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Why Bruins should extend Dougie Hamilton for as long as they can 04.17.15 at 1:41 pm ET
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On Friday the Stars announced a seven-year extension with an annual cap hit of $4.25 million for John Klingberg, a promising defenseman coming off his entry-level deal. This offseason the Bruins ideally would use Klingberg’€™s contract as a template for Dougie Hamilton’€™s next deal. Hamilton’€™s camp likely will have other comps in mind.

One of those comps wears No. 76 for the Canadiens. You may have heard of him.

When it comes to Hamilton’€™s worth at the end of his entry-level deal, P.K. Subban is a very realistic comparable. Just look at their numbers through each of their first contracts:

SubbanHamilton2

In terms of points per game, Hamilton also is in some pricey company:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 1.05.23 PM

Hamilton will become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Bruins probably want to give him a long-term deal, but if he takes a shorter deal and gets to sign his third contract soon, he could potentially make a lot more money.

That’€™s what happened with Subban. The Canadiens were actually unwilling to give him the long-term deal he wanted after his entry-level deal expired, so he took a two-year deal worth just $2.875 million per. Subban shoved that in Marc Bergevin’€™s face by winning the Norris in the first year of that deal and later cashing in with an eight-year deal with an annual cap hit of $9 million.

The Bruins should avoid that scenario at all costs. Hamilton already is the Bruins’€™ second-best defenseman and easily is worth $5 million a year, and probably more.

The Bruins should give Hamilton a number that high for as long as he’€™ll take. Seven years at $5 million-plus per would buy out three years of unrestricted free agency, delaying perhaps Hamilton’€™s biggest payday until he is 29.

Because of that, Hamilton’€™s camp will demand more per year the longer the deal goes. A shorter deal will mean a smaller cap hit, as Hamilton will easily make up that money in free agency sooner if he gets there.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban,
Cam Neely says next general manager will decide Claude Julien’s fate 04.15.15 at 4:57 pm ET
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While Peter Chiarelli’s fate is known, Claude Julien‘s isn’t.

Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs said in Wednesday’s press conference that a decision has still not been made on whether Julien will be kept or fired. Neely made it clear that just because Julien hasn’t been fired yet, it doesn’t mean he won’t be.

“It hasn’€™t fully been made,’€ Neely said of the decision. “We met with Claude this morning, Charlie and I. We told him that we really believe that once we go through the exhaustive search to find the next general manager, we will leave it up to that GM to decide what he wants to do on our coaching staff. Claude certainly understood that, but that’€™s where we left it.”

If the Bruins wait to fire Julien, the coach could miss out on other jobs. Julien signed a multi-year extension with the Bruins prior to this season and, if fired, would be paid it until he got a new job.

As such, there would be no incentive for Julien to quit while in limbo.

“We told him the situation and we asked him, and he said, ‘€˜I signed a contract to coach here and I want to coach here,’€™ so he made that clear when he left,” Neely said. “We had planned to meet with him in the next couple days to sit down about the season and talk to him about this past season. That’€™s next on our agenda with Claude.”

Asked whether the Bruins would consider “trading” Julien for draft picks, Neely said the team had yet to consider it.

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

Read More: Cam Neely, Claude Julien,
Bruins don’t convey preference for internal vs. external hire for GM 04.15.15 at 3:48 pm ET
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The Bruins do not have a preference on whether to fill their vacant general manager spot with an internal or external candidate. Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs said in a press conference Wednesday that hockey operations will report to Neely in the meantime.

“We’€™re going to take our time and go through the process and make sure we make a decision is best for the organization,” Neely said.

Assistant general manager Don Sweeney would figure to be the top internal candidate for the job. Asked whether promoting from within would bring about enough change after firing Peter Chiarelli, both were noncommittal.

“It’€™s really about what we feel is going to be best for organization,” Neely said.

Added Jacobs: “Find the best candidate. Period.”

Bruins fire general manager Peter Chiarelli, three scouts 04.15.15 at 10:56 am ET
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The Bruins announced Wednesday morning that they have fired general manager Peter Chiarelli.

The firing comes after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. The only other season under Chiarelli that the B’s failed to qualify for the postseason was 2006-07, his first with the club.

“We are grateful for Peter’s service to the Bruins organization over the last nine seasons,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a press release. “His efforts undoubtedly helped the team achieve great success during his tenure and he helped restore the proud tradition of Boston Bruins hockey. We ultimately feel that this change is necessary in order to ensure sustainable success for the club both in the short term and the long term. Our search for a new General Manager will begin immediately.”

The B’s also fired amateur scouts Mike Chiarelli (Peter Chiarelli’s brother), Denis Leblanc and European head scout Jukka Holtari.

No interim general manager has been named, though assistant general manager Don Sweeney is the most obvious internal candidate.

“Peter Chiarelli has done a tremendous job for the Boston Bruins over the last nine seasons,” Jeremy Jacobs said in a statement released later in the day. “During that time I have come to know, and like him, both professionally and personally. This decision was not an easy one for Cam and Charlie but, ultimately, the right one for this organization. They have my full support in this decision. I know Peter will move on and continue to do great things in the league and I would give him my highest recommendation.”

The highlight of Chiarelli’s tenure came in June of 2011, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in his fifth season with the team. The B’s were back in the Cup Final two years later, falling to the Blackhawks in six games.

While drafting was Chiarelli’s most notable shortcoming, his dealings with veteran players were a reason the Bruins became an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Chiarelli’s move from Ottawa to Boston inspired top free agent Zdeno Chara to do the same, while the re-signings of Chara and Patrice Bergeron prior to the 2010-11 season locked up the team’s two best players right before they led the team to the Cup.

Chiarelli was also bold with his roster management. His trade of Tyler Seguin to the Stars in the summer of 2013 did not yield a proper return for the caliber of scorer the Bruins dealt, while the Bruins’ signing of Jarome Iginla left them with millions of dead money against the salary cap this season. The cap crunch forced Boston to shed salary going into this season, with Chiarelli opting to move Johnny Boychuk because the free-agent-to-be would yield the best return of players not expected to stay in Boston long-term.

Chiarelli still has multiple years remaining on his contract. He will continue to be paid by the Bruins until he takes a job with another club.

Read More: Peter Chiarelli,
Torey Krug named to US Men’s National Team for World Championship 04.14.15 at 3:34 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was one of 15 players named to the US Men’€™s national team as part of the squad’€™s initial roster announcement. Team USA will compete in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’€™s World Championship May 1-17 in the Czech Republic.

Other NHL players named to the team include Marc Arcobello, Justin Faulk, Jake Gardiner, Matt Hendricks, Trevor Lewis, John Moore, Jeremy Morin, Connor Murphy, Dan Sexton and Ben Smith.

Leominster native and former University of New Hampshire forward Steve Moses was also named to the team. Moses most recently played in the KHL.

Bruins assign Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Zach Trotman to Providence for AHL playoffs 04.13.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Zach Trotman will play postseason hockey this spring after all, just not the way they had hoped.

The Bruins assigned all three players to Providence on Monday, which will allow the trio to play in the Calder Cup playoffs next week. The Baby B’s clinched their playoff spot last Friday.

Pastrnak, the team’s first-round pick in last summer’s draft, played 47 NHL games this season. He finished with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points. Spooner had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 29 games for Boston this season, while Trotman played in 27 games as the Bruins dealt with various injuries on the blue line.

All three players figure to be on Boston’s NHL roster next season. Trotman is on a one-way deal, while Pastrnak will be in the second year of his entry level contract. Trotman is a restricted free agent who is expected to be re-signed.

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

Zdeno Chara won’t need surgery, vows to return to normal self 04.13.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara‘€™s PCL may be toast, but he says he’s got a healthy offseason ahead of him.

Chara will not require knee surgery after tearing the PCL on Oct. 23 and missing nearly two months. He admitted that he wasn’€™t right when in his first 10-15 games back.

“Obviously I was not looking good and [took] a lot of criticism for that, but that’€™s the only way you can do it,” he said. “What are you going to do? You’€™ve just got to play. You’€™ve just got to go through it and eventually you play out of it. It took me a number of games, but then I started feeling better and better, made more adjustments and honestly, towards the end I had no issues. I was skating back to normal. It just takes time.”

The ligament Chara tore is pretty much destroyed — he said “œmaybe 10 percent”€ is still attached –€” but it stabilized after two or three months. Chara, who will continue to wear a knee brace, feels the PCL will not be an issue this summer.

In the final week of the season, Chara was hit twice in the left ankle by shots. He said he is in fine health now heading into the offseason.

If that’€™s true, that will be a departure from the last couple of years. Chara played through injuries until the end of the last two seasons entering this year, with a hip issue hindering him in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final and broken fingers hurting his play against the Canadiens in the second round last season.

Instead of having to recover from such injuries in a relatively short offseason, Chara now has all of the spring and summer to train. He will continue to tweak his workout plan.

This season was a step back from Chara’€™s 2013-14 season, which was one of the best of his career and deserving of the Norris Trophy (he finished second). Asked whether he can tell after a season with injuries if he is still the same player, the 38-year-old was adamant in his response.

“I am,” he said. “Believe me, I will be.”

Continued Chara: “I know there’€™s a lot of questions asked about my age and this and that, but trust me, it’€™s not an issue. If it [wasn’€™t] an issue last year, why would it be this year? One year, you’€™re not going to lose everything.

“It’€™s something that an injury did happen, and obviously, it slowed down the whole season. As much as I would like to have a great season, it’€™s not going to happen when you miss two months off the ice and then it takes another month just to get your timing back. For sure, it’€™s not ideal. It’€™s difficult to deal with, but I will find a way to be [great] again. I have no doubt to be at my top performance.”

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
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