|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.
|Wideman, Bruins can smell the playoffs||04.09.10 at 1:08 am ET|
So it has come down to this. Thanks to a win over the Northeast Division champion Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins could clinch a playoff berth on Friday while enjoying a meal.
“We’ve been right there,” Wideman said of the charge toward the playoffs. “You don’t want to be looking too far ahead. We still have two more games that we want to try and win and not make it come down to the last game so we have to make sure we’re ready to play Carolina on Saturday. Carolina always plays us tough so we have to make sure that we are up to the task.”
That is why the Bruins were rightfully feeling proud of their win on Thursday and none moreso than Dennis Wideman who has seen more ups and downs than anyone in Bruins black and gold this season.
It was Wideman’s turnover that led to Buffalo’s goal by Derek Roy in the first period. The Bruins were down 1-0 after 20 minutes and tied, 1-1, after 40.
But it was Wideman’s shot from the high slot in the third that proved to be the game-winner in Boston’s 3-1 victory.
“Yeah, that was a real big win for us,” Wideman said. “We struggled a bit early. We weren’t quite up to where we wanted to play, but I think we stuck with it and came through with the win.
“That’s one thing that you can’t do when you get into situations like that and you start panicking you start gripping your stick a bit too tight and then things just go downhill from there. It was good that we didn’t panic and we responded and we came back and back and ended up winning the game.”
Wideman fired a shot through Blake Wheeler‘s screen for the goal in the third period.
“Blake did a great job on that goal,” Wideman said. “I think he turned the puck over in the neutral zone, then he kicked it out to Vlad [Vladimir Sobotka] and then Vlad drove it down wide there and showed great patience by not just throwing it at the net into a crowd of people and he pulled back and he found me in the slot and all I had to do was make sure I hit a hole in the net because Blake had a great screen on him.”
The crowd booed Wideman every time he touched the puck after his turnover in the first. But they cheered him when he became the hero in the third.
“I didn’t hear the cheering, no,” he said, before offering, “I don’t know what to say about that actually. Obviously, it’s not easy. It’s a little harder when you’re trying to make a play or trying to be patient with the puck when that is going on, but that is part of the game.
“[Fans] can do whatever they want,” Wideman added. “They pay to come to the game. Obviously at the start of the year and most of the year, things didn’t go as well as I would like or as well as it has in the past. I just have to prove to them that I can still play and I still want to win.”
|Hat trick: A point made in loss||04.06.10 at 12:18 am ET|
All season long the Bruins have had their doubters, especially when it concerned matters of the heart. Specifically, do they have the intestinal fortitude to get the job done when the odds are against them?
On Monday night, during a 3-2 overtime loss to Washington (click here for the full recap) ‘ the most dominant team in the NHL this season ‘ the Bruins may have shown they do want to play into the second season.
With Adam McQuaid playing nine minutes and Andrew Bodnarchuk playing just six, and their regular rotation of defensemen shortened to four because of 15 stitches in Dennis Seidenberg’s left wrist, the Bruins managed to hang punch-for-punch with Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and the team that has the President’s Trophy wrapped up.
Here are three things we learned:
THE BRUINS SHOW HEART
When Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period, the Bruins had to wait nearly seven minutes through a painfully slow video review, only to have the goal upheld.
But following that goal, the Bruins picked up their skating and forechecking.
The scoring chances were again plentiful for Boston, and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.
While the Bruins were frustrated on the power play again ‘ going 0-for-3 ‘ they did their best to put pressure on Theodore.
Maybe most importantly, the Bruins showed they weren’t intimidated by the Captials, even when they fell behind 1-0 on Backstrom’s goal. If the two teams meet in the first round, the Bruins coaching staff is likely to show the team a tape of this game and show them why and how they can win.
DENNIS WIDEMAN PICKS UP HIS PLAY
It’s no secret that Dennis Wideman has been the whipping boy for all that ails the Bruins this year. Every time there has seemed to be a critical turnover or penalty, it’s been Wideman at the center of the storm.
And true to form, Wideman was again in the middle of things when he was whistled for a high sticking penalty 24 seconds into overtime. The Capitals made the Bruins pay with the game-winning goal off the stick of Brooks Laich 20 seconds later.
But long before that, Wideman had been doing his best to help the cause.
Just before Backstrom’s shot slipped by Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.
The Capitals had carried the pace of play. But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game and shift the momentum.
EYE ON THE BOTTOM LINE
As a result of Monday night’s outcome, the Bruins gained a point, giving them 85 and a one-point leg up on the Flyers for seventh in the East. Boston is now just one point behind Montreal for sixth. Monday was the game-in-hand the Bruins had on the Flyers and Canadiens. The Rangers are just two points behind the Flyers, and those two teams play each other in a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday.
Now, the Bruins play Buffalo and Carolina at home on Thursday and Saturday before returning to Washington on Sunday with the season possibly on the line against the best team in the NHL.
But if the Bruins win on Thursday and Saturday, they could make life a lot easier on themselves.
|Savard: ‘Just trying to feel normal again’||03.27.10 at 2:09 pm ET|
Marc Savard is taking walks, getting some fresh air and trying to regain his full wits.
On Saturday, he spoke publicly about the hit from Matt Cooke on March 7 in Pittsburgh and how it’s affected him.
Thanks to the Bruins media relations department, here is the full transcript:
On how he is feeling and if he remembers the hit:
I am not feeling myself quite yet, still. I still don’t have any recollection of the hit. Obviously, I have seen it but that’s the only recollection I have, when I see it. I just don’t remember any of it.
On if he has any close calls with similar types of hits before this particular one:
No, none of that nature, I guess. I have obviously seen them but, I haven’t come close to getting hit like that ever.
On his reaction to the hit:
Well, I have obviously viewed it a couple of times and I think it was a play that didn’t need to happen, obviously. To me it wasn’t a shoulder and I watched the [Mike] Richards on [David] Booth hit. I think that was a shoulder. I think mine was more of an elbow, so I think there was an attempt to injure there. I was, obviously, very unhappy with what happened and I think it could have been avoided very easily. Read the rest of this entry »
|Savard: ‘I have no interest in talking’ to Cooke||at 1:04 pm ET|
Speaking publicly for the first time since taking a hit to the head from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7, Bruins center Marc Savard said he believed “there was intent to injure,” adding he was “very unhappy with what happened and it could have been avoided.”
Savard said he has had trouble sleeping since the hit and has had a mixture of good days and bad.
“I’m not feeling myself quite yet still,” Savard said. “I still don’t have any recollection of the hit. Obviously, I’ve seen it. That’s the only recollection of it is when I see it. I don’t remember any of it.”
Savard acknowledged that Cooke tried reaching out to him on March 18 when the Penguins returned but he declined through the team.
“I guess he’s tried to get my phone number,” Savard said. “From what happened, I really don’t, at the moment, have any interest in talking to him. I’m not feeling any better so I’d rather not talk to him.”
|The Hat Trick: Bruins can’t save the work for the third||03.15.10 at 10:43 pm ET|
Before we go any further into the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Devils on Monday night, let’s get one thing straight: This wasn’t a Jacques Lemaire or Pat Burns-coached team that the Bruins fell to Monday night. It wasn’t a fall-behind-by-one-and-the-game’s-over scenario, as many who have followed the Bruins have grown accustomed to when it comes to playing the Devils. And while the Devils are a very viable Cup contender this year, this wasn’t a throwback to the mid-’90s-on torture that the black and gold have fallen victim to.
This was a struggling team going against a struggling team (the Devils, currently fourth in the conference, entered the evening 4-5-1 over their last 10 games) and struggling.
On Monday night we saw plenty of the Bruins’ flaws highlighted. Whether it was the painful uncertainty in net that led to Tim Thomas being yanked after 20 minutes of decent play accompanied by bad luck and big rebounds (for what it’s worth, only Zach Parise’s goal can be blamed on Thomas ‘ Scott Niedermayer’s was the result of a screen and David Clarkson’s a breakaway), a missed opportunity at physically setting the tone (Milan Lucic’s dasher to the face) or the lack of consistent offense, it was all there in a rough night for Claude Julien and the gang.
The Bruins are still hanging onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by just one point, with their 72 points narrowly edging the Rangers’ 71. Still, in a prospective matchup with the top-seeded Capitals (who are 2-0 against Boston this year and have outscored the Bruins by a margin of 8-2 in their two meetings), the playoffs might just be a formality ‘ a quick stop on the way to yet another offseason filled with questions of how the Bruins can return to prominence for good.
It wasn’t all bad, though. The offense, aside from being snakebitten when it comes to getting multiple tallies in the third (see below), peppered New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur with 15 shots in the final 20 minutes, and after being outshot 22-21 through two periods, ended the game having outshot the Devils, 36-28. Here is the hat trick of lessons learned in close-but-not-close-enough match at the Prudential Center.