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Hockey East officials to announce outdoor games at Fenway 08.12.09 at 5:05 pm ET
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Hockey East officials along with coaches and athletes from Boston College, Boston University, the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University are planning to hold an Aug. 20 press conference at Fenway Park, according to a release sent out by Hockey East on Wednesday afternoon.

As previously reported on WEEI.com, BU and BC are slated to tangle in an outdoor hockey game at Fenway Park on Jan. 8 and the UNH and NU women’s teams are also expected to announce an outdoor hockey game at Fenway Park as well. Both games will be made official at the Fenway press conference. College officials are expecting that the two college hockey games will be an excellent option for those not able to procure tickets to the Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Bruins and Flyers on New Year’s Day.

For those wondering, it’ll be an 8 p.m. start and Boston College will be the home team for the Friday Night hockey tilt under the lights at Fenway. Boston University and Boston College play each other three times during the Hockey East regular season with each team taking turns with the “extra” home game, and this season was the Eagles’ turn to have an extra home game. So BC head coach Jerry York and his BC Eagles will give up their additional game at Kelly Rink, and instead play the Jan. 8 game at the Fens.

Read More: Boston College, Boston University, Fenway Park,
Bruins’ top pick Caron breaks collarbone 08.09.09 at 7:28 pm ET
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According to a report on TSN, Boston Bruins first round Jordan Caron broke his collarbone Saturday while playing in the first intrasquad game during tryouts for Canada’s junior hockey team entry for the World Juniors tournament. The tryout camp is taking place in Saskatoon, and Caron was stretching out for a pass when he was flattened by Regina Pats defenseman Colen Tuebert at the blue line.

A broken collarbone takes roughly 6-8 weeks to heal up, so the injury may put Caron in danger of falling behind amid his first B’s training camp in September. Caron had impressed Bruins officials during July’s prospect development camp with his skill level, size and strength on the puck.

 “We saw him this morning. He didn’t look too great,” fellow Team Canada hopeful Ryan Ellis told TSN on Sunday. “He was in a lot of pain.”

Individual Bruins tix for 2009-10 season go on sale Aug. 20 08.05.09 at 4:51 pm ET
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Another sign popped up on Wednesday afternoon that hockey is slowly and surely wending its way back to the Hub . The Boston Bruins have posted information about purchasing individual tickets for the 2009-10 season, and those ticket sales will begin on Aug. 20. Individual tix for Bruins games played at the TD Garden during the 2009-10 preseason and regular season will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. at the TD Garden Box Office and online at www.bostonbruins.com

For games played at the TD Garden, tickets will range in price from $10.00 – $289.50. In addition to seat location, ticket prices will vary depending on opponent and date of game. Please note that ticket prices are subject to change by the Bruins. It should also be noted that the individual season ticket sales do not include any tickets to the NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway on Jan. 1. Those tix are reserved for season ticket-holders only.

The Bruins and Tufts Medical Center have partnered for the second consecutive year to offer reduced priced tickets in the Tufts Medical Center Family Section for every home game at the TD Garden. Tickets in the Family Section – located in Balcony Section 326, rows 3-15 – start at $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 14 and under. Family Section tickets for preseason games in September and regular season games in October will be available for purchase on Thursday, August 20, while Family Section tickets for the remainder of the team’s home games will be put on sale at a later date. Discounted balcony tickets in the Bruins Student Section will be available to students for a limited number of games as well.
 
A limited number of Bruins season tickets are also still available for purchase at the present time. These season ticket plans include access to tickets for the Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park between the B’s and the Philadelphia Flyers on January 1, 2010. For information on how to become a season ticket holder, call 617.624.BEAR (2327) or visit the team website at www.bostonbruins.com.

Prior to August 20, there will be an exclusive presale for fans who join the Bruins’ Cybear Club, which is the team’s official eNewsletter and online source for breaking news. For more information on the presale and how to join the Cybear Club, visit www.bostonbruins.com. Fans interested in learning more about Boston Bruins players, or ticket options, should visit the team website at www.bostonbruins.com or call 617.624.BEAR (2327).

Bruins announce affiliate agreement with Reading Royals 08.04.09 at 4:49 pm ET
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Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Bruins organization have entered into an affiliation relationship with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Under the affiliation arrangements, the Bruins will be able to designate players within their development system for assignment to the Royals during the 2009-10 season.

The Royals have played in Reading, Pennsylvania since 2001 and are also the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Former Providence Bruins winger Ned Lukacevic, who arrived last fall in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for Andrew Alberts, played in 13 games for the Royals last season prior to the deal. The Bruins did not have an ECHL affiliate during the 2008-09 season. For more information on the Royals, visit www.royalshockey.com.

Axelsson signs four-year deal with hometown Frolunda 07.27.09 at 10:04 am ET
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P.J. Axelsson has signed in Sweden after 11 years as a member of the Boston Bruins franchise

P.J. Axelsson has signed in Sweden after 11 years as a member of the Boston Bruins franchise

P.J. Axelsson didn’t want to leave the Boston Bruins after 11 seasons with a hockey club that looked to be on an upswing heading into next season, but – without receiving an offer from the Black and Gold this summer – the longest-tenured member of the B’s has signed a four-year deal with his hometown Frolunda team in the Swedish Elite League.

Axelsson’s agent Neil Abbott confirmed the signing to WEEI.com Monday morning, but said that there’s always the possibility of leaving Sweden after this coming hockey season for another NHL shot at the elusive Stanley Cup. Clearly B’s GM Peter Chiarelli is experiencing his own challenges keeping the Bruins’ core together under the current NHL salary cap conditions, and there wasn’t room for Axelsson when younger, affordable models like Vladimir Sobotka are challenging for spots on the Black and Gold roster. 

“We never received an offer from the Bruins and they never asked for an offer from us,” said Axelsson’s agent Neil Abbott, who said the winger has already been told he’s a strong candidate for the Swedish Olympic team in Vancouver this winter. “P.J.’s first choice always would have been to return to Boston, but at the end of the day we had a couple of multi-year proposals (from other NHL teams) that were contingent upon bodies being moved to create cap room. That didn’t happen.

“P.J. played here (in Boston) for 11 years. He has over 850 games as a Bruin and the next guy has about 250 or 260. His heart was (in Boston). He loved it here and he loved the Boston fans. There wasn’t anything he enjoyed more than playing (in Boston), but once that wasn’t an option it became a choice of playing here, playing there or taking a very nice offer to stay home. We respected and accepted the decision by the Bruins. Once he found out that returning to (Boston) wasn’t an option, going back home to Europe became a much easier decision to make.”

The 20 percent escrow giveback on player’s salaries was a big factor in Axelsson opting for a Swedish Elite League opportunity in his hometown Gothenberg over a one-year deal in Ottawa or Colorado. But legally Axelsson could return to the NHL after next season if there’s a “good” offer waiting for him in certain locales, and Abbott said that winning a Cup is something that’s still on Axelsson’s list of career goals.

With an early August start date for training camp in the European Leagues, Axelsson was under the gun to make a decision and heading home to play hockey for the foreseeable future became a pretty easy choice for the winger and his family. The signing of Steve Begin and Mark Recchi to one-year deals also made the B’s writing on the wall pretty clear to Axelsson and his representation concerning any potential future with the team.

Axelsson was a defensive stalwart known for his consistency and versatility during his long career in Boston, and his easy smile and keen sense of humor — along with the natural leadership bred from a decade plus of experience with the Bruins — will be sorely missed in the Black and Gold dressing room next season.

So the Boston Bruins 1995 7th round pick will bring his penalty killing grit and 287 career points in 797 regular season games back to Europe, and another link to the B’s past moves right along with the 34-year-old Swede.

“If the right circumstance developed in the next year or two where he could jump in and the goal would be to win, obviously, that might be possible,” said Abbott of Axelsson, who managed 6 goals and 20 assists in 75 games for Boston last season. “But in the short term his wife is pregnant with their second child and due in the fall, and he had a very good offer from his hometown team in Sweden. The hometown offer was very good, and timing-wise the European Leagues start much earlier than the NHL and training camp begins on Aug. 1.”

Read More: P.J. Axelsson, Peter Chiarelli, Vladimir Sobotka,
Bruins signs Morris to a one-year, $3.3 million 07.25.09 at 10:58 am ET
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In a move that was first reported by INSIDEHOCKEY.com’s James Murphy on Friday afternoon, the Boston Bruins have signed puck-moving defenseman Derek Morris to a one-year, $3.3 million contract for next season. The signing of the 30-year-old Morris was confirmed by both ESPN.com and TSN.com later on Friday night, and came down within the same breath of dealing 36-year-old defenseman Aaron Ward back to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday morning.

 Morris was one of the defensemen that the Bruins targeted at last season’s trade deadline, but failed to acquire when they instead dealt with the Anaheim Ducks for Steve Montador. Morris has played in at least 75 games in each of his last three seasons, and had 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) splitting time for the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Rangers last season.

Morris is certainly a faster-skating, puck-moving option (Morris had a career-high 11 goals, 48 points and +16 with the Avalanche during the 2002-03 season) than Ward was at his advanced hockey age, and he’s a safe bet to avoid some of the nicks and injuries that Ward suffered over the last few seasons. It’s expected that Morris and Zdeno Chara will be paired together as a defensive unit, and it’ll be interesting to see how Chara responds to skating with a player that isn’t as defensively responsible as Ward proved to be. 

The $3.3 million price tag is a pretty high price for Morris and leaves the Bruins with roughly $1.3 million under the salary cap with Phil Kessel still sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent. The feeling at this address is that the Bruins tried to deal Kessel through much of June, but couldn’t a deal to their liking and aren’t going to deal the 36-goal sniper this summer.

Either he signs a one-year deal with the Bruins for less than $4 million — and the Bruins are forced to trade another valuable dressing room/grit commodity like Chuck Kobasew — or Kessel sits and watches the Black and Gold hockey world move forward without him.

Bruins trade defenseman Aaron Ward back to the Hurricanes 07.24.09 at 11:55 am ET
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Aaron Ward will bring his stay-at-home defenseman skills and leadership back to Carolina after Friday's trade

Aaron Ward will bring his stay-at-home defenseman skills and leadership back to Carolina after Friday's trade

The Boston Bruins made a salary cap-inspired move on Friday morning as they dealt popular defenseman Aaron Ward back to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for former Boston College forward Patrick Eaves and a 4th round pick in the 2010 draft.

After nabbing Eaves in the deal, the Bruins placed the winger on waivers for the purpose of eventually buying out his contract. The 25-year-old Eaves comes with a cap hit of $1.4 million over the next two seasons, so a contract buyout will give B’s GM Peter Chiarelli a little more room under the salary cap once Eaves is bought out and Ward’s $2.5 million cap hit is also cleared from the books.

According to Capgeek.com, Eaves’ buyout will count against the salary cap in this manner over the next four seasons:

PATRICK EAVES BUYOUT FROM CAPGEEK.COM
2009-2010: $258,333
2010-2011: $-41,667
2011-2012: $258,333
2012-2013: $258,333 

Ward enjoyed some of his best seasons withthe Carolina Hurricanes and won the Stanley Cup with Carolina back in 2006, and actually makes his home in North Carolina around the Raleigh area during the offseason. A 6’2”, 209 lb. native of Ottawa, Ward has played the last two-plus seasons with the Bruins since he was acquired from the NY Rangers for Paul Mara at the March, 2007 trade deadline and he had three goals and seven assists for ten points in 65 regular season games while adding one goal in 11 post-season games for the Bruins last year.

“We do still have a strong group. In this system now, when you make moves like these you have to make the assumption that other players — some of your current players — can carry on those responsibilities” said B’s GM Peter Chiarelli speaking of replacing Ward’s leadership and toughness on the ice. “It’s a fairly minor cap hit if (Eaves) doesn’t get claimed. I’m looking at (bringing in) another defensemen.

“(Ward) love it in Boston, and he was disappointed when I talked to him today. But he also understood and appreciated the fact that he was going to Carolina. If it was a strict cap-clearing exercise we could have picked a lot of different destinations. This made sense on all ends.”

One of Ward’s lasting images will be the Scott Walker “sucker punch” that he took to his face in the closing minutes of a Stanley Cup playoff game against the very-same Hurricanes team. Ward was left with a black eye for the rest of the playoff series, but Walker had an automatic one-game suspension rescinded by the NHL in a controversial ruling that set the tone for Walker’s Game 7 OT game-winner.

Because Eaves is under 26 years of age, per the NHL contract buyout rules, the Bruins are only on the hook for 1/3 of his $2.8 million salary owed over the next two seasons, and Boston will save more than 2 million — the combined savings of dealing Ward and buying out Eaves – on the salary cap this season. Once he had turned 26, the Bruins would have been on the hook for 2/3 of his salary per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Eaves’ cap hit is $1.1 million less than Ward to begin with, and there could be at least $750,000 more coming off the books via the impending buyout of his deal. Could this be a move to clear enough space to sign restricted free agent Phil Kessel, or portend another move for another puck-moving defenseman?

“With respect to Phil, he’s a good young player and we want him in the mix,” said Chiarelli. “I’ve got the endorsement from ownership that any offer sheets that come we will match. To get these players at this level, you have to draft them. So they’re hard to get, and (Kessel) will be hard to pry from us.”

Stay tuned for more details this afternoon, as there is clearly another move to come after the Ward trade.

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