|Agent: Wyatt Smith signs with Bruins||09.02.10 at 11:54 pm ET|
According to agent Ben Hankinson on twitter, the Bruins have signed free agent center Wyatt Smith. He figures to replace what Trent Whitfield, who will miss the coming season due to an injury to his Achilles tendon, brings to the table as a depth guy at the AHL level.
A former ninth round pick of the Coyotes, Smith played last season in the Penguins‘ organization, playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He had 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points.
Smith last played in the NHL in 2007-08, picking up three assists and eight penalty minutes for the Avalanche.
|Neely among Lester Patrick award recipients||09.02.10 at 2:46 pm ET|
Bruins president Cam Neely is one of four recipients of the Lester Patrick trophy for outstanding service to ice hockey the United States. Joining him are Boston College coach Jerry York, Boston University’s Jack Parker, and American Hockey League president David Andrews.
The recipients of the award, which has been around since 1966 will be honored at a reception in Boston in late October.
Neely was named president of the Bruins on June 16. In 726 career games, he scored 395 goals with 299 assists for 694 points. He had 1,241 penalty minutes.
York and Parker have long been considered the elite among college coaches, winning four and three national championships, respectively. Parker was the most recent to do so when he led the Terriers past Miami of Ohio in a comeback victory in 2009.
|Agent: Lawsuit coming if Savard’s deal with Bruins is nixed||09.02.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
Larry Kelly, the agent for Marc Savard, made the most notable noise from the Savard camp Thursday since news broke this month that the center’s contract with the Bruins was being investigated.
Savard signed a seven-year, $28.5 million extension with the Bruins in December, but its front-loaded nature has led to its investigation. The NHL is willing to grandfather such deals if the NHLPA agrees to a new way of calculating salary cap hits, but if the players association declines the terms, Savard’s deal could be voided.
That’s where Kelly comes in. Appearing on Team 1200 radio in Ottawa Thursday, the agent said that legal action would be taken against the NHL if such a scenario to play out. If the deal were to be voided, Savard would become a free agent to sign with any club. The problem is that the prime free agency has passed, and many teams have already made their plans for the coming season, thus not having the cap space to sign a top player. Thirteen teams have less than $4.007 (Savard’s anticipated cap hit this season) freed, so such a signing would be made difficult at this time.
“I haven’t heard anything from the league, but I feel the contract is fine. It was not rejected on its face. It was registered. I’m not expecting any major problem. If the league were to arbitrarily do something, it would be a very, very serious issue. Marc Savard had a very serious concussion last year. He came back in the playoffs to try and help his team. He was not anywhere near the player he had been. If Marc is without a contract and is a so-called free agent after missing the free agency period, you can imagine the lawsuit that would ensue,” Kelly said.
Kelly also expressed a desire for commissioner Gary Bettman to take the side of players more often.
‘I’d really like to see a true commissioner-style , someone who has the best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have now. Bettman is [more like] the president of the league and he clearly is on the owners side on every issue. I really think it should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious situation,’ Kelly said.
[Props to sportsnet.ca]
|Looks like Marc Savard’s deal should stick||09.02.10 at 12:48 pm ET|
Marc Savard was popular enough this offseason before it came to light that his seven-year, $28.5 million deal was under investigation by the NHL. The subject of trade rumors throughout the summer, there has been plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Bruins’ center, but it appears at least some of the confusion may be resolved.
According to a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the NHL has notified that the NHLPA that it will “grandfather” back-loaded contracts, including the most recent Ilya Kovalchuk proposal, under the condition that the cap hit is is calculated slightly differently for future deals. Currently, a player’s cap hit is determined by dividing total money by total years. This has led to some clever maneuvering by NHL teams, who have simply inked players to front-loaded contracts that have addition years tacked on at very little cost. This means the player gets the big money they want while the teams face a more manageable cap hit.
Count Savard among the group of players to sign such deals, as he makes more than half his deal’s money in the first two seasons of his contract. The NHL is proposing that from now on, cap hits do not factor in salaries of seasons in which the player is 40 years old. This prevents such contracts from getting out of hand, though it is worth noting that Savard, 33 and born in July, will be 39 when his deal expires.
The players union has until 5 p.m. Friday to accept the terms, according to the report.
|A productive offseason appears over||09.01.10 at 12:26 am ET|
There are some pretty big similarities and differences that come to mind when looking at how the Bruins entered training camp last season vs. how they will do so this month (September 17). The biggest similarity isn’t too hard to find, as the team is coming off a Game 7 defeat in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second time in as many years.
Some things, though, are just the opposite of what they were a year ago. Last season, the biggest question regarded what would happen to the team’s hotshot youngster in Phil Kessel. Five days into camp, Kessel was a Maple Leaf and a much richer man. This season, with Tyler Seguin, the team enters camp with the excitement that surrounds a new young star (refraining from overusing “wunderkind”).
Last year, it was calculating whether the offense would still be elite without Kessel (it wasn’t). This season, it’s a matter of how much better it becomes with Seguin and Nathan Horton.
Last year carried the excitement of a re-signed Vezina winner in Tim Thomas. This year, the team will enter camp with a goalie who was forced to hear his name in trade speculation.
The Bruins have made the moves and non-moves that they’ve made and haven’t made, and now it appears they are ready to go for camp. General manager Peter Chiarelli caught up with Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog (always a good read) Tuesday and said that the squad you see now is likely the one you’ll see in just over two weeks.
‘I’m happy where we’re at,” Chiarelli told Kalman. I know there’s been some stuff in the summer with Tim [Thomas] and Marc [Savard], and that has blown by, and we’ve got those two players on our roster, we’ve got some young blood coming and that’s where we’re at.’
The question now is whether the team has done enough to consider themselves a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference given their offseason. Here are a few of the positives:
– Tuukka Rask is a year older and led the league last season in GAA and save percentage while splitting time with Thomas.
– Horton may be in the best situation he’s been in thus far in his career.
– The roster looks strong enough to perhaps be considered favorites in the Northeast division.
– The team could be a puck-moving blueliner away from having the defensive group it needs.
– It may not get the same attention as the Tom Brady situation, but Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Stuart are among those entering the final year of their contracts. This means 2010-11 could be the final season with the current core of players, which certainly includes Chara and Bergeron.
– The salary cap is going to be a headache that could last into the season. If a move isn’t made before the season, expect speculation to continue until the team makes a move or Marco Sturm returns.
Is this a team that will go to an offensive extreme for the third year in a row (second in the league in scoring in 2008-09, dead last a year ago)? Very unlikely. Will the offense, when put in front of a good defense and top goaltending duo, be good enough to still make them one of the more difficult teams to face next season? There isn’t much that would suggest the contrary. This is a team that finished sixth in the East in the regular season. There’s plenty to improve on, but it seems they’ve done plenty to do so.
The guess would have to be that the Bruins will be a better team September 17 than they were after dealing Kessel away last September. Whether it’s good enough remains to be seen, but any buzz surrounding this club as it gears up for a new season seems warranted.
|Report: Savard still on trade block||08.30.10 at 11:40 pm ET|
“The investigation by the NHL definitely made teams back off from their interest in Savard, but the team is still open to trading him and trying to,” a source told Murphy.
The report adds that talks with teams have been “hampered” by a lack of cap space among teams throughout the league. Savard’s deal, a seven-year pact worth $28.5 million total, carries an annual cap hit of $4.007 million. The deal has been under investigation due to it’s being front-loaded salary-wise in an effort to water down the cap hit. Half of the deal’s money is paid out over the first two years, meaning extra years at less money make for more of a team-friendly deal.
The Bruins are just more than $3 million over the leagues $59.4 million salary cap, but will be given relief of $3.5 million as long as Marco Sturm is out. Once he returns, the team will need to make a move, and Savard as been viewed as a candidate to go.
The center hasn’t made any comments on the situation thus far to anyone around these parts, though he did tell the Ottawa Sun that he hasn’t liked the context in which his name has been brought up this summer.
“I was really focused on staying [in Boston] the rest of my career,” Savard told the paper. “To hear all this stuff this summer bothered me inside more than anything else.”
The cap situation and the arrival of second overall draft pick in center Tyler Seguin have been the primary perceived motivation factors for the team to move Savard, though one might question whether the league’s worst offense from a year ago can afford subtracting one of its best players.
|B’s Town Hall meeting set for September 21||08.30.10 at 1:02 pm ET|
The Bruins announced today that their annual “State of the Bruins” town hall meeting will take place September 21 at 7:00 p.m.
The meeting, which will take place at the TD Garden, will give season ticket holders (as well have half-season and 10 game package owners) a chance to address the franchise directly with Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs, Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, and players Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Recchi. NESN’s Andy Brickley will be the meeting’s moderator.
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