Archive for February, 2011

Burke: Lot of fiction in Kaberle reports

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Nobody’s ever accused Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke of being shy. That’s why it isn’t a surprise that in the same week he said the Leafs weren’t done dealing, he took the opportunity to deny premature reports that he was “close” to trading Tomas Kaberle to Boston.

Burke said on NHL Live! Thursday that he has discussed deals involving Kaberle, a free agent-to-be whose current contract includes a no-trade clause, with multiple teams. He said he didn’t have a deal with Boston, and that the Bruins aren’t the only team Kaberle would accept a trade to.

“That’s not accurate. And I wouldn’t accept those terms,” Burke said. “That’s not fair to us. If those were the conditions I would tell the agent ‘no.’ That’s not acceptable. That’s not true. It’s not true that the deal is done with Boston. None of that is true. We continue to talk to multiple teams and we’ll see where it goes.”

Below is video of Burke’s interview:

Bruins take 3-0 lead in first period

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The Bruins got two things they needed out of the first period. Their forwards celebrated three goals, while Tuukka Rask was mostly bored.

The B’s outshot the Islanders, 15-4 in the first, receiving goals from Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi, and Daniel Paille. Wheeler scored 1:52 into the period off a pass from Tyler Seguin. The second goal went off Recchi’s skate and was reviewed, but since there was no kicking motion the goal was allowed.

Paille now has points in each of his last four games, a span over which he has scored all three of his goals on the season.

Chris Kelly won’t join Bruins until Friday

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Bruins forward Chris Kelly, acquired Tuesday night in a trade with the Senators, will not be available to play Thursday night against the Islanders due to immigration issues. Kelly, a Canadian citizen previously employed in Canada, will remain in Ottawa, where he will join the team Friday.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“At this time we have not received the proper immigration approval necessary for Chris to play in tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. This is the normal operating procedure for a non-immigrant to legally work in the United States. Chris will meet the team in Ottawa tomorrow and will be available to play in tomorrow’s game against the Senators.”

Report: Trade for Tomas Kaberle ‘close’

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

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].”

Amidst trade rumors, players try to block out the chatter

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

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.

Blake Wheeler would rather listen to a goal horn than trade rumors. (AP)

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.

Zdeno Chara: Former teammate Chris Kelly a ‘great addition’ for Bruins

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

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.

Mike Milbury on D&H: B’s made ‘wise decision to add to their depth and toughness’

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Mike Milbury

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.”