|Zdeno Chara won’t need surgery, vows to return to normal self||04.13.15 at 2:28 pm ET|
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 “maybe 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.”
|Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien unsure of job security with Bruins||04.13.15 at 1:24 pm ET|
Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien held their annual breakup day press conference Monday at TD Garden. They’re well aware it could be their last public appearance as Bruins employees.
After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, both Julien and Chiarelli are at risk of losing their jobs. Chiarelli seemingly had authorization to notify Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille that the Bruins would not be re-signing them. As such, he said he is able to handle this breakup day the way he has in previous years.
Charlie Jacobs said in January that missing the playoffs would be unacceptable and that the team’s leadership was under review.
“The job uncertainty, the questions surrounding us is part of the job and you have to deal with it and move forward, but it hasn’t impacted my interviews, my discussions, my dealings with Claude,” Chiarelli said. “Business as usual.”
Julien and Chiarelli don’t know whether they’re staying or going. They also don’t know when they’ll be notified.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Chiarelli said. “As I said, business as usual until we hear otherwise.”
This is the first time in Julien’s eight-year tenure in Boston that the Bruins have not made the playoffs. Asked if one year was enough to warrant being on the hot seat, Julien said it doesn’t matter.
“The bottom line is it’s a tough business and right now it’s not my decision to make,” Julien said. “It will all depend on how it’s being viewed from above me and [I’ll] deal with it from there. I’m like Peter. I’ve had exit interviews today with players and my job continues just like any other year. Again, I’m kind of repeating what Peter said: Unless I’m told otherwise, I’ve got to continue to do that.
“I’ve been here for eight years and enjoy being here and certainly look forward to staying here. Again, having said that, I also understand the nature of this business.”
|Bruins won’t re-sign Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille||04.13.15 at 12:23 pm ET|
Much of the conversation of Monday’s breakup day at TD Garden revolved around the future of the Bruins. Some current players won’t be part of it.
Paille and Campbell have already been notified that they won’t be back. Bartkowski has not yet been told whether he’ll be offered a contract. Soderberg will not return to Sweden. He’d like to stay with the Bruins, but he would get more money and opportunity elsewhere.
The free agents are just part of the equation. Especially if Peter Chiarelli is to be relieved of his duties, trades could be a big part of this offseason. The biggest name to watch in that regard is that of Milan Lucic. The 26-year-old left wing is entering the final year of his three-year, $18 million contract, and though he wants to stay, that might not be the right business move for the Bruins.
“I like to think that I’m worth it,” Lucic said of his contract. “I showed in the past that I earned the deal that I’m currently on with my play on the ice. That’s one of the things that I have to do in order to [get another big contract] moving forward. I have to prove that I’m still worth that, and you have to prove that by your play on the ice.
“I still believe I can bring a lot to the table as a player. I plan on doing that moving forward.”
Lucic’s modified no-trade clause allows him to submit a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a trade. He is coming off an 18-goal season, marking the second time in the last three seasons that he has averaged less than 0.25 goals per game. Lucic scored at a 0.37 goals per game rate in his 30-goal 2010-11 campaign.
|Missing the points: Looking at Bruins’ squandered games||04.12.15 at 2:12 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. – Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk weren’t the only tough losses for the Bruins.
Though the Bruins’ 96 points make them the best regular-season team to miss the playoffs in Eastern Conference history, it was the missing 97th, 98th and 99th points that kept them out. They could have easily been had throughout the season, but the B’s found a way to lose a lot of games they should have won. Here’s a look at some of points that ended up burning the Bruins.
Oct. 28 vs. Wild (4-3 loss)
The Bruins held a 3-1 lead after two periods against a team that was playing in its second game of a back-to-back. Rather than putting the Wild away, Boston allowed three unanswered third-period goals to lose in regulation. Boston wasted a three-point performance from Seth Griffith.
Dec. 27 at Blue Jackets (6-2 loss)
Boston’s post-Christmas loss in Columbus is the loss here that was a blowout. This one was on Claude Julien more than anyone else, as the coach made the perplexing move of starting Niklas Svedberg in the first game back from the holiday break.
Svedberg allowed three goals in the first 26:32 minutes of the game, forcing Julien to play Rask anyway in what was then a 3-1 game. Rask allowed three more goals in the loss.
The B’s had won their last two games before the break and had three days off between their win over Nashville on the 23rd and their game in Columbus. The game was one of three in which Rask had to take the net in relief after the B’s tried to give him a breather.
Jan. 4 at Hurricanes (2-1 shootout loss) Read the rest of this entry »
|Tuukka Rask: ‘It felt like if I let in more than 2 goals, it’s going to be done’||04.11.15 at 11:53 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — Nobody had to work harder than Tuukka Rask this season. His efforts were not rewarded.
The Bruins leaned on Rask to play the final 12 games of a season that also saw him play 15 straight from mid-January on. Those stretches were part what ended up being a career-high 70-game campaign for Boston’s starter. Rask was one of only three goalies to hit the 70-game mark this season.
Making matters more difficult for Rask was Boston’s difficulty scoring this season, meaning the goaltender could not afford to have many off-nights. Following the team’s elimination from postseason contention, the 2013-14 Vezina winner admitted the heavy workload got to him.
“Honestly, it felt like [I] played like 15 playoff series out there, but we battled and I battled and just tried to give us a chance to win every game,” Rask said. “The last I don’t know how many games, it felt like if I let in more than two goals, it’s going to be done. Obviously it drains you mentally, but we battled.”
Asked whether he felt the workload was too much, Rask said the more difficult part was the lack of breathing room given all the close games.
“I don’t think the amount of games, but when you’re struggling with your team game and you know that you have to be on top of your game every night and you play pretty much 70 of those games, it’s tough,” he said. “It’s too much for anybody because it’s like a playoff game every night out there. But physically I felt fine and we’ll see how we move on.”
Rask finished the season with a .922 save percentage, which was seventh among NHL goaltenders with at least 50 starts.
|Milan Lucic doesn’t want to be traded, Bruins players accept blame for lost season||04.11.15 at 11:37 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins didn’t play dumb after concluding their disaster of a 2014-15 season. They know that when the bar is set high and the results come in low, things can change quickly.
Charlie Jacob’s words about the team’s leadership being under review midway through the season suggested general manager and Peter Chiarelli could be on the hot seat. Star players could be shipped out of town.
Milan Lucic, a player who is both one-of-a-kind and overpaid, hopes this season didn’t cost anyone their jobs, himself included. Lucic has one season remaining on a three-year, $18 million contract with a modified no-trade clause. The 26-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent following the deal, had just 18 goals in 81 games this season.
“Obviously, there’s high expectations on this team and this organization,” he said. “I think, if you look at things, when there’s those high expectations and they aren’t met, changes usually seem to be made. As a player, those are things that are out of your control.
“For myself, personally, I just want to be back and stay in Boston. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can.”
Players were aware of Jacobs’ comments. The B’s went on a five-game winning streak in January following that press conference, but their play dropped off again in a season full of starts and stops. Tuukka Rask felt that said the players failed their bosses and not the other way around.
“Coaches put the game plan out there and we go out there and try to execute it,” Tuukka Rask said. “Obviously that wasn’t the case this year, so a lot of it falls on us as players because we underachieved. We just have to live with it.”
Asked about Julien and Chiarelli, Brad Marchand said it’s ‘not their fault that we didn’t perform.’ Marchand, who led the Bruins with 24 goals this season, said that nobody did well enough this season.
“I don’t think that any of us really performed to our capabilities this year,” Marchand said. “The goals may have been there at times, but that doesn’t mean that I had any better of a season than anyone else. I think we all know that we could have been better, and if we were then we wouldn’t be here right now. This is a failure of a season for all of us and it doesn’t matter what guys’ stats were.”
|Bruins lament failure of season||04.11.15 at 11:34 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins never gained traction this season and now it’s over. Though injuries and the team’s coaches/management will be blamed for the team’s demise, the team’s motor was seemingly busted all season.
“When you don’t make the playoffs, you’ve failed,” Claude Julien said after the Bruins finished ninth in the Eastern Conference.
For all the team’s inconsistency this season, the Bruins were in control of a playoff spot entering the final week of the season. Boston sat third in the Atlantic Division entering their season-ending three-game road trip, but regulation losses in Washington and Florida left the Bruins needing teams like the Senators and Penguins to lose in order for Boston to get in.
That didn’t happen and the Bruins got what was coming.
“I really don’t have an answer,” Chris Kelly said. “You’d think at the most critical time, we’d be playing our best hockey, and that wasn’t the case. It was in our hands and we let it get away. This is ultimately what happens.”
Kelly and other leaders called out the team at multiple points in an effort to return to the success of seasons past, but their efforts rarely took.
“I mean, you talk about it all the time. You talk about, ‘We need to have everybody going. We need to do this, we need to do that,’ and at the end of the day I just think a lot of it is mental,” Tuukka Rask said. “We never really got to that comfort zone. It seemed like we were nervous a lot of times out there and just couldn’t overcome that as a team. It’s frustrating, but I really don’t know why that happened.”
Now, the Bruins will not play postseason hockey for the first time since 2006-07.
“We could have been better. We could have been more consistent throughout the year,” Zdeno Chara said. “It’s been a tough year for us all around. I think everybody could have been better.”