|Source: Bruins, Wheeler making ‘no progress’||07.19.10 at 12:38 pm ET|
The Bruins wanted to avoid arbitration in the cases of Gregory Campbell and Blake Wheeler, and though they did so with Campbell last week with a two-year, $2.2 million deal, locking up Wheeler before his July 27 hearing may not be as easy.
According to a league source, the Bruins and Wheeler’s camp have made “no progress” thus far on a new contract, though talks are expected to pick up soon. If Wheeler makes it to a hearing and the Bruins choose against paying him what he is awarded, the 23-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent and would be free to sign with any team.
The Bruins would officially be over the $59.4 million salary cap by signing Wheeler, who earned $2.8 million last season, but general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated last week that it is the team’s intention to come to deals with both Wheeler and rookie forward Tyler Seguin.
Defenseman David Tanabe is the only the case in which Chiarelli and a player saw the arbitration process through, with Tanabe being awarded $1.275 in 2006 and the Bruins letting him walk. Tanabe then signed with the Hurricanes and played parts of two seasons with the team before a concussion ended his career.
Wheeler is just two years into his NHL career and last season scored 18 goals and chipped in 20 assists for 38 points, a step down from the 21-24-45 totals he posted as a rookie in the 2008-2009 campaign. He has missed just one game in his career.
|Slow free agency to blame for slowed trade market||at 3:41 am ET|
The Bruins had plans to be active in the trade market throughout the offseason, and as anyone who’s seen their current cap situation could infer, they would have been in far better shape had they been able to move contracts out as they brought new ones in. Yet in all their moves thus far, they’ve crept closer and closer to that $59.4 million cap ceiling with moves still left to be made.
Dennis Wideman and Nathan Horton‘s annual cap hits were essentially a wash, with Horton ($4 million) making slightly more, but the $1.1 million Gregory Campbell will earn in each of the next two seasons, in addition to multiple re-signings made by the Bruins, has left the team looking at just over $500,000 to sign both Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin, neither of which could be had for such cheap money.
Though the Bruins clearly are in a predicament, it’s tough to blame them. In fact, it could be argued that they have actually done the best with the situation the offseason has put them in, with free agency in particular preventing them from potentially making a deal they may be interested in.
Though Ilya Kovalchuk has gotten plenty of attention for still not having signed a deal, the fact of the matter is that the high-scoring winger is not alone is prolonged free agent status. Alexander Frolov, Lee Stempniak, Marty Turco, Paul Kariya and Maxim Afinogenov are just a few of the big names that remain on the market 20 days into free agency.
As a result, general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week to expect the Bruins to be “relatively quiet” as they wrap up Wheeler and Seguin. This means that anyone who has been strung along by each murmur of a rumored deal including Marc Savard or Tim Thomas may be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins host first annual summer camp||07.16.10 at 6:36 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Friday that they will be hosting their first ever summer hockey camp for young skaters, which they have appropriately named “Boston Bruins Summer Camp.” The organization has teamed with Pro Ambitions Hockey to form the camp, which will run from July 19-23 at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury.
Each day of the camp, which is designed for youth hockey players ages seven to 14, will feature a different guest. Monday will feature general manager Peter Chiarelli, with Bruins alumni Gord Kluzak and Bob Sweeney on Tuesday, Andy Brickley and assistant coach Geoff Ward on Wednesday, and Ted Donato on Thursday. The camp rounds out on the 23rd with Bruins center David Krejci.
For more on the event, go to the Bruins’ official site.
|Chiarelli conference call hits||07.15.10 at 7:16 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke very highly of all four players the Bruins were able to sign on Thursday. Gregory Campbell was given a two-year deal that helped both parties avoid arbitration, while defenseman Adam McQuaid received a two-way deal that allows him to go from Providence to Boston with a little more flexibility for the team regarding waivers. The Bruins also gave one-year deals to 22-year-old defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and 24-year-old forward Jeff LoVecchio. Here are Chiarelli’s comments:
‘He’s a very versatile player, and if you look at his stats other than his goals and assists, he blocks a lot of shots, takes a lot of faceoffs, actually logs some good minutes.
‘With Gregory, it’s versatility, it’s grit, and he’s another guy that can play up and down the lineup.’
‘I think he’s close, but the way we structured the deal is that the first year is a two-way deal and the second year is a one-way deal, so we’re projected a little over the course of the term that he is going to need waivers, so that will be something that we’ll have to deal with at the time.
‘He showed a real good progression in Providence. I think [Providence Bruins head coach] Rob Murray and [assistant coach] Bruce Cassidy have done a good job with him down there. Even [former P-Bruins and current Islanders coach] Scott Gordon before that. He’s maturing as a player and he’s a big, strong kid and he’s shown a lot of compete. He showed me a lot of compete and he showed me a lot of progress in practice and when he was playing up here, so he’s close.
‘I think he has a chance to be a real regular in that five-to-six pair, and who knows? With this defenseman position, it’s a hard craft to learn now in these rules. He’s showing me he can learn it, which is very promising, so we have him as an NHL player in very short order, and he made progressions even from there.’
‘I think Andy had a real solid year last year. The year before I thought he had more downs than ups, but last year I thought he really figured out the game and he simplified it for his gain, so I saw a guy who’s turning the corner a bit. He’s still quite young, but he’s got good speed and good compete and he did play with us a little and I didn’t mind his game up with us. When I say he simplified, I think that’s important for a defenseman, and Adam [McQuaid] certainly had to go one way and he had to upgrade his skills a little bit, but he plays a simple game.
Andy tended to run a little bit and he had to dial it back, and he’s done that. To me that’s a sign of maturation and I thought he had a good year last year.
On being able to groom NHL-caliber defensemen:
Whenever we can turn these players and watch them develop and have them close to becoming meaningful players, it’s always good. That’s what you strive for. That’s what we strive for in developing these guys, and with Adam and Johnny Boychuk in Providence, even to a certain degree Mark Stuart ‘ when I was here, he was a bit in Providence ‘ we’re putting out some defensemen and it’s nice to see.
‘He really missed his first year pro and we were able to assess him last year, because he had the injury his first year pro. Last year, while it was really his second year pro it was his first year playing. He’s a big guy who can kill penalties and can skate. I really have to see more of him beyond just the one year. He’s shown us enough that we wanted to bring him back and we feel he has a chance to play some games and add to our depth.’
|Chiarelli: ‘We’ve got to sever cap space’||at 5:42 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with members of the media in a conference call on Thursday and shed light on some of the issues regarding the Bruins and their financial situation heading into the 2010-2011 season. With the signing of Gregory Campbell to a two-year deal, the Bruins would now be estimated to have around half a million dollars remaining to sign Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.
Wheeler made $2.8 million and is headed for an arbitration hearing on July 27. That, in addition to the $900,000 salary Seguin will almost certainly get, would suggest the Bruins need to make some sort of move, something Chiarelli didn’t deny.
“We’re tight at the cap and we’ll be able to put Blake in the mix and then we’ve got to sever cap space and we’ll see where we’ll go from there as it applies to the start of the year,” Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli added that the team has spoken to Seguin’s agent, Ian Pulver, and that the sides will “get going on that next week.” The impression was that the team will ideally get a deal done for Wheeler first before moving their attention to Seguin. As for what the team might do to get under the cap, Chiarelli noted that even if the Bruins do use Marco Sturm‘s long-term injury status for cap relief (Chiarelli said the team doesn’t expect Sturm back until mid-November), they would still have to make a move anyway to shed money before the winger returns.
With Tim Thomas trade rumors having died down a bit in recent weeks, Chiarelli said that there is “no update” on the situation and reiterated that Thomas wants to remain a Bruin and that the Bruins still want the goaltender.
As for the “secondary market” players — guys the Bruins would not put on the forefront in free agency but could potentially look to sign later in the offseason — that Chiarelli spoke about in the beginning of the offseason, which consisted of Steve Begin and Miroslav Satan, Chirarelli said that he has not “moved on from them yet.”
“I really haven’t dismissed anything,” Chiarelli said. “I think there’s still a lot left in the summer and we’ll see where things go, but after we get [Wheeler] [and Seguin, he later corrected himself to include] done, we’re going to be relatively quiet for the time being.”
This has been a big offseason for the Bruins, and a busy one at that. Rather than sitting back and letting the selection of Seguin be the team’s only major improvement, Chiarelli said early on in the offseason that the team would be active in the trade market more so than in free agency. The team then made a major trade with the Panthers, securing Nathan Horton and Campbell in exchange for Dennis Wideman and a pair of draft picks, including the 15th overall choice last month.
Still, the transaction sheet wouldn’t paint the Bruins as giants in the trade market since, unless anyone thinks the Vladimir Sobotka–David Warsofsky swap was a game-changer. Despite which moves were actually completed, Chiarelli insisted he remained in the thick of trade talks.
“I was active in the market even so after [getting Horton], but nothing really happened. It’s just quiet right now,” Chiarelli said. “Everything’s slow and I’ve talked to a few guys and everything is kind of grinded to a halt. I’m just kind of riding the market a bit and that’s why I say we’re going to be quiet for a while.”
|Tyler Seguin’s fantastic adventure||07.10.10 at 10:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The initiation of Tyler Seguin couldn’t have gone much better.
Fans turned out in record numbers at the team’s fourth annual summer development camp to see No. 57 in a yellow pinny skate in Bruins black and gold on the ice at Ristuccia Arena. [For the record, he’ll wear No. 19 when the real games begin].
He handled every media request flawlessly (see below for an example of that). He survived his first hockey test with an NHL organization. He was even matched up against the “veteran” of development camp, “Jumbo Joe” Colborne, who stands about 6-9 on skates, and handled himself with confidence and determination that showed Bruins executives like Don Sweeney that he might indeed be ready to compete for a spot on the big club this fall.
And most importantly, he made it through without any freak injuries and appears ready to get some R&R and come back in September and skate against the big boys.
“Obviously, I’m very excited,” the 18-year-old Seguin beamed. “This has been my dream my whole life to get this opportunity. It’s right around the corner, training camp, I’m going to come in here and work my hardest and hopefully, earn a spot.”
What’s the biggest lesson he’s learned in one week on the job?
“Here you have to be a professional,” Seguin answered. “This is a job. You’re trying to take other players’ jobs here and trying to get to the next level. I think it’s just the adjustment of how much bigger the players are here and I think it’s different than sometimes in the OHL, everyone here are 100 percent committed to their dream. It’s just a little bit different than what I’m used to. It’s just a whole other step.”
Still, there were moments for Seguin when he was reminded that he’s no longer with Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League in junior hockey but rather in the big time. Like on Thursday when he arrived at practice and already had a little fan.
“I thought it was pretty cool a little kid saying my name,” he said. “Other than that, there’s no special treatment here. Everyone is treated fair. I don’t think it matters if you go first round or fifth round, everyone coming in here has the same opportunity to earn their spot and that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
|Don Sweeney’s shining moment||at 7:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — These are proud times for Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney.
All one had to do was take one look at the massive crowd that turned out at tiny Ristuccia Arena here for the final day of the team’s week-long development camp for rookies and young prospects.
It was Sweeney who organized and ran the team’s first such off-season camp in July, 2007. He said after Saturday’s workout that the 2010 edition was another success, featuring star prospects Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne.
“Not really comparing years here, I think we’re excited about the skill set we’ve gone out and identified and brought in,” Sweeney said. “Be it through the draft or through the acquisition side of it, I think, overall, our group should be proud and excited about the guys they’ve identified and brought in.
“Now, it’s time for the players to continue to get better and our coaching staff, who we feel teaches the game very, very well, and our management group, to continue to push these guys all forward. That includes our workout guys, everybody. You see all of our group here, from player personnel, to scouts, you can tell how much our organization is taking care of it and that comes from Peter [Chiarelli] and filters down.”
Under Sweeney, the team has brought the club’s top prospects to Ristuccia in advance of the main September training camp.
“Make no mistake about it, the ultimate goal is to produce the best NHL players we can,” Sweeney said. “The more we can build camaraderie and using that as an example of them understanding they have a chance to be teammates and be part of something where we hope to win.
Development camp gives the prospects the opportunity to get to know each other on and off the ice while teaching them the level of dedication and training necessary for them to reach the next stage of their careers.
“Ultimately, we’re just trying to win,” Sweeney said. “I hope with all my heart that these guys come in here and they grab a hold of it right from the get-go and the culture we’re trying to create and the momentum we have and they continue to push that forward and I think that helps in that regard.”
“We referenced earlier in the week where Joe Colborne had reached out to a number of these kids and gave them a little heads up. That’s the stuff we hope each and every one [understands]. Next year, it might be somebody else that reaches out to a young draft pick and so you’ve created that momentum and the culture that we’re hoping to continue to build going forward.”
Colborne was only too happy to help.
“These guys have been coming up to me the whole camp with questions,” Colborne said. “I’ve tried to be as welcoming as possible and make sure they all feel comfortable because I know what it feels to be a new guy coming in with no idea. So I’ve been up front with them, trying to give them the heads up on what the tougher parts of camp are, the things you’re going to have to learn and they’ve all taken it in stride and improved since the start of camp.”
One of the bonding activities that Colborne helped lead was a bowling outing on Thursday night.
But perhaps the biggest confirmation of Sweeney’s optimism came from Colborne, who just completed his third such development camp with the B’s.
“Right from Day 1, when we were doing the program with the Marines, that’s all they talked about was doing that extra little bit that will be the difference between winning a Stanley Cup championship or losing in Game 7 like we did this year,” the 20-year-old Colborne said.
“Obviously, you can tell the management is hungry. The guys like [David] Krejci have been back here and he’s ready to get going. It’s going to be a very hungry group next year and hopefully, I’ll be part of it.”