Archive for May, 2014

Rangers eliminate Canadiens to advance to Stanley Cup finals

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The Rangers eliminated the Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals to advance to the Stanley Cup finals Thursday. Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 18 shots he faced in a 1-0 win for his first shutout of the postseason.

The Canadiens, who upset the Presidents’€™ Trophy-winning Bruins in the conference semifinals, played the final five games of the season with top goaltending prospect Dustin Tokarski in net after Carey Price was lost for the series after an injury suffered in Game 1 against the Rangers.

The upcoming series, which will played against either the 2012 Cup champion Kings or 2013 Cup champion Blackhawks, marks Lundqvist’€™s first trip to the Cup finals. The Rangers were last in the Cup finals in 1994, when they won the Stanley Cup in seven games over the Canucks.

It also marks a quick turnaround for a team that fired coach John Tortorella after last season and replaced him with former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

The Kings lead the Western Conference finals, 3-2, entering Friday’€™s Game 6.

Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly undergo surgery

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Both Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly have undergone surgery for injuries suffered this season and are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, according to a statement released by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Lucic suffered a left wrist injury of Game 7 of the second round against the Canadiens, while Kelly missed the entire postseason with a herniated disk in his back.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Pierre McGuire on M&M: Jarome Iginla likely will ‘want to stay in Boston’

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the upcoming offseason for the Bruins and the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins will enter this offseason with 11 free agents (five unrestricted, six restricted). One of Boston’s biggest decisions over the coming months will be what to do with Jarome Iginla, who is set to hit the open market. Iginla tied for the team lead in goals with 30 and fit in perfectly with Boston’€™s first line of Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

However, concerns have been raised over both Iginla’€™s age (he will turn 37 on July 1) and the price that it would take to bring the future Hall of Famer back.

“The last time I talked to Jarome was right before Game 7 and I thought he was doing great. He just loves being in Boston,” McGuire said. “€œHe really enjoyed his teammates, really enjoyed playing with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, so that’€™s No. 1. No. 2, I think that you can get him signed to a deal, and I think the Bruins probably want to get him signed to a deal. He did a really good job. There will be a marketplace for him, but I have to think he’€™ll want to stay in Boston.”

Another difficult decision this summer will revolve around the whether or not to bring back Shawn Thornton, who has been a mainstay on the Merlot line for seven season in Boston.

“A team like Calgary would definitely have interest [in Thornton]. You have to have a previous relationship with a player like Shawn to know his actual value to the organization, especially behind closed doors. So I think that’€™s something that plays to Shawn’€™s favor,” McGuire said. “But I would caution Shawn on this. He’€™s had a tremendous career. He’€™s made a lot out of nothing because he’€™s worked so hard to get there. … He’€™s a Bostonian.

“Even though he’€™s from Ontario and he’€™s played for a lot of other teams, he’€™s a Boston guy. He’€™s a Boston Bruin. That’€™s how he should be remembered. I just hope he wouldn’t do it as a short-term deal, because I don’€™t think he has more than another year left to play. I would hate to see him leave and not be remembered as Boston Bruin, because that’€™s what he is.”

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Canucks announce hiring of Bruins exec Jim Benning as GM

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Jim Benning

Jim Benning

The Canucks confirmed Wednesday that they have hired Jim Benning away from the Bruins to serve as their general manager. He will be introduced at a Friday press conference.

Benning, 51, was the assistant general manager for the Bruins. The Edmonton native joined the B’s as director of player personnel in 2006 after spending 12 years in the Sabres organization.

Benning replaces Mike Gillis (a former Bruins forward), who was fired last month by new Canucks president Trevor Linden after the team finished 12th in the Western Conference with a 36-35-11 record. Coach John Tortorella also was fired.

Benning, a defenseman, and Linden were teammates on the Canucks in the late 1980s, although Linden said they had not been in touch since then.

“There were moments of clarity for me in speaking with Jim that we just really connected on a hockey level,” Linden said in a story on the team website. “Our beliefs on how success is built in the National Hockey League were very aligned.”

Added Linden: “Jim is an extremely hard worker, he recognizes how much commitment it takes to build a championship team. He’€™s a guy that doesn’€™t have an ego, I think he’€™s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work, and he’€™s a very down to earth dedicated person, so he’€™s going to fit great in the structure with the organizational values that we want to create here. I’€™m looking forward to working with him.”

Charlie Jacobs on a window of opportunity for Bruins: ‘I do believe we’ll be right back there’

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

With a talented core and a young group of complimentary players in the fold, Bruins management and ownership feels there won’t be a drop-off in performance for while.

As a matter of fact, owner Jeremy Jacobs, son Charlie and team president Cam Neely said Tuesday during their season-ending media availability that there’s no reason to think the Bruins aren’t poised for another run at the Stanley Cup in 2015.

“[There's] a tremendous amount of confidence in our both on-ice leadership and off-the-ice leadership,” Charlie Jacobs said. “A lot of character in our dressing room, and it starts with Zee [Zdeno Chara], but listen ‘€” there are a lot of complimentary pieces, and when you consider Patrice [Bergeron] and Krech [David Krejci], and we may have lost something with Andy Ference but we picked it up with Jarome [Iginla]. And then there’€™s a lot of character and leadership, and they held each other accountable, and you saw in your exit interviews ‘€” they all felt as though they maybe didn’€™t necessarily play their best but they let the team down, and that meant more to them than, say, their individual stats. And I think that speaks volumes about the mentality in the locker room itself, and that’€™s what you aspire to have.”

The Bruins reportedly did suffer a bit of a hit Tuesday with word that assistant general manager Jim Benning has been named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing the fired Mike Gillis.

“In terms of our organizational leadership, I think with Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli] and Don Sweeney and Jim [Benning], they’€™ve done a great job of really trying to assemble a mixture of both veteran and some young leadership to bring us back to the promised-land,” Charlie Jacobs added. “And you need that mix. You need the right mix. We maybe erred a bit, a little bit, in terms of having too many inexperienced defensemen. If you think about it, really only two of them ‘€” two veterans on the back line this postseason. But as my dad referred to, that will pay dividends as you progress moving forward. So listen, I have great faith in both aspects. I do believe we’€™ll be right back there. I expect that we’€™ll be back there. Stranger things have happened, but I hope we start right out of the gate where we left off in March, not necessarily at the end of April.”

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Cam Neely talks buyouts, fighting and Jarome Iginla’s future

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday at TD Garden to wrap up media availability for the 2013-14 season.

Though little news emerged from the press conference, Neely did say that the team has not discussed using compliance buyouts on any of their players. Peter Chiarelli vowed not to use them last season, and Neely hinted the same might go for this offseason.

“We haven’€™t talked about that, no,” Neely said.

Teams are not allowed to buy out injured players, so even if the team wanted to buy out a veteran like Chris Kelly (two more years with a $3 million cap hit), the herniated disc that caused him to miss the playoffs could get in the way of such a move.

One thing discussed annually at these press conferences is the status of the team’s next practice facility, and Charlie Jacobs gave little update.

“We just had a meeting about our practice facility and [there are] a couple of different options,” Jacobs said. “[It's] best that I keep where we’€™re at right now a little close to the vest and say that we are moving along, and pursuing two distinct possibilities, both within 15 miles of the rink here.”

The two possibilities are believed to be the facility being built in Brighton next to the New Balance building and a potential facility that would be built next to the Garden.

Here are some of the other topics that were discussed:

- Neely wasn’t a fan of his team getting itself in hot water during the playoffs, such as on Milan Lucic‘s spear of Danny DeKeyser, Shawn Thornton squirting P.K. Subban with a water bottle and Lucic’s threats during the handshake line at the end of the second round.

“You don’€™t like to see that happen,” Neely said. “The stick work is something that, you know, now-a-days you just can’€™t get away with. There’€™s two referees, there’€™s all kinds of cameras, there’€™s reporters that tweet information out as soon as it happens. You can’€™t get away with certain things like you used to be able to do. The water bottle incident is something that as an organization you don’€™t like to see happen to be quite honest with you. Stick work happens, it’€™s not just our team that does it, it does happen. I can tell you this, in handshake lines there’€™s probably worse things that have been said that just don’€™t get public. In the history of handshake lines, I can almost guarantee that.”

- Neely defended the lack of movement at the trade deadline. The team tried trading for Alexander Edler, but that deal fell through and the team had to settle for Andrej Meszaros, a depth player who served mostly as a healthy scratch in the postseason.

“I can speak to what we tried to do at the deadline. Not in detail, but with what was available and how we thought we wanted to add as opposed to add and subtract, we thought we had something in place but it was predicated on another team making a deal and it didn’€™t pan out,” Neely said. “But again, we were going through that really good stretch of hockey and we thought we really just needed to add some depth and if a player with term became available, like the one we were trying to acquire, it would have been a bonus for us. But obviously I don’€™t think that is the full reason why we didn’€™t get past the second round, to be honest with you.”

- Jarome Iginla is the biggest name on the team set to hit free agency. Because of the cap penalties the team will have to pay for his one-year deal from last season, the Bruins’ best shot at keeping him is to get him to take another one-year, bonus-padded contract. Neely would like the player to return.

“I thought he started out a little slow when he came on, he came on late and he came on strong,” Neely said of Iginla. “Obviously he’€™s a leader, he’€™s the captain of another team for a long time and he came in and added in an element to our group, especially the forward group. He ended up scoring 30 goals which is not easy in this league anymore and we would like to try and see if we can figure something out moving forward with him. We will see where that goes but I thought he fit in really well with our team.”

- Neely didn’t say where things stand with Thornton, though he did echo Peter Chiarelli’s sentiments about there being less of a place in the NHL for fighters.

“I still believe that we like the physical game and physical play which at times leads to dropping the gloves,” Neely said. “But there’€™s always been a lot of talk, primarily with the media, about you know, ‘€˜is fighting still necessary in our game?’€™. I think with the way the game’€™s played and how it is played and how physical it is, I still feel it is still part of the game. But where it goes, you see from like 70s, 80s, 90s, it’€™s a little different or probably still trend that way, yes.”

Jeremy Jacobs has no intention of selling Bruins to buy NFL’s Buffalo Bills: ‘I kind of like where I am’

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Jeremy Jacobs said Tuesday he has no plans to sell the Bruins to buy the Buffalo Bills. (AP)

Jeremy Jacobs said Tuesday he has no plans to sell the Bruins to buy the Buffalo Bills. (AP)

When Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills in April, after the passing of longtime owner Ralph Wilson, Bruins fans wondered if that meant the end of his stewardship of the NHL franchise.

Tuesday, during a 25-minute address to reporters at TD Garden, Jacobs made it clear that he has no such intentions and is quite happy as the owner of the “Original Six” franchise.

“Well, I can’€™t buy the Bills, because I own the Bruins,” Jacobs said, referring to the NFL by-laws that prohibit owning teams in different cities. “That’€™s not a bad place to be. I kind of like where I am.”

Jacobs is among the wealthiest and most successful businessmen in the world, owning the Delaware North Companies, with an individual net worth of approximately $3.1 billion. Jacobs was initially among a group of several Western New York businessmen reported to be interested in the Bills. Another businessman reportedly interested was real estate tycoon Donald Trump.

Jacobs has owned the Bruins since 1975. Jacobs also represents the club on the NHL‘s Board of Governors and serves on its Executive Committee. At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in June 2007, Jacobs was elected Chairman of the Board, replacing the Calgary Flames‘ Harley Hotchkiss.

Jacobs made changes in management of the Bruins, with the retirement of veteran team president Harry Sinden from active management of the team into an advisory capacity. New management included Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien. Cam Neely, who was on the dais Tuesday with Jacobs and Jacobs’ son Charlie, was also lured back to the new organization and subsequently named as President of the team.

Since 2008, the Bruins have made playoffs every year, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the Cup finals in 2013 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy this past season as the team with the best record and most points (117).