Archive for July, 2011

Peter Chiarelli: Bruins approaching other expiring contracts on case-by-case basis

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Speaking to the media via conference call, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid called the decision to take a three-year extension with the B’s Thursday a “no-brainer,” adding, “I really couldn’t picture myself being with any other team or being anything but a Bruin.”

The 24-year-old would have been a restricted free agent after the upcoming season, but this deal will keep him in Boston until 2015.

B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli called McQuaid “a bit of a poster child” for the organization’s development program, as he spent over two seasons in Providence (AHL) before becoming a regular on the B’s blue line during their Stanley Cup championship season. After beginning the season as a healthy scratch, McQuaid saw action due to injuries on the Bruins’ blue line, and his work allowed the B’s to trade Mark Stuart.

“He found his way into this lineup and now is a really solid contributor with his size his toughness his range,” Chiarelli said. “We continue to see him improve, he’s still at a young age and we felt fortunate to be able to lock him up for the foreseeable future.”

Chiarelli noted that while it was good to get a deal done with one of the players entering the last year of their deals, it was not a sign that the B’s will also extend the others (a group that includes David Krejci and Tuukka Rask) before the season begins.

“This was a case of both parties coming together and reaching a real good deal for both parties,” Chiarelli said. “We don’t always go out early and try to sign guys before their deals are done.”

As for the Bruins’ current restricted free agent, Chiarelli offered no update on negotiations with forward Brad Marchand.

“I’m just not going to comment eye time i go to the media,” the GM said. “There’s been discussions, we feel there’s been progress, and that’s where I’ll leave it.”

Bruins give Adam McQuaid three-year extension

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

The Bruins announced Thursday that they have re-signed defenseman Adam McQuaid to a three-year extension. McQuaid, 24, was entering the final year of his current deal at a $600,000 salary ($575,000 cap hit) and was set to become a restricted free agent at season’s end.

Despite starting the season as the team’s seventh defenseman, injuries to various Bruins’ defensemen (starting with Johnny Boychuk) allowed McQuaid to work his way into the lineup last season, and his emergence as a safe defenseman with an edge (he finished second on the team with 12 fighting majors) made former first-round pick Mark Stuart expendable, and the B’s shipped Stuart to Atlanta on Feb. 18 in a deal that netted the B’s forward Rich Peverley.

The former second-round pick of the Blue Jackets had four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in his 67 games in the regular season. His plus-30 rating tied for fifth in the NHL.

The B’s also announced that they have signed forward Craig Cunningham to an entry-level deal and given defenseman Zach McKelvie a one-year deal.

Tim Thomas wins pair of ESPYs

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas took home a pair of ESPY awards, winning the award for Best NHL Player and Best Championship Performance.

Thomas led the NHL in both goals against average (2.00) and save percentage (.938) in a Vezina-winning regular season. His save percentage set the record for the best in a single season. He then posted a playoffs-leading .940 save percentage en route to winning the Conn Smythe trophy for the most valuable player to his team in the postseason. He also posted an NHL-best 1.98 goals against average in the playoffs.

Thomas’ Vezina was the second of his career, as he also won the award in the 2008-09 season.

Do Bruins have most productive fighters?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

In case you need a refresher of what the Bruins’€™ roster looks like, TSN ranked which fighters in the NHL are the most productive.

The list is littered with Bruins, as Milan Lucic is ranked No. 1, and all five Bruins on the 85-man list rank in the top 15.

In order to come up with the list, players with at least five fightning majors last season were sorted by their TSN player rating, which is a weighted formula consisting of goals per game, assists per game, plus-minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game winning goals, shots on goal, blocked shots, hits, giveaways, takeaways and faceoffs.

In addition to Lucic topping the list, Nathan Horton was ranked No. 3, with fellow B’€™s Adam McQuaid (No. 6), Gregory Campbell (No. 8 ) and Shawn Thornton (No. 15) also making the list.

Here’€™s how the top 15 shook out:

Lucic and Horton each had seven fights for the Bruins last season. Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season, had the most goals among players with at least five fighting majors. Horton’€™s 26 tallies put him second among that group.

While Thornton’€™s value has been his ability to fight throughout his time in the NHL, he had a career year last season, totaling 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points. McQuaid’€™s plus-30 rating put him in a tie with Vancouver’€™s Daniel Sedin, among others, for fifth-best in the NHL last season.

Scott Cullen, who put the piece together, writes that the fact that the Bruins, who finished second in fighting majors last season with 71, won the Stanley Cup, their physical style may be viewed as a winning formula. Cullen believes this could lead to other teams trying to load up on power forwards and enforcers.

The idea of ranking fighters based on their value of players is interesting, as TSN’s list comes far from ranking how the players are as fighters, though that of course is not their intention.

When it comes to dropping the gloves, McQuaid or Thornton certainly have more to offer than the B’€™s first-line wingers, but the fact that both the Bruins’€™ first and fourth lines are represented by two players each in the top 15 shows that the Bruins certainly look for grit throughout their lineup.

Though Lucic is the modern-day version of a power forward, one who wanted to suggest he picks his spots would probably have an argument. His seven fights were a far cry from the 10 and 13 he had in his first two years. Yet that’€™s what comes as a player develops into more of a goal-scorer, as last year was not only his first 30-goal season, but his first 20-goal season as well.

As for Horton, his first season in Boston represented a career-high in fights. He more than doubled his previous best, as he totaled three during the 2007-08 season. Over his last three seasons with the Panthers, he had just four fighting majors.

Now the number the Bruins would probably like to see up is his goal total. Horton’€™s 26 goals last season were the most he’€™s had in three seasons, but he had 28 in 2005-06, 31 in 2006-07 and 27 in 2007-08.

Report: Bruins wouldn’t give Tomas Kaberle more than two years

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

According to NHL.com’s E.J. Hradek, the Bruins would not go past two years when negotiating with free agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle. The unwillingness to give him a longer deal makes given that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that the term of the contract was the biggest stumbling block between the two parties the day Kaberle took a three-year, $12.75 million deal with the Hurricanes last week.

Writes Hradek: “One team source in Boston says the B’s would have done a one-year deal and possibly two years with Kaberle, depending on the price. They weren’t, according to the source, going to any further than two years.”

Another interesting note in the report is that the Hurricanes requested Kaberle keep up with the team’s conditioning program. Kaberle appeared to be out of shape in his time with the Bruins, and Hradek writes that the Hurricanes plan on giving the 34-year-old more than 20 minutes a night.

Dougie Hamilton recalls both times he met Zdeno Chara

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

A picture that Dougie Hamilton took with one of his idols this past year perhaps best illustrates how much being drafted can change things.

He won’t play in the NHL next season, but if he did, Hamilton would be the second-tallest defenseman on the Bruins. Having gained between a quarter of an inch and half an inch since the end of the season, the ninth overall pick in last month’s draft stands right around 6-foot-5.

Hamilton is used to being one of the taller guys out there, but he’s known since he was drafted that he won’t be the biggest Bruin. The Toronto native has long admired 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, and the prospect met the Stanley Cup champion at the team’s development camp.

“He just said, ‘Hi, I’m Zee.’ I told him congrats, and he said ‘you too,’” recalled an excited Hamilton after camp concluded.

It wasn’t Hamilton’s first time meeting Chara, but the last time the two met, the circumstances were much different.

“I went down to the room after a game this year in Toronto and took a picture with him,” Hamilton said. “I kind of thought about that picture when I met him [at camp]. It’s pretty cool. You’re a fan, and you’re seeing him and taking pictures with him, and a couple months later you’re shaking his hand and could be his teammate one day. It’s definitely cool.”

Perhaps the next time a picture is taken of the two, they’ll both be on the ice at the team’s training camp. When he makes the big club in a year or two, Bruins fans can picture a rather large defensive pairing, should they skate together.

“He makes me feel small,” Hamilton, who needs to add around 20 pounds before he will be at optimal playing weight, said. “I don’t really feel small too often, but he definitely [makes it seem that way].”

Hamilton showed off his skills over the five-day development camp at Ristuccia Arena. He projects to be a top-pairing defenseman when he eventually reaches the NHL. The 18-year-old hopes to weigh between 210 and 220 pounds by then, with general manager Peter Chiarelli saying that 210 pounds “would be great.”

Peter Chiarelli: Bruins still negotiating with Brad Marchand

Monday, July 11th, 2011

WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after the team’s development camp that there is no news to report with regard to contract negotiations with restricted free agent Brad Marchand.

“We’ve continued to talk,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve had some discussion, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Marchand, 23, scored 21 goals and added 20 assists for 41 points in his rookie season, winning the team’s seventh player award. He finished second on the Bruins with 11 postseason goals, and his plus-12 rating put him in a tie for third on the B’s in the playoffs.

The young winger is the only Bruins’ restricted free agent. Given that they have qualified him, the team match any offer sheet Marchand signs with another club or lose him in exchange for draft pick compensation. Defenseman Shane Hnidy is the lone other unsigned player, but the B’s have told the restricted free agent that they will not be offering him a contract.