|Don Sweeney’s shining moment||07.10.10 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.”
|B’s development camp ends on record note||at 2:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Judging by the crowd alone, the five-day Bruins development camp would be a rousing success. Over 1,200 fans turned out at Ristuccia Arena on Saturday as the entire seating section was filled with fans eager to get their first glimpse of top pick Tyler Seguin, along with other prospects Joe Colborne and Yuri Alexandrov.
The Bruins ran through drills and finished with an intrasquad scrimmage.
Two extra sections, normally reserved for Bruins staff and media, were opened to accommodate the overflow crowd that stretched out the door of the Wilmington practice facility.
“We had to let them into our little private area,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said with a proud smile. “It was great. They liked the show that was put on. They see the obvious skill out there and the depth of the guys. It’s great.”
Some other quick notes from Saturday’s wrap up:
* Of the 27 players at camp this week, eight will return to college this fall, while the others will prepare for the upcoming training camp, which begins on the same sheet of ice in early September.
* Assistant general manager Don Sweeney is looking for a little more conditioning from talented but young Russian defenseman Yuri Alexandrov, who just turned 22.
“Obviously, there’s a language barrier there and [there’s] cultural differences,” Sweeney said on Saturday. “Once he’s on the ice, he feels most comfortable and that’s a good thing. But there’ll be systematic things and nuances he’ll have to figure out.
“We’ve tried to attack that communication and tried to get better at it because there is a gap there. And the onus falls on him a little bit to understand that and immerse himself in that.”
This is the second development camp for Alexandrov, who was drafted in 2009 by the Bruins and played in the professional KHL league in Russia this past winter.
“You can tell when the game starts, his positional play, his understanding and his stick positioning is very, very good,” Sweeney said. “You can tell that’s been taught and built into his game. When you play against bigger and stronger players, you have to develop those techniques and he’s done that.
“To be honest with you, and something we’re communicating with him, I didn’t think he was in quite as good a shape as he was the year before so that’s got to be something he’ll have to attack and address between now and September to realize that he continues to push forward. I would tell all the kids that. I’m not going to single him out for any particular reason, except that the facts are what they are.”
|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 on D&C: team has ‘flexibility’ with Seguin||06.30.10 at 12:03 pm ET|
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss free agent moves, the future for Tim Thomas and Marc Savard, as well as his expectations for draft pick Tyler Seguin.
Said Chiarelli: “I don’t want to put too much pressure on Tyler, but he’s a terrific talent, and he should be ready to play and contribute at some point next year.”
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
What are we looking for in terms of free agent moves?
I don’t know if you’ll see us go after any premier, in fact I do know that we won’t go after any premier guys. We feel that we have added two premier players in Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin in the last week or so. What you might see from us though is another trade or two. ‘¦ These trades are around the free agency period, they happen because teams are deciding how to spend their money. I have had a couple of conversations with teams, you might see a couple trades on our part.
What’s the biggest impetus on your end when making a trade?
It goes back to the end of the year when we said we wanted to change part of the composition of the team; I’m all ears. I’ve got a lot of discussions going on a number of different fronts. I don’t want to change things too much, I’ve already changed them a little bit. I don’t quite think I’m done yet, so that may mean a defensemen, that may mean a forward. I know getting Tyler Seguin we have more centers now; he can play the wing, his first year in juniors he played wing the whole year. We’ve got a lot of options. ‘¦ There’s a couple of things we’re looking at, and if they come true I think they’ll be good for the team.
What are the odds of you trading Tim Thomas?
First, let me say that Tim Thomas does not want to be traded. Second, I know that he wants to be the number one goalie on the Bruins. Having said that. ‘¦ If we keep all things as is, we’ll be tight but we’ll be fine. The [salary] cap went up to [$59.6 million], with the union electing the escalator. There’s a performance cushion that the union elected also, so we’re fine that way. Again, looking at all these options, I said last week about Tim, if something comes up I’ll discuss with Tim and his family. We’re not overtly looking; there are teams looking for goalies so we’ll see how that unfolds. Read the rest of this entry »
|Seguin on Dale & Holley: ‘No idea’ where I would be drafted||06.29.10 at 6:06 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin, the recent No. 2 overall draft pick by the Boston Bruins, joined Dale & Holley on Tuesday afternoon to talk about his relationship with Taylor Hall, how he’s improved his game, and what position he prefers to play.
‘My improvement level has always been really good,’ Seguin said. ‘I just think it’s the little things, the sacrifices off the ice, the commitment that you need to go to the next level. I’ve had my family and supporting cast to teach me along the way and I think I’ve just been maturing as a player and a person off the ice and I really just want to stay as consistent here as I can throughout.’
Seguin also spoke about his idol growing up and comparisons in his game to Steve Yzerman.
Below is the transcript of the interview. Visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page to hear the interview.
Did you know on draft night that you were going to be the No. 2 pick?
No, I had absolutely no idea. It was definitely a very exciting day for my family and I, and we kind of took it all in. It was phenomenal being there in Los Angeles and the hospitality they gave us. I had no idea where I was going but I was very excited when it was announced.
What’s your relationship like with Taylor Hall?
Well I met him a couple times just through the events at the draft here. Whether it was the top prospect game or the world junior camp, stuff like that. At the end of the year, we kind of got together to go to Philadelphia for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and I guess we bonded a bit more. At the draft we had a lot of events together as well. In the end, we were rivals and I guess we had more of a healthy competition on the ice. That’s as far as it’s gone, and now that it’s all said and done, I doubt we’re going to keep contact. Read the rest of this entry »
|Neely on D&H: ‘we want to deliver’ for fans||06.28.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show Monday to discuss the selection of Tyler Seguin, how difficult it has been dealing with the playoff loss, and what he looks for in certain players.
Said Neely: “The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.”
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview, visit The Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Is there any doubt Tyler Seguin can play right away?
I’d be surprised if he doesn’t. We’re certainly counting on him to make our team, based on everything that I’ve been hearing from scouts and what-not, that he should be able to make our lineup next year. It’s a matter of what kind of impact he’s going to have, but he should be able to make our lineup.
Teams can now count on 18-year-old kids to make an impact.
Well, there’s been special players obviously over the years that have come in and made an impact as an 18-year-old. ‘¦ I said earlier, I don’t know what kind of an impact he’s going to make, we certainly don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him. He’s a young man that has got to learn the NHL game, but this guy is a very determined kid, he’s got a tremendous amount of skills, so we’ll see how he develops over the course of the year. I don’t think we’re going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize his development process. If we feel that he can step in and help us, and play the appropriate minutes, he’ll do that.
Well, I think when you look at the 15th overall pick, although it’s a great pick and you hope to get a great player, those players are sometimes three or four years away from making your lineup. We have to get better offensively, we have to get some goal scorers, and Nathan was available. We had to give up a player like Dennis [Wideman] and that pick to get him, but we also got Campbell, who we feel is going to be a good fourth-line center for us that can kill penalties and play an aggressive style that we like on the fourth line. But we really believe Nathan will come in here and get into a hockey market, get into an environment like we have here at the [TD] Garden with our fan base, and get re-energized about playing hockey. In his worst year he has scored 20 goals, but in his best year he got over 30, and he’s still young — he’s 25 years old. He’s a big body, he likes to shoot the puck, and he’s a guy we felt strongly about trying to acquire to add to our offense.
Could Campbell be a replacement for P.J. Axelsson?
We’ve always felt that. ‘¦ Our coaching staff likes to have our fourth line be able to chew up some minutes on the penalty kill. Obviously aside from Shawn Thornton, P.J. was great at the penalty kill, he had been in the league a long time and was obviously a smart player, and great in the locker room. But Campbell is another young kid for us that has played enough hockey to understand what it takes to play in the league; I think he knows his role real well, and for us it’s a good thing.
Does your new title mean you have final say in hockey operations?
Well, as our owners said at the press conference, everything goes through my office. I know that [Peter Chiarelli] and I have had a good relationship in the three years that I’ve been here, and I expect that to continue.
How does that change how things work between you and Chiarelli?
Well, I mean I don’t think it will change much from my perspective. That might be a better question for Pete, but ultimately GM’s. ‘¦ When I’ve talked to other people in this position that I’m in, it’s been that you certainly have to allow a GM to do their job. And the thing is if you disagree too much then you have to figure out what is the right thing to do, from my perspective. The GM still has to be able to try and do his job.
Do you look at the older teams you played on to judge talent nowadays?
Yeah, I don’t want anybody to think that’s the type of lineup I’m craving for. The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.
What is your evaluation of last season?
It’s one of those things, we came into the season expecting a better regular season than we had. We had some players underachieving throughout the course of the year, more so than we would have liked. Maybe it was a combination of the previous year, we had overachieved more than we thought. Going into the end of the regular season, we’re scrambling to make the playoffs, I think everyone counted us to be a one-round-and-out. And we played extremely well in the Buffalo [Sabres] series. From top to bottom through the lineup we played really, really well. And we had a great start, as we all know, in the Philadelphia [Flyers] series, and came to a crashing halt in Game 7. It’s two years in a row we have lost Game 7 at home, which is very frustrating when you do work to the point, and you get yourself in a situation where you have home ice advantage, you need to take advantage of that. It’s frustrating when you lose Game 7 at home two years in a row.
If you had to break down that loss in one sentence, what would it be?
Well, I think if we were to look back at all the games we didn’t play well in, not just in that series but in the regular season when we had leads and maybe gave them up, was collectively trying to, and this is just my opinion, trying to not get scored on; and therefore you changed the way you played to get the lead. I think when we got up 3-0 in that game, maybe guys felt like it was done, and Philadelphia would go home quietly; but that wasn’t the case. I think from my perspective, looking back on the season, there were times when we would get the lead, and then it was about, “Let’s not get scored on.” It kind of changed the way we played a little bit, and then started giving up more opportunities.
Did you sense a relaxed attitude during that Game 7?
Well, I think you can kind of see things happening. ‘¦ They came out in the second period pretty fired up, and we were kind of sitting back a little bit. From that second period on. ‘¦ And then when they got their first goal, it changed the momentum of the game, even though we still had a two goal lead.
In a salary cap league, how does having Tim Thomas‘ $5 million salary hamstring other opportunities?
Well, it’s always a difficult thing to judge, not just with that scenario, just in everything else. You’re trying to put together the best team you can on the ice, with what restrictions that you have with the [salary] cap. We certainly didn’t think we’d be in this situation, with Tuukka [Rask] kind of taking over, I know Tim is a very competitive man, and he wants to be a number one goaltender. Regardless, he is going to try and get that job back. It’s one of those things where, any position, if you have players that aren’t playing to their potential, and they have a big number that goes against the cap, it’s difficult. As you see now, it’s about trading money as much as players. And there’s times when people wonder why deals aren’t being made, you end up having to get somebody else’s stuff back that they don’t necessarily want, that may not be an upgrade on your team.
Would you prefer to not have no-move clauses in contracts?
I don’t like them. I know as a player, I can certainly understand why players would want them. I don’t particularly like them at all, to be honest with you.
When next season starts do you believe Thomas and Marc Savard will be on the team?
It’s hard to answer that question. ‘¦ We’re looking at our club, I don’t know who’s going to be on our starting lineup; besides Marc and Tim, there’s other players as well. We’re looking at what’s the best way to improve our hockey club over the course of this offseason. People deserve more than they have gotten over the years, and we want to deliver that to them. We’re looking at the lineup, saying, “How can we improve our club?” to go into the season with the best chance at winning.
Do you get a lot of calls regarding the veterans on your team?
I really don’t want to get into that at all. It’s something that most teams deal with, unless you win the last hockey game of the season, every team is trying to improve their club, so their are lots of conversations.
What does Mark Recchi bring to the table, and are you surprised he has played this long?
He’s a very competitive player, for sure. He wants nothing more than to win, and he’s been unbelievable in the locker room, he’s been somewhat of a mentor to some of the younger players. And his compete level is high, he’s got great character. To see what he’s been able to accomplish at his age, I hope it rubs off on a lot of these younger guys we have.
How would you assess the job Claude Julien has done with this team?
I think you look at where we were prior to that staff coming in, they’ve made great strides. Now, we have to take it to the next level. We’ve lost in the first round, we’ve lost consecutively in the second round, the last two years, so it’s time for this group, not just the coaching staff, the players as well, to take it to the next level.
With Tyler Seguin, how much prep work did you do before selecting him?
Well, obviously throughout the course of the year you identify the top players, and figure out where you may be as the season goes along, where you may draft; the lottery dictated where we picked. During the course of the year our scouts get as much information as they can on a bunch of different players, not just the top players. Obviously when your picking second overall we focused more on two or three players, and then try to get as much information as we can from coaches, teammates, you name it. And then from our own perspective, more due diligence at the combine, with the interviews there, watching them work out. We’ve brought him into Boston to meet with him again for a couple of days, had various people in the organization meet with these players. I know Peter, Don [Sweeney], and Jim Benning at some point went to the families house and spent some time with the families. All of those things are really important for us to get a good gauge on what we expect to look forward to with certain players; what type of character, what their families are all about.
Do you think Seguin can play the wing, or stay at his natural position at center?
I think it would be tougher for a winger to jump in and play center at the National Hockey League level. I think he’s a smart hockey player and if it made sense for him to play wing, if we felt it was going to be better for his development, I think it’s something he can handle. There’s a little less defensive pressure for a winger. If the coaching staff and we feel it’s best for him to maybe start out on the wing then that’s what we’ll probably do, and I don’t think he’d have an issue with that, and I don’t think he’d have problems adjusting to it.
|Video: A look at the Bruins draft party||at 8:34 am ET|
WEEI.com’s Jerry Thornton visits the Boston Bruins draft party to get a feel for the atmosphere and excitement surrounding the event.
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