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Wheeler decision delayed 07.29.10 at 3:43 pm ET
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A source confirmed to WEEI.com that Bruins right winger Blake Wheeler has yet to receive his award in his arbitration case because the arbiter was tied up with Annti Niemi’s hearing with the Blackhawks. The source indicated that the delay could last until Friday but remained hopeful of receiving word. Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe was the first to report the delay.

Word on Wheeler’s award was supposed to come down by noon on Thursday, as it is required to be given within 48 hours of the initial hearing. The Bruins and Wheeler met Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Wheeler’s agent expecting word Thursday 07.28.10 at 6:48 pm ET
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It appears there will be no news regarding Blake Wheeler‘s arbitration case with the Bruins on Wednesday. Agent Matt Keator indicated to multiple outlets, including WEEI.com, that he is not expecting the arbiter to reveal the right wing’s awarded 2010-2011 salary until Thursday. A decision must come within 48 hours of the hearing, and given that the two sides met Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon, word should emerge Thursday morning.

Upon the arbiter delivering the award, the Bruins can either pay and thus retain Wheeler, keep him buy out a veteran, or walk away and let the 6-foot-3 forward become a free agent.

Wheeler is just the second player with whom general manager Peter Chiarelli has gone to arbitration. He walked away from defenseman David Tanabe in 2006. Tanabe later had his career ended by a concussion.

Chiarelli and Wheeler’s camp tried to avoid a hearing and held a meeting late Monday night that also included assistant general manager Don Sweeney. All attempts at coming to a deal were obviously unsuccessful, but it seems highly unlikely, even given the team’s tight cap situation (just over $12,000 in space), that they would walk away from the 23-year-old.

Wheeler, who spent last week on his honeymoon, scored 18 goals and had 20 assists for 38 points in ’09-’10, his second NHL season. He earned $2.8 million. Though the team will get $3.5 million of temporary cap relief from Marco Sturm‘s knee injury to open the season, the Bruins will almost certainly need to make a more permanent move to accomodate to Wheeler’s forthcoming salary, expected to be in the low-to-mid $2 million range, and sign rookie center Tyler Seguin.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Peter Chiarelli, Tyler Seguin,
Bruins re-up with Reading Royals 07.28.10 at 4:17 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have renewed their affiliation with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League. The Maple Leafs have done the same, making the upcoming season the second in a row that the two have shared the affiliation. It is the third straight year the Leafs have used Reading for grooming prospects.

‘€œWe’€™re extremely pleased to renew our affiliation relationships with Toronto and Boston,’€ Royals general manager Gordon Kaye said. ‘€œOver the past two seasons, we have been very pleased as our interaction with the Maple Leafs and Marlies has expanded, and adding Boston as an affiliate last year provided our team with additional source of talent, while providing an excellent opportunity for young prospects to improve and advance their careers in Reading.’€

Goaltender Matt Dalton and forward Yannick Riendeau are among the Bruins prospects to have seen time at Reading.

“There is no question but that a considerable factor in our team’€™s success last season was the active participation of the player development departments in Toronto and Boston,” Reading head coach Larry Courville said. “We look forward to continuing these efforts with our affiliates to accomplish our goals of developing young talent and winning games in Reading.’€

Wheeler hearing done 07.27.10 at 1:15 pm ET
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After last night’s last-ditch effort to avoid arbitration fell through between Blake Wheeler‘s camp and the Bruins, the two sides followed through with their scheduled hearing Tuesday morning. Each side had 90 minutes to present its case, and a decision will come down within 48 hours of the meeting’s conclusion.

“I think it was handled very professionally by both sides,” Matt Keator, Wheeler’s agent, told the Boston Globe following the hearing. “Our interpretation of the marketplace is different from theirs, hence the disagreement. I think both sides handled it well, keeping it professionally. They pointed out Blake’s shortcomings. We pointed out Blake’s strengths. But Blake already knew his shortcomings. He knows what he needs to work on. There were no hurt feelings in what was said. It was not contentious at all.”

Wheeler earned $2.8 million last season, his second with the Bruins.

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Report: Arbitration will be for 1-year deal 07.26.10 at 4:03 pm ET
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According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, the Bruins have chosen for tomorrow’s arbitration hearing with right winger Blake Wheeler to yield a one-year award, meaning whichever salary the arbiter deems deserved will be for a one-year deal rather than two years.

Because the player filed for arbitration, the Bruins got to choose whether the contract would be for one or two years, per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. It should come as little surprise that the Bruins would elect just one season for Wheeler, as he remains a promising player but statistically had a down year last season in comparison to his ’08-’09 totals of 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points. Should the Bruins choose to retain Wheeler they could use the upcoming season to gauge whether or not he should be in the team’s long-term plans. In such a scenario he would become a restricted free agent after the season.

Agent Matt Keator is currently in Toronto for the hearing and Wheeler was expected to arrive sometime on Monday.

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Season tickets sold out 07.26.10 at 12:18 pm ET
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The Bruins announced via press release Monday that full season ticket packages for the 2010-2011 season are now sold out, an encouraging sign late in an offseason that has been very busy for the Bruins.

Though full packages throughout the loge and balcony are no longer available, some packages remain an option for interested fans. Half-season (21 games), 10-game, and five-game plans in addition to Premium Club memberships remain available.

Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton have likely been selling points for fans, as they look to improve what was the worst offense in the NHL. The defensive core has largely been kept in tact, with Dennis Wideman shipped to Florida in exchange for Horton. Both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask remain on the roster, rounding out a team that on paper has seen only upgrades over the summer.

Read More: Cam Neely, Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin,
Wheeler camp in Toronto, arbitration nearing certainty 07.26.10 at 11:51 am ET
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A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to WEEI.com Monday that Matt Keator, the agent for Bruins right wing Blake Wheeler, is already in Toronto in preparation for his client’s arbitration hearing with the team Tuesday. The source added that Wheeler will be flying in sometime Monday.

Wheeler earned $2.8 million last season with the Bruins. Following a hearing, the arbiter will award Wheeler a certain number that the Bruins can either agree to or walk away from. If the team walks away, Wheeler will be a free agent capable of signing with any team.

Should the sides head to arbitration, as is heavily expected at this point, it will be the first such occurrence since 2006, when the Bruins declined David Tanabe‘s $1.275 million award.

Wheeler, who has missed just one game in his two-year career, scored 18 goals and chipped in 20 assists for 38 points last season. His sophomore stats remain overshadowed by his rookie performance of 21-24-45 totals in ’08-’09. The Boston Globe was the first to report Keator’s whereabouts.

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