|Chiarelli explains why he’s ‘standing pat’||07.09.10 at 6:57 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli emphasized in the days after his team’s shocking playoff loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that he and management would not be doing anything rash when it comes to re-shaping the roster for 2010-11 season.
He reiterated that in the wake of re-signing defenseman Mark Stuart – one of his team’s core leaders – to a one-year contract on Friday.
“Right now, we’re standing pat,” the GM said. “You look out here, there might be a few guys that challenge, too. I like our prospect depth. Right now, I’m going to be standing pat. That may change but right now, I’m standing pat.”
Chiarelli believes that with the core four of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Stuart and Andrew Ference coming back, the Bruins have the foundation of a solid blue line. He believes he can mix and match with Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick and Adam McQuaid and top-level organizational prospects to have a solid D for next season.
Chiarelli pointed to one area of improvement he’d like to see in Stuart’s game – and the team’s for that matter – puck movement in the defensive and neutral zones.
“I go back to the five or six games where he had more minutes prior to the LA game and he was getting more confidence, moving the puck a little better,” Chiarelli said on Friday. “With Stewie sometimes, he freezes when he pushed the puck up after retrieving it. He’s getting better at it, he’s getting better at passing. So, a lot of that is a function of confidence and I think you’re going to see that with more minutes.”
Now, a priority for Chiarelli is signing his two players that have signed for arbitration, Blake Wheeler and Gregory Campbell, the left winger acquired on June 22 with Nathan Horton from Florida for defenseman Dennis Wideman. Chiarelli also indicated that McQuaid, based on his contributions in the playoffs, has earned a shot at the big club next season.
|Chiarelli: Stuart gives B’s ‘size, strength, character’||07.09.10 at 2:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart was about as humble and agreeable as possible on Friday in accepting his one-year contract extension for next season.
After general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the team had re-signed defenseman, Stuart spoke of wanting to forget about the way the playoffs ended while looking forward to the young, talented core the team is building.
Stuart, 26, is a veteran of 252 NHL regular season games and has 12 goals, 23 assists for 35 points and 261 penalty minutes in those contests. He also has 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games, with two career assists in those 22 games.
The contract is a one-year, $1.675 million pact, a raise from the $1.3 million he made the past two seasons.
Stuart chose against filing for arbitration because negotiations with the Bruins had been encouraging. Stuart said Friday during a conference call with reporters that he’s open to playing this one season with the hope of something better down the road.
“I’m very excited about the deal,” Stuart said. “I expected after the season that I had if I was going to get a deal it was going to be a one-year deal and then see how I played. Hopefully, I can have a great year this year and then hopefully, yeah, a long-term deal is in the future.”
The Bruins now have just over $1 million in cap space, according to CapGeek.com. The team still has yet to reach agreements with first-round pick Tyler Seguin and restricted free agent forwards Blake Wheeler and Gregory Campbell, the latter two of whom filed for arbitration.
Last season, Stuart played in 56 games for the Bruins, with two goals and five assists. He was sidelined for 26 regular season games and eight postseason contests with a broken left pinky finger and a subsequent infection within that finger.
During his 2008-2009 campaign, Stuart set career highs in goals, assists and points as well as tying his career high in games played, with five goals and 12 assists in 82 games.
“He was okay with the one year. To the point of building onto something more, we have more flexibility, too, next year,” Chiarelli said. “If you remember before he hurt his hand against LA, he was starting to play more minutes. He was actually coming along pretty good. It’s size, strength, character. Now, we’ve got, between him, Dennis [Seidenberg], Z [Zdeno Chara] and Johnny [Boychuk], we’ve got some big strong guys.”
|Boynton: The road to the Cup began in Boston||06.10.10 at 10:31 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Nick Boynton dreamed of a moment like Wednesday night since he was three. And finally, on the ice of the Wachovia Center, the 31-year-old Blackhawks defenseman was finally able to hoist the Stanley Cup over his shoulders.
There was a time when Boynton thought those dreams would be realized in Boston. After all, he was taken by the Bruins as a defenseman in the 1999 NHL Draft and there were those who thought he would be able to help replace the legendary Ray Bourque as a defenseman who could move the puck and kick-start the Bruins offense.
Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 1997 NHL Draft, Boynton was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes just before his first camp with the Bruins but the disease did not keep him from pursuing his life-long dream.
His best season was 2003’04 with Boston, when he had six goals and 24 assists. During the NHL lockout season of 2004’05, Boynton played for the Nottingham Panthers in the British Elite Ice Hockey League.
“It’s hard to describe,” Boynton said. “But this is what I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. It’s the greatest thing ever.”
He played one more season for Boston before being dealt to Phoenix for fellow defenseman Paul Mara. Since then, he’s bounced around, going to Florida, Anaheim and finally stopping in Chicago after being traded there this March.
What a break for him. He winds up with a ring out of it.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career, starting with the Bruins,” Boynton said. “I love Boston and have so many friends back there. I’m a lucky guy. I head back to Boston every summer and I miss it. Those were my younger years and made me who I am today so I love it there.
“It was everything you expect and more. It’s been 31 years. Since I was three years old, I’ve been dreaming about this. It’s been a long time.”
|Kane: ‘Pretty surreal… for sure’||06.10.10 at 9:22 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — What if a team won the Stanley Cup and no one noticed? Not even most of the players on the team that just made history.
No, that’s no cruel joke or a shot at the NHL. That’s what happened Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center when Patrick Kane’s simple shot – a lesson in why you always put the puck on the net – got past Philadelphia’s Michael Leighton just over four minutes into overtime to give Chicago a 4-3 win and its first Stanley Cup title since 1961.
Without question, the ending to the 2010 Stanley Cup will go down as one of the most bizarre and surreal endings to a championship in recent memory.
Let the man who scored explain why.
“Well, I shot it, I saw it go right through his legs and it was sticking right under the pad in the net so I don’t think anyone saw the puck in the net,” Kane said. “I just booked it to the other end. I knew it was in right away and tried to sell the celebration a little bit and everyone came down.
“I think some guys were still iffy to see if the puck was in the net. I saw the coaches pointing at the puck and just jumping around. It’s pretty surreal right now, for sure.”
[Click here to hear Kane explain his Cup-winning goal and the ensuing celebration.]
[Click here to hear a stunned Leighton explain what he saw from his point of view.]
|Flyers run out of time and luck||06.10.10 at 1:28 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The team of destiny that made history in Boston went to the well once too often in overtime and it finally cost the Flyers their Stanley Cup dreams. Chicago’s Patrick Kane scored on a bizarre goal that few people in the building even realized went in just over four minutes into overtime and the Blackhawks claimed their fourth Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win over Philadelphia at the Wachovia Center in Game 6.
They then matched up against the No. 6 Bruins, and no one in New England needs to be reminded that ‘ up three games to none and 3-0 in Game 7 on Garden ice ‘ the Bruins let the Flyers come back to tie and win Game 7 and the series, 4-3, on a power-play goal by Simon Gagne with the Bruins serving a penalty for too many men on the ice.
It was in Game 4 in overtime when Gagne scored his first goal back from injury to re-ignite the flame for the Flyers.
Three wins later it was the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern finals. The Habs proved little opposition for the Flyers, who prevailed in five games.
Then the Chicago Blackhawks. The team that hadn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961 won a shootout, 6-5, in Game 1 and another one-goal game in Game 2, 2-1.
The Flyers showed their character by winning Game 3 again in overtime and handling Chicago 5-3 in Game 4. After a 7-4 loss in Game 5 the Flyers were again on the brink, down 3-2 with 3:59 left in regulation when Scott Hartnell scored to force ‘ yep ‘ another overtime.
This extra session would be the heartbreak of heartbreaks for the Flyers. A weak shot from Patrick Kane, almost an afterthought, was thrown on Michael Leighton. The goalie didn’t see it until it went under him and the lip of the goal on the right side.
“He walked out of the corner, and there was a guy driving the net so I thought he was going to pass it,” Leighton said. “He just threw it at the net and it went underneath me.”
Bang. Game over. Stanley Cup over. Team of Destiny denied.
But still, this Flyers team will have its fondest memories of one of the most remarkable playoff run in recent sports rooted in Boston.
It was at TD Garden on May 14 that the Flyers became just the fourth team in major professional sports to wipe out a 3-0 deficit and win a series and the first to overcome a 3-0 hole on the road in Game 7 to do so.
“Yeah, you look back at a lot of games throughout the whole season,” Hartnell said. “The way we got in, the way we came back against Boston to beat a great goalie and New Jersey and Montreal was on fire as well. We have to be proud to a certain point but certainly it’s disappointing, too.”
|2nd Period Stanley Cup Summary: Flyers-Hawks Gm6||06.09.10 at 10:02 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — After falling behind for the first time in the game, the Blackhawks showed the kind of determination that makes Stanley Cup champions. As a result, they took a 3-2 after 40 minutes and stand one period away from their first Stanley Cup title since 1961.
The Flyers broke a 1-1 tie when Ville Leino skated into the high slot after Duncan Keith fell down. Danny Briere skated down the right wing with Leino, who fed Briere for a wrist shot that beat Antti Niemi for his team-leading 12th goal of the playoffs.
But Chicago has outskated the Flyers from the get-go and that continued even when they were behind. The Hawks used the open ice of a 4-on-4 to get Patrick Sharp a shot from the low right circle and he didn’t miss, beating Michael Leighton 5-hole at 9:58 of the second period to tie the game.
Then Andrew Ladd redirected a Niklas Hjalmarsson slap shot from the left point to beat Leighton and the Wachovia Center fell quiet with 2:17 left in period.
The Hawks are 1-for-5 on the power play while the Flyers are 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.
|1st Period Stanley Cup summary: Flyers-Hawks Gm 6||06.09.10 at 9:00 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Blackhawks played the opening 20 minutes like they wanted to end a 39-year championship drought.
The Chicagoans outshot the Flyers, 17-3, in the first 19 minutes and registered the first goal of the game on a very questionable high sticking call on Flyers defenseman and emotional leader Chris Pronger.
With Blair Betts on the ice with a broken stick, the Hawks took advantage of what essentially was a 5-on-3 when Dustin Byfuglien stuffed a shot past Michael Leighton at 16:49.
But it was evident the officials had some remorse for helping set up Chicago’s first goal as the Hawks were whistled for two penalties in the final three minutes of the period.
First, Brent Seabrook was called for elbowing with 3:01 left in the first. Then, just as the Hawks killed off that penalty, Brent Sopel was called for an interference penalty near his own blue line. Sensing the desperation, Danny Briere shot a puck from the left circle toward Scott Hartnell, who was just getting to his skates after getting shaken up. Hartnell collected the loose puck and put a backhander past Antti Niemi with just 26.5 seconds left in the period to tie the game.
The Flyers used the momentum to fire the last four shots of the period, getting outshot, 17-7, for the period.