU and working with Mike Boyle, [I’ve] just been trying to get a lot stronger,” Warsofsky said. “I know a lot of people kind of question my defensive ability so I take that and put it in my back pocket and try to work with that as much as I can.

“I think offense comes more naturally to me than defense so I’ve been trying to work on my defense ability and get stronger and work on my overall game.”

The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Warsofsky won a national championship as a freshman with the Terriers, but saw his team underachieve this past season, going 13-12-2 and failing to make the NCAA tournament it had won just a year before.

“I’m definitely excited about my junior year at BU,” Warsofsky said. “We have a few freshmen coming in, some strong players. We had a tough season last year so whenever you have those tough seasons you want to get back and get back on number one [ranking in the country].”

Before any shots at redemption are to be taken by the Terriers, Warsofsky’s biggest order of business this offseason will be to meet and skate with his new organization. He plans on attending the Bruins’ developmental camp, which runs from July 6-10 at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, just under an hour away from Marshfield.

Bruins trade Sobotka for Warsofsky

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

It may not have been of the magnitude some may have expected in recent days, but the Bruins did trade for a player at the NHL draft. Peter Chiarelli told the media in Los Angeles that the team has traded center Vladimir Sobotka to the St. Louis Blue in exchange for Boston University sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky.

Warsofsky, who hails from Marshfield, had 23 points in each of his first two seasons at BU, though he played in 34 games as a sophomore to his 47 as a freshman. He scored 12 goals this past season.

‘€œHe sees the ice, he moves the puck,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said of Warsofsky. “He’€™s almost a 190 pounds. We seem him a lot. We like him.’€

The 20-year-old Warsofsky was orginally selected in the fourth round as the 95th overall pick of the 2008 draft by St. Louis. Prior to attending BU in the fall of 2008, he competed with the USA Under-18 team in the NAHL, playing 15 games and toalling six points (4 G, 2 A).

The Russian-born Sobotka was also a fourth-round pick, but in the 2005 draft. He was up and down between the Providence Bruins and the NHL team over the last three seasons. He played a career-high 61 games this past season, scoring four goals and contributing six assists for 10 points on the year.

Though the team now parts with Sobotka, Chiarelli spoke highly of the restricted free agent.

‘€œHe’€™s like a little wrecking ball, he’€™s a competitive kid,” Chiarelli said. “We acquired Greg Campbell, we’€™ve got some more centers coming in. ‘€¦ I talked to Vlady, he’€™s glad we’€™re giving him a chance some where else.’€

As Chiarelli alluded to, it’s hard to imagine there being a spot on the the depth chart for Sobotka. With Marc Savard, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, and Campbell already in the mix, Sobotka wouldn’t have had much of a chance to even earn a spot centering a line.

Chiarelli said it was not the team’s intention to pressure Warsofsky into skipping his final two years at BU so he could sign. He will likely spend at least another season playing under Jack Parker.

Prior to trade for Nathan Horton, the belief was that the Bruins would target a defensive prospect with the 15th overall pick. The Bruins now come away from Los Angeles with Warsofsky as their new defense prospect after moving the aforementioned pick to the Panthers.

Bruins take two defensemen in seventh

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

The Bruins selected their first defenseman of the weekend on Saturday when they chose Russian defenseman Maxim Chudinov with the 195th overall pick of the NHL draft. The 5-foot-11, 187-pounder was draft eligible a year ago, making him the third Bruins draft pick this season that was passed over in the ’09 draft.

Chudinov played for Cherepovets Severstal of the KHL the last two seasons, totaling just 13 points in 73 games.

The team also traded their seventh-round choice in the 2011 draft to the Blackhawks in exchange for the 210th overall pick on Saturday, which was the last pick of the draft. With it they chose defenseman Zach Trotman out of Lake Superior state.

Bruins take goalie in sixth

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

The Bruins broke up their string of five forwards in a row by drafting goaltender Zane Gothberg with the 165th overall pick, their allotted sixth-round selection. Gothberg is committed to the University of North Dakota after an upcoming stint with the USHL’s Fargo Force. The Bruins first three picks were centers, followed by a pair of left wings.

Gothberg had a 1.84 goals against average in his senior year at Thief River Falls high school in Minnesota with a 9.22 save percentage. The 6-foot-1, 177-pounder also played for the United States under-18 team.

Three shutouts as a senior helped earn the 18-year-old Gothberg the Frank Brimsek award, which is given to the state of Minnesota’s top senior goalie each year.