|Claude Julien already has his place in Bruins history||07.24.12 at 7:21 am ET|
Claude Julien‘s stay in Boston has worked out pretty well, and to the surprise of no one, it isn’t over yet.
The Bruins announced Monday that they locked up the coach with a multi-year deal, with a press conference to take place Tuesday at TD Garden. With him will be Peter Chiarelli, the man who finally stopped the revolving door of Bruins coaches in 2007 and found the coach who could not only last more than a couple of seasons but could bring the Stanley Cup to Boston.
As far as Bruins coaches go, Julien, at 460 regular-season games coached, has a ways to go before catching Art Ross (728) and Milt Schmidt (726). Assuming he coaches every game this season, Julien will be at 542. Should he coach the following two seasons in Boston (after all, it’s a multi-year deal that will start in 2013-14), he’ll break the 700-game mark.
In many ways, Julien has perhaps been underappreciated in Boston. Though he may have once appeared to be the Marty Schottenheimer of the NHL for his ability to consistently get teams to the playoffs only to come up short in the postseason, he was there to lead the Bruins out of the mess they’d been in since the lockout and back to respectability.
In his first year on the job, Julien took Boston from a club that had previously finished 13th in the Eastern Conference to a playoff team. The Bruins grabbed the eighth and final playoff spot in 2007-08 and lost to Julien’s former team in the Canadiens, but it was the 2008-09 season — a campaign in which Julien picked up the Jack Adams Award for the league’s top coach — that things really stared to change in Boston. The B’s finished tops in the conference, and it was the first of three consecutive seasons in which the Bruins got past the first round. The last time the Bruins had accomplished such a feat was when they won at least a round in five straight playoffs from 1988 through 1992.
Julien’s crowning achievement, of course, was the 2010-11 season in which the Bruins beat the Canadiens, Flyers, Lightning and Canucks en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup. It seemed that Julien was criticized by select media and fans more than he’d ever been in that season. The Bruins were coming off an embarrassing playoff defeat in 2010 in which they’d blown a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers, and after they were blanked by Jonas Hiller and the Ducks at home on Dec. 20 of the 2010-11 season, it seemed hard to find a fan who didn’t want Chiarelli and Cam Neely to can the coach.
In the playoffs, Julien was scrutinized for his handling of Tyler Seguin. His sticking with Michael Ryder over the then-rookie proved to be right, as Ryder’s Game 4 performance (two goals, one of which was the game-winner in overtime, and an assist) tied the team’s first-round series with the Habs. Seguin shined when he finally got his turn in the Eastern Conference finals, but Julien’s handling of the situation was correct.
Julien definitely has faced some good ol’ fashioned Boston scrutiny thus far in Boston, but if his future with the B’s matches what he’s accomplished in the recent past, fans won’t have much to (logically) complain about.
Now if only they could do something about that power play …
|Rick Nash headed to Rangers, so that Bruins thing isn’t happening||07.23.12 at 3:14 pm ET|
One common solution to many Bruins fans’ problems has been for them to trade for Rick Nash. Their reported interest in the star winger has popped up multiple times over the last year, and while such a scenario never seemed likely, it definitely isn’t happening now.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Rangers and Blue Jackets have agreed to a deal that will send the seven-time 30-goal-scorer to New York. Headed to Columbus for the 2002 first overall pick will be forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky as well as defenseman prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.
While the Rangers have to take on six more years of a $7.8 million salary cap hit with the 28-year-old, it sure looks like New York got the better of the deal. The Rangers didn’t have to touch their core, and while Dubinsky (26) and Anisimov (24) might have their best years ahead of them, they have two 20-goal campaigns between them in eight combined seasons between them. Nash has scored 40 goals twice in nine seasons.
Also, when looking at the haul that the Blue Jackets got, it’s pretty clear the B’s could have easily gotten Nash if they really wanted him. Any one of Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin or Tuukka Rask is a better piece than any of the players New York gave up.
|A national view of Bruins prospects||07.23.12 at 9:57 am ET|
ESPN released its organizational prospect rankings last week (ESPN Insider account required), with the Panthers and revamped Wild taking the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. The Bruins were ranked eighth (they were 14th last year), and having an elite NHL-ready blueliner like Dougie Hamilton certainly had a lot to do with that.
Writes Grant Sonier:
The 2012 draft did not yield much for the Bruins, other than highly touted, athletic goaltender Malcolm Subban (Belleville-OHL). Previous drafts, however, should have B’s fans excited as one of their top prospects has really matured well. D-man Dougie Hamilton (Niagara-OHL) will have a chance to play big minutes and should turn heads in camp this fall. Forward depth is among Boston’s assets in the form of Jared Knight (London-OHL), Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor-OHL) and Ryan Spooner (Sarnia-OHL).
Sleeper Prospect: Tyler Randell, RW, (Kitchener-OHL/Providence-AHL) (sixth round/2009) I like his combination of size, grit and skill. His skating is on the upward swing and he shows potential.
To clarify, Kohkhlachev will play next season in the KHL, not OHL, and we’ll add another potential sleeper in 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara. The Barrie Colts forward is tough as nails and has added some offense to his game over the last season, scoring 16 goals in 2011-12 after totaling eight in his draft year.
For a sense of where the Northeast Division stands, the Canadiens were ranked third, the Sabres were 12th, the Senators were 14th and the Maple Leafs were 22nd.
|Daniel Paille: The other Bruin in ‘Ted’||07.20.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
While Shawn Thornton makes a brief but notable appearance in the movie “Ted,” he isn’t the only Bruin in it. Standing next to Thornton in his scene is fellow Merlot-liner Daniel Paille.
The scene, which features the B’s tough guy screaming, “You’re an [expletive],” jumping out of the crowd at a Norah Jones concert and trying to attack Mark Wahlberg‘s character at the Hatch Shell, was shot last summer. While Thornton has a line in the brief cameo, standing next to him and minding his own business is Paille.
“I was standing there the whole time. I’m literally right beside him but you probably don’t see me because it’s more focused on him,” Paille told WEEI.com this week. “I believe the clip on him, you can barely recognize him. If you don’t know that Shawn’s in it, you won’t know [I am].
“I think Shawn did a great job. He shows his athletic skills,” Paille added with a laugh. “I don’t think there will be any bloopers of him. He did pretty good the whole time.”
Thornton got the gig by nearly having a cameo in the series finale of “Entourage.” He’d gone to the set of “Ted” to meet with Wahlberg about it during the 2010-11 season, and though the team’s Stanley Cup run that year conflicted with shooting, he had made enough of an impression on Seth MacFarlane to land the role in “Ted.” The story of how Paille wound up on screen is a bit more casual.
“Shawn was already pre-planned, and I got a call that night asking if I wanted to stand next to him,” Paille said. “I was more than willing to do that, and for me it was a lot more fun than — I don’t think I’d want a role if they asked me. I’d be nervous to make a mistake and waste film time. It was a lot of fun.”
Thornton himself was nervous about having a line as well (“I was like, ‘[Expletive], I can’t act. Don’t give me a line!’ “ Thornton said), but Paille feels he pulled off the line — consisting of one curse and two other words — pretty well.
“I’m sure he was OK with that,” Paille said. “He’s yelled some worse things.”
|Daniel Paille does yoga for a good cause||07.20.12 at 10:41 am ET|
Daniel Paille‘s been busy this summer between his offseason training and his role as the Bruins’ NHLPA rep amidst CBA negotiations, but he took some time Thursday for a good cause.
Along with wife Dana, Paille did yoga with students at the Kennedy School at Franciscan hospital. It wasn’t hard to tell which of Pailles was new to yoga (Dana is a certified yoga instructor), but the B’s winger enjoyed it nonetheless.
“My wife is actually the one who’s the yoga fanatic and enjoys doing it,” Paille said. “I guess this is the only way she can get me to do yoga, because there’s no other way. This is not my offseason training.”
Added Paille: “It was fun to come here with the kids,” he said. “They seem to enjoy it very much, and with the help of the staff here they find creative ideas to entertain them. I think it’s something a lot of fun for all of them.”
For more on Paille and the CBA negotiations, click here.
|Bruins add more defensive depth, sign Aaron Johnson||07.18.12 at 2:25 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract.
Johnson, 29, played 56 games for the Blue Jackets last year, registering three goals and 16 assists for a career-best 19 points. He had a minus-12 rating.
Johnson has bounced around in the league since being drafted by Columbus in 2001, as he played in the Islanders, Blackhawks, Oilers, Predators and Flames organizations before returning to the Blue Jackets last season.
The former third-round pick played the entire 2010-11 season in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals, notching nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points and 70 penalty minutes. He had a plus-10 rating in the AHL in 2010-11.
The fact that the Bruins have now signed a few fringe-NHL blueliners in Johnson, Garnet Exelby and brought back Matt Bartkowski without signing any true top-6 defensemen suggests that the team is indeed expecting Dougie Hamilton to make the team next season. Any one of the aforementioned three signings could serve as a seventh defenseman at the NHL level.
|Coyotes reportedly interested in David Krejci||07.18.12 at 11:53 am ET|
Wednesday’s post, his final one until next season, contains “bonus end-of-season thoughts.” The 35th thought is as follows:
35. Think the Coyotes, who are looking for offensive help, really like Boston’s David Krejci. I’m not as certain the Bruins are shopping Krejci, but they are loaded down the middle — especially as Tyler Seguin readies for an expanded role. That is probably where all the Keith Yandle rumours come from.
Krejci signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal last season that will begin in the coming season. His cap hit ($5.25 million) makes him Boston’s highest-paid forward. Last season, he had 23 goals and 39 assists for 62 points, good for third on the team behind Seguin (67) and Patrice Bergeron (64).
The interesting thing regarding Krejci’s presence in Boston is that it solidifies that Seguin, who was drafted as a center, will not have the opportunity to play the position full-time as long as Krejci’s around. Bergeron isn’t going anywhere and Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell are both signed for the next three seasons — not that the Bruins would play Seguin on one of their bottom two lines anyway.
As an organization, the Bruins like having multiple guys who can take draws on a given line. Consider that Rich Peverley had also played plenty of center in his career before primarily playing wing on Kelly’s line in Boston. The second line is a similar case, as Bergeron centers a former full-time pivot in Seguin.
The 2010 No. 2 overall pick broke out last season with his 29-goal campaign, but there are still aspects of his game that could suggest he isn’t ready to make the move back to center quite yet. Seguin still has difficulty asserting himself when it comes to going into the corners, something that was often covered up by having a do-it-all center like Bergeron playing with him. Even so, if the Bruins were to trade Krejci, Seguin would likely be the logical replacement on the team’s top line given his offensive skill-set and success in the league despite being 20 years of age.