|How will this week impact the 2012-13 Bruins?||06.19.12 at 4:21 am ET|
Thanks to trades and ‘ let’s face it, the Maple Leafs ‘ the Bruins have been able to do something in recent years that often isn’t guaranteed in the NHL draft: come out of the weekend with a better NHL roster. For the first time in three years, the Bruins will not be selecting in the first 10 picks of the NHL draft, so this may be a return to reality as a contending team during draft week.
The Bruins have five picks on this weekend, with selections in rounds 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7. Their second-rounder was given up in the Tomas Kaberle deal, a rare instance these days in which the Leafs can actually say they stole draft picks from Boston, while the B’s sent their fourth-round pick to Carolina last July in the Joe Corvo trade. Puck-moving busts took their toll on Boston’s collection of picks in this draft, but the Bruins are still in good position to take advantage of a deep group of defensemen with the 24th overall pick.
‘There’s a lot of good defensemen in this draft,’ Peter Chiarelli said Monday. ‘So we’re hoping ‘¦ that some will slip and because of the number of defensemen ‘ I’ve never seen it ‘ the number of NHL defensemen this large.’
Of course, last season the Bruins capitalized mightily on a slipping defensemen. Niagara (OHL) defenseman Dougie Hamilton fell to the B’s, who gladly scooped him up ninth overall with Toronto’s pick. The selection was considered a steal at the time, but since then the 6-foot-6 Hamilton has lit up the OHL with a 72-point season in 50 regular-season games.
Assuming they stay put, the Bruins won’t be getting a Hamilton or a Tyler Seguin, both of whom were major prospects that were expected to go in the first five picks. They could still upgrade their NHL roster via trade, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Remember, the week of the 2010 draft, the Bruins, who were already picking second overall thanks to the Maple Leafs, sent their own first-rounder (15th overall) to Florida in the deal that landed them Nathan Horton. The Panthers moved down with the pick in a trade with the Kings before selecting Nick Bjugstad 19th overall, and while Bjugstad’s point-per-game pace at The University of Minnesota makes him a very bright prospect for Florida, the Bruins got the first-line forward they needed. Though the Bruins picked up all four of their wins in the Stanley Cup finals without Horton, they likely wouldn’t have been there in the first place were it not for heroics in the first three rounds.
The Bruins have three of their four lines from last season under contract, with restricted free agent Benoit Pouliot‘s future the only one that’s uncertain at this point. Chiarelli has said multiple times since the Bruins were eliminated that he’d like to add a forward, but don’t bank on him swinging a draft-week trade like he did two years ago.
‘The reality is that the trade market right now is the most active,’ Chiarelli said Monday. ‘What’ll happen is come July, that will take a bit of a backseat to free agency, and then once we go through that first tranche of free agents, then the trade market will re-emerge. Right now, with the trade market the way it is, I make some calls, but frankly, I’m probably more apt to wait till the free agent market and then the secondary trade market.’
Chiarelli did say on his conference call Monday that he would like to add another pick if he can, but that the signings of prospects like Torey Krug and Niklas Svedberg have helped to make up for the lack of selections.
As is, the Bruins have enough capable players that their NHL roster could conceivably be set. Assuming Jordan Caron gets a full-time job next year, the B’s could be fine offensively regardless of whether they sign Pouliot. Defensively, expect Hamilton to take Corvo/Greg Zanon‘s spot and just like that you’ve got a lineup. Though there isn’t much room for it, the B’s could still stand to add for the sake of avoiding stagnancy. If they do, it doesn’t seem like it will be this week. Instead, expect the draft-wait-and-see approach that teams without premium picks have used for so long.
|Guess what the Bruins did a year ago?||06.15.12 at 7:28 pm ET|
Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the Bruins winning the Cup, and among all the Tim Thomas bashing we welcome you to a time when his most famous words weren’t political or controversial but rather, “Do I leave it here?”
2010-11 was my first year on the Bruins beat, so it was pretty action-packed and plenty exhausting. It all started in Prague and ended on the ice at Rogers Arena after Game 7. While it was an incredible experience for a young journalist — I got a picture next to the puddle from the beer that was thrown at Gary Bettman during the Cup ceremony — there probably wouldn’t have been enough coffee in all of British Columbia to keep me or the rest of the media functional if there was such a thing as Game 8.
That day began with media availability at the Bruins’ hotel. I did my normal routine for hotel availability in Vancouver. There was some mall by the water that had a Tim Horton’s, so I would get a muffin and tea there and grab a cup of coffee at the hotel. Claude Julien and a few players were available to speak — I want to say it was Chris Kelly, Tyler Seguin (to their credit, Kelly and Seguin are absolutely always available to the media), Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Their nerves seemed fine, but for a series that had so many money quotes, nobody said anything overly interesting. After all, they were either going to win or lose the Stanley Cup that day, so what else could they have to say?
We took one of the earlier shuttles to the arena that day, and Joe Zarbano got some incredible footage of the Bruins’ bus arriving shortly after ours. He came up to the press box pumped about the video (someone actually said, “Keep your head up, Horton”) but was unsure as to whether a video with that many bleeps would be worth watching. Luckily he had time for extensive edits and it got fans riled up.
Then the best running gag of the playoffs came to a hilarious end. The Flyers serve amazing soft pretzels in the shape of their logo to the media during games. Prior to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, I noticed that for the first time all season, the B’s were serving soft pretzels to the media and sarcastically tweeted that the B’s were 2-0 in the playoffs in games in which the media were served pretzels. I updated the stat following the game and the media relations folks — the best in the business and apparently a superstitious bunch — bought into it. From then on, pretzels were served at very home game, and they won them all. The “#pretzel” hash tag caught on with the twitter folk, and the Bruins finished the playoffs 8-0 in games in which the media were served soft pretzels.
For Game 7, the Bruins sent a dozen pretzels from Boston to Vancouver to keep the good thing going, but they were actually seized by Canadian customs. There were a lot of funny stories from that postseason run, but that was as outrageous as it could have gotten.
Fortunately for the Bruins, that ended up being inadvertent misdirection, as Nathan Horton famously snuck some Garden Ice in and sprayed it onto the surface at Rogers Arena.
Fast forward to the game, and after Bergeron’s goal late in the first period, the rest of the game felt like 10 minutes. As entertaining as that series was, there was just no way Thomas was going to let anything past him after that. It seemed like he wasn’t the only one on the ice that knew it.
Here’s some behind-the-scenes information about WEEI.com: Mike Petraglia is an absolute master of the under-appreciated art of headline-writing. Tell him what your story is, and he’ll have something perfect, whether funny, snarky or whatever else may suit it. I was adamant that if the Bruins won, the headline for the game story should be, “Bruins win the Stanley Cup,” just for the sake of all the 20-or-30-something-year-old fans that thought they might never see those words written in their lifetime. He wanted something else (I forget what it was). A compromise was reached, and we each wrote separate entries (he writes them for the This Just In part of our homepage) with the headlines we had made a light fuss about. Sportswriters may be a lot of things, but you can’t say they aren’t particular.
Vancouver was out of control after Game 7 and it was a dangerous scene for lots of the scribes covering the series, but I own perhaps the most boring “Vancouver riots” story of them all. By the time I finished all my work at Rogers at a much later hour than usual (rather than simply going in the dressing rooms and then coach’s press conference, media went on the ice, then to press conferences for players and then to the coach’s pressers), the shuttle service taking the media to and from the hotel had caught wise to the whole situation and mapped a safer route. Many of the media members walked back through all the destruction and rioting and saw some unbelievable things. I was back in five minutes, with the only rioting I witnessed coming from the television.
Now the Cup is in LA while the Bruins, fresh off a woefully underwhelming Cup defense that lasted just seven games into the postseason, will try to replicate their run without their Conn Smythe winner.
The East is better these days than it was a year ago, and though June 15, 2011 may feel like it was ages ago, the Bruins still have the experience as they look to bring the Cup back to Boston.
|News and notes from Wednesday’s conference call with Peter Chiarelli||06.13.12 at 8:01 pm ET|
Here are some of the takeaway bits from Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media today. For Wednesday’s column on what he and the players had to say about the Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell signings, click here.
– Chiarelli said that while he did not see Tim Thomas‘ Facebook post, nothing has changed on the Thomas front and the team still believes Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin will be the NHL goalies next season. Thomas heavily implied but did not flat-out say that he was taking the year off, and the Bruins have not heard from the netminder since.
– Asked about the status of restricted free agent Benoit Pouliot, Chiarelli offered no update on the team’s intentions but said a return for the 25-year-old is “a possibility.” Pouliot and Brian Rolston are the only two forwards from last year’s team that are not signed.
– The general manager confirmed that with all of the team’s centers locked up, the plan for Tyler Seguin is to keep him at right wing in the coming seasons. Seguin was drafted as a center after playing the position in the OHL, but the combination of the team’s depth and his getting familiar with the NHL has kept him at right wing for the vast majority of his two professional seasons.
“Kells is a center and [Rich Peverley] is a center and they’ve played wing, so for the short term, yes,” he said of Seguin staying at wing. “He’s had success at the wing, and short term may be one, two, three years. Who knows? At this point we don’t have any reason to put him to the middle.”
– Kelly’s deal won’t officially be signed until July 1 because of what Chiarelli called “payroll tagging issues.”
“It’s a salary cap thing,” he said. “It’s called tagging room about future commitments, and so because of that, we won’t be able to register until July 1st. Basically, it’s a formula based on salary cap and future commitments.”
|Report: Bruins re-sign Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell||06.11.12 at 6:34 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Twitter, the Bruins have re-signed centers Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell to multi-year deals. McKenzie reports that Kelly’s deal is for four years and $12 million while Campbell will get three years and $4.8 million.
Kelly is coming off a career year offensively, as he reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career and put up a personal-best 39 points. He is an alternate captain for the Bruins, sharing the team’s second ‘A’ with Andrew Ference.
Campbell, who was acquired from Florida in the June 2010 trade that brought Nathan Horton to Boston, has totaled 45 over his two seasons with the B’s.
|Bruins announce development camp schedule||06.07.12 at 4:43 pm ET|
The Bruins announced the schedule for their sixth annual development camp on Thursday, with this season’s prospect camp starting the week after the draft.
Boston’s prospects (the roster has yet to be announced) will be at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington from June 28-July 2, meaning that general manager Peter Chiarelli probably won’t be paying too much attention to their scrimmage on July 1, the opening day of free agency.
|Report: Tim Thomas considering taking next season off||06.01.12 at 12:39 am ET|
A source told ESPN.com on Thursday that the 38-year-old Boston Bruins netminder was contemplating taking next season off. Which doesn’t mean he will, but it’s something he’s apparently raised.
For Thomas to take the year off certainly would be strange. He has one year remaining on his contract at a $5 million cap hit but only a $3 million salary. His no-trade clause expires on July 1, meaning the Bruins could trade the goalie without his consent.
The biggest reason a sabbatical at this point in his career would be perplexing: At 38 years old, Thomas isn’t getting younger, and taking a season off would diminish his value.
|Looking back and ahead: Adam McQuaid||05.30.12 at 11:56 pm ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 72 games played (career-high), 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, plus-16
Contract status: Signed through 2014-15 season ($1.56 million cap hit)
Looking back: After starting the 2010-11 campaign as the Bruins’ seventh defenseman and earning a full-time job on the Bruins’ lineup, McQuaid entered his second full campaign with far more assurances of where he stood. He was entering the final year of his contract when the B’s locked him up with a three-year extension to keep him in Boston until at least 2015.
With his future with the team secured, McQuaid continued to serve as a third-pairing defenseman for the B’s in the 2011-12 season. He spent the vast majority of the season skating with Andrew Ference, making for a reliable third pairing that also had plenty of grit to it.
Though McQuaid played in five more games in 2011-12 than he did in the 2010-11 campaign, his fighting major total was actually half of what it was a year earlier. McQuaid finished the season with six fighting majors (he had 12 in 2010-11) and his seven total major penalties ranked him tied with Milan Lucic for third on the Bruins, behind Shawn Thornton (20) and Gregory Campbell (10). That seventh major penalty came when he kneed former OHL teammate Nick Foligno on Dec. 14 against the Senators. The play was certainly questionable and deserving of a look from Brendan Shanahan, but he was only fined $2,500 rather than being suspended.
In addition to missing the season-opener with an illness, McQuaid dealt with multiple head injuries during the season, as he missed three games with one and later saw a hit from Jason Chimera late in the season keep him out of the playoffs.
Looking ahead: McQuaid said he was “feeling like [himself] again” at the team’s breakup day following their first-round exit against the Capitals, so unless his concussion symptoms are severe, he should be able to make the necessary preparations in training camp on time for the B’s. If the symptoms continue and his offseason and/or training camp is disrupted, the Bruins will obviously have a bigger problem on their hands.
Assuming McQuaid is fully healthy and good to go next season, the Bruins know what they’re getting out the Prince Edward Island native. He won’t produce much at all offensively, but he plays his role well as a big, tough defenseman whose best asset is his careful play. If he sees a hit he doesn’t like or he feels he needs to swing momentum, he’s as willing a fighter as the B’s have.
With some turnover anticipated on the blue line (Joe Corvo, Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon are all unrestricted free agents and Dougie Hamilton should make the team out of camp), don’t expect McQuaid’s spot to be in jeopardy any time soon. Extending him at as low a cost as the Bruins did was yet another smart move for the blue line by Peter Chiarelli. He may have overpaid a bit on Johnny Boychuk‘s new deal, but give the GM credit for the value he’s been able to get out of both McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg (four years, $13 million after the 2009-10 season).