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Cam Neely admits he wants a voice but adds, ‘I don’t want to be a general manager’ 04.16.15 at 7:52 am ET
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There was some speculation in the immediate aftermath of Peter Chiarelli’s firing Wednesday that Cam Neely might assume the role and add the general manager’s title onto his existing role of team president.

While team CEO Charlie Jacobs admitted that hockey operations will, for now, report directly to Neely, the team president said he wants no part of the gig long term.

“I’€™m not a micromanager and I don’€™t want to be a general manager,” Neely announced. “I want to have a vision, I want to understand what the vision of a general manager is going to be for the hockey club, obviously, as we move forward. I felt that I was able to have conversations and express my opinions. I felt that I was able to do that the last four or five years’€”six years. But as far as’€”I’€™m not a micromanager and I don’€™t intend to be.”

Neely did offer a critique of where he thinks the team might have gone astray over the last four seasons since winning the Cup in 2011, especially as it relates to drafting new talent.

“We have to look at the organization as a whole obviously and today’€™s day and age with the game and the cap and a team that is fortunate enough to spend to the cap,” Neely said. “As you have success and those players get better and you have to pay them more, you need those entry-level players to come in and be able to have an impact. It’€™s expensive to always get ready made players.

“It’€™s a nice luxury to be able to have but when you don’€™t have the cap space to be able to do that, you’€™ve got to find entry-level players. I think there was a period of time there where’€”I don’€™t think I’€™m saying anything that hasn’€™t been chronicled’€”we missed on three or four years on some drafts that I think right now we’€™re kind of paying the price for. That’€™s not the sole reason but that’€™s an area where I think we can improve.”

Neely was asked if he had input or final authorization on moves that might have led the Bruins away from a tougher on-ice image that he has preferred ever since his playing days.

“Like I said I’€™m not going to micromanage a GM. I want him to do his job,” Neely said. “I certainly want to have conversations about why and what the thought process is to make particular deals and trades and how that is going to look for the franchise, not just when it happens but also moving forward. The other thing to your second question, I think where we’€™ve had success is our four lines play hard. That’€™s doesn’€™t mean you can’€™t have skill and play hard. It’€™s something where ‘€˜is it easy to find?’€™ No, but I think I’€™d like to see us get back to playing hard and where the team plays for each other. I think we lost that a little bit.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Cam Neely,
Cam Neely says next general manager will decide Claude Julien’s fate 04.15.15 at 4:57 pm ET
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While Peter Chiarelli’s fate is known, Claude Julien‘s isn’t.

Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs said in Wednesday’s press conference that a decision has still not been made on whether Julien will be kept or fired. Neely made it clear that just because Julien hasn’t been fired yet, it doesn’t mean he won’t be.

“It hasn’€™t fully been made,’€ Neely said of the decision. “We met with Claude this morning, Charlie and I. We told him that we really believe that once we go through the exhaustive search to find the next general manager, we will leave it up to that GM to decide what he wants to do on our coaching staff. Claude certainly understood that, but that’€™s where we left it.”

If the Bruins wait to fire Julien, the coach could miss out on other jobs. Julien signed a multi-year extension with the Bruins prior to this season and, if fired, would be paid it until he got a new job.

As such, there would be no incentive for Julien to quit while in limbo.

“We told him the situation and we asked him, and he said, ‘€˜I signed a contract to coach here and I want to coach here,’€™ so he made that clear when he left,” Neely said. “We had planned to meet with him in the next couple days to sit down about the season and talk to him about this past season. That’€™s next on our agenda with Claude.”

Asked whether the Bruins would consider “trading” Julien for draft picks, Neely said the team had yet to consider it.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Cam Neely knows money will still be tight with salary cap increase 12.10.14 at 5:24 pm ET
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Cam Neely discussed the NHL's salary cap increase on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Cam Neely discussed the NHL‘s salary cap increase on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

When the Board of Governors projected a $73 million salary cap for next season, it looked to be good and bad news for the Bruins: good because it’€™s higher than the current $69 million mark and bad because it isn’€™t even higher.

Those seemed to be Cam Neely‘€™s thoughts Wednesday, as the Bruins president answered a question about the anticipated bump by smiling and quipping, “€œit’€™s better than 69 [million].”

The projected cap, which is contingent on the Canadian dollar staying the same, will make it easier for the Bruins to keep their team together, but not much. The idea of adding key players in free agency will be out of the question, but then again it generally has been for a few years now, with the exception of the incentive-laden deal given two summers ago to Jarome Iginla.

Not counting Marc Savard, the Bruins have $49,897,857 committed against the cap to 10 players for next season. Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg lead the list of players due for raises from their current cap hits, though Torey Krug and Reilly Smith can also expect pay bumps after playing this season for $1.4 million apiece.

“When you’€™re a team that spends up to the cap and you are spending to the cap and you are into LTI, there’€™s a lot of discussions and conversations and pencils and erasers that have to be in play,” Neely said. “Fortunately, Charlie and Mr. Jacobs give us the opportunity to spend to the cap. Until they say we’€™re not, we’€™re going to continue to try and put the best team on the ice. Having said that, it’€™s easy to spend money; you’€™ve just got to spend it properly.”

Agent J.P. Barry told WEEI.com last month he had yet to begin serious negations with the B’€™s regarding new deals for Hamilton and Soderberg, both of whom he represents. The holdup was due to the league not knowing where the cap would be next year, so perhaps the ball could get rolling soon with the clarity recently presented.

All that said, the $73 million figure is not set in stone.

“œBased on what we’€™re hearing, it’€™s all based upon the Canadian dollar,”€ Neely said. “œThey have a pretty good idea of the revenues that are coming in. It’€™s just a matter of Canadian revenues and what happens with the Canadian dollar. It gives us a pretty good idea of where we’€™re going to end up, but if we’€™re going to err, we should err on the lower side.”

Read More: Cam Neely, Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton,
Bruins break ground on Warrior Ice Arena as construction of practice facility begins at 4:53 pm ET
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Rendering of Warrior Ice Arena from the Mass Pike. (Courtesy of Bruins)

Rendering of Warrior Ice Arena from the Mass Pike. (Courtesy of Bruins)

The Bruins broke ground on their new practice facility, which will be called Warrior Ice Arena, on Wednesday. Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli, Mayor Marty Walsh and New Balance chairman Jim Davis were among those on hand for the event.

Warrior Ice Arena, which will be located in Brighton as part of New Balance’€™s Boston Landing project, is expected to open in September of 2016. The Bruins will continue to practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington until then.

That’€™s great news for the Bruins, eventually. Though both Neely and Jacobs thanked Ristuccia at every opportunity Wednesday, Ristuccia is not an NHL-caliber practice facility. Furthermore, its location is inconvenient to Boston.

The Bruins don’€™t have many things on which they can’€™t sell players. They’€™re a winning organization, they have a good coach, they spend to the cap annually and they have people in the front office who players throughout the league respect. Their practice facility, on paper, is really their only clear shortcoming when it comes to places to play for prospective free agents.

“I really think it means a lot to players. It means a lot to the organization and to the players,” Jacobs said. “What I mean by the players is if I’€™m one of them — Big Zee, Looch or Seth Griffith or whoever it is –€” you’€™re doing that grind of back and forth to the rink. Likewise, on an off day when the Celtics may be playing or there’€™s an event in the building, you’€™re out here. It means a lot to have a shorter commute.

“It makes life a lot easier, as we probably all are aware, but then you think about courting potential free agents. To be able to take them to not only the Garden and show them the work we’€™ve done there, but say, ‘€˜Hey, listen. Come check out our practice facility,’€™ that’€™s a big selling point for a lot of clubs. It should be one for Boston’€™s and it will be very soon.”

Both Neely and Jacobs said that the team’€™s priority was to build a new facility within Route 128, with Jacobs saying he was “œover the moon” with how things fell together with New Balance. Jacobs added that he feels the Bruins will “œset [an] industry standard in terms of amenities, technology and quality when it comes to this training facility.”

Read More: Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Marty Walsh,
Bruins sign letter of intent for Allston-Brighton practice facility 07.08.14 at 9:54 am ET
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The Bruins have signed a letter of intent with Boston Landing to build a new practice facility in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.

The facility will include 25,000 square feet of locker room, training and office space. A statement released by the team indicated the B’s are in the “€œdesign phase” of the project, with construction estimated to begin in spring of 2015 and completed in the fall of 2016.

The Bruins will continue to practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington until their new facility is completed.

Following is the press release:

BOSTON, MA — Boston Bruins President Cam Neely announced today, Tuesday, July 8, that the Bruins have signed a letter of intent for a long term-lease with Boston Landing, a mixed-used development in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston, to build a new professional standard hockey rink that will serve as the team’€™s practice facility.

“€œI am thrilled that we have found the Bruins a new practice home within the Boston city limits,’€ said Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs. “Our goal is to set the industry standard in everything that we do, and we are confident that our new practice facility will do just that. As we enter the design phase of the project, we look forward to sharing details as they become available.”€

In addition to ice time, the agreement includes approximately 25,000 square feet of dedicated locker room, training and office space. Construction is estimated to begin in Spring 2015 with completion for Fall 2016. Elkus Manfredi Architects will do the design and John Moriarty & Associates will handle the construction.

“€œSince joining the Bruins in a front office capacity, a goal of mine has been to move the Bruins into a first-class practice facility and this agreement moves us closer to accomplishing that goal,”€ said Neely. “œThe vision that New Balance has for the Boston Landing project is exactly what we were looking for, and we are confident that through this partnership, we will build a facility that our entire organization will be proud of.”

Boston Landing is a 14-acre mixed-used development in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston that includes the new world headquarters of New Balance, which will be completed in Fall 2015. A commuter rail station will also be built on the Framingham-Worcester line with completion for Fall 2016. In addition, the development includes additional office buildings, retail and restaurant space, a hotel and a sports complex.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Boston Bruins, a truly world-class organization, to Boston Landing,” said Jim Halliday, Managing Director for NB Development Group LLC. “This agreement reflects our vision of Boston Landing that transcends typical brick and mortar real estate development by truly enhancing and activating the area’€™s experience for tenants and residents, and also creating a destination use for visitors.”€

Participating brokers included Steve Purpura and Chris McCauley from Transwestern/RBJ and Sean Gildea and David Smookler from The Dartmouth Company. Boston Landing is being co-developed by HYM Investments, headed by Tom O’€™Brien.

The Bruins previous practice facility, Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, MA had served as the Bruins practice home since the 1987-88 season.

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Charlie Jacobs on a window of opportunity for Bruins: ‘I do believe we’ll be right back there’ 05.20.14 at 2:55 pm ET
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With a talented core and a young group of complimentary players in the fold, Bruins management and ownership feels there won’t be a drop-off in performance for while.

As a matter of fact, owner Jeremy Jacobs, son Charlie and team president Cam Neely said Tuesday during their season-ending media availability that there’s no reason to think the Bruins aren’t poised for another run at the Stanley Cup in 2015.

“[There’s] a tremendous amount of confidence in our both on-ice leadership and off-the-ice leadership,” Charlie Jacobs said. “A lot of character in our dressing room, and it starts with Zee [Zdeno Chara], but listen ‘€” there are a lot of complimentary pieces, and when you consider Patrice [Bergeron] and Krech [David Krejci], and we may have lost something with Andy Ference but we picked it up with Jarome [Iginla]. And then there’€™s a lot of character and leadership, and they held each other accountable, and you saw in your exit interviews ‘€” they all felt as though they maybe didn’€™t necessarily play their best but they let the team down, and that meant more to them than, say, their individual stats. And I think that speaks volumes about the mentality in the locker room itself, and that’€™s what you aspire to have.”

The Bruins reportedly did suffer a bit of a hit Tuesday with word that assistant general manager Jim Benning has been named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing the fired Mike Gillis.

“In terms of our organizational leadership, I think with Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli] and Don Sweeney and Jim [Benning], they’€™ve done a great job of really trying to assemble a mixture of both veteran and some young leadership to bring us back to the promised-land,” Charlie Jacobs added. “And you need that mix. You need the right mix. We maybe erred a bit, a little bit, in terms of having too many inexperienced defensemen. If you think about it, really only two of them ‘€” two veterans on the back line this postseason. But as my dad referred to, that will pay dividends as you progress moving forward. So listen, I have great faith in both aspects. I do believe we’€™ll be right back there. I expect that we’€™ll be back there. Stranger things have happened, but I hope we start right out of the gate where we left off in March, not necessarily at the end of April.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Jeremy Jacobs
Cam Neely talks buyouts, fighting and Jarome Iginla’s future at 2:40 pm ET
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Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday at TD Garden to wrap up media availability for the 2013-14 season.

Though little news emerged from the press conference, Neely did say that the team has not discussed using compliance buyouts on any of their players. Peter Chiarelli vowed not to use them last season, and Neely hinted the same might go for this offseason.

“We haven’€™t talked about that, no,” Neely said.

Teams are not allowed to buy out injured players, so even if the team wanted to buy out a veteran like Chris Kelly (two more years with a $3 million cap hit), the herniated disc that caused him to miss the playoffs could get in the way of such a move.

One thing discussed annually at these press conferences is the status of the team’s next practice facility, and Charlie Jacobs gave little update.

“We just had a meeting about our practice facility and [there are] a couple of different options,” Jacobs said. “[It’s] best that I keep where we’€™re at right now a little close to the vest and say that we are moving along, and pursuing two distinct possibilities, both within 15 miles of the rink here.”

The two possibilities are believed to be the facility being built in Brighton next to the New Balance building and a potential facility that would be built next to the Garden.

Here are some of the other topics that were discussed:

– Neely wasn’t a fan of his team getting itself in hot water during the playoffs, such as on Milan Lucic‘s spear of Danny DeKeyser, Shawn Thornton squirting P.K. Subban with a water bottle and Lucic’s threats during the handshake line at the end of the second round.

“You don’€™t like to see that happen,” Neely said. “The stick work is something that, you know, now-a-days you just can’€™t get away with. There’€™s two referees, there’€™s all kinds of cameras, there’€™s reporters that tweet information out as soon as it happens. You can’€™t get away with certain things like you used to be able to do. The water bottle incident is something that as an organization you don’€™t like to see happen to be quite honest with you. Stick work happens, it’€™s not just our team that does it, it does happen. I can tell you this, in handshake lines there’€™s probably worse things that have been said that just don’€™t get public. In the history of handshake lines, I can almost guarantee that.”

– Neely defended the lack of movement at the trade deadline. The team tried trading for Alexander Edler, but that deal fell through and the team had to settle for Andrej Meszaros, a depth player who served mostly as a healthy scratch in the postseason.

“I can speak to what we tried to do at the deadline. Not in detail, but with what was available and how we thought we wanted to add as opposed to add and subtract, we thought we had something in place but it was predicated on another team making a deal and it didn’€™t pan out,” Neely said. “But again, we were going through that really good stretch of hockey and we thought we really just needed to add some depth and if a player with term became available, like the one we were trying to acquire, it would have been a bonus for us. But obviously I don’€™t think that is the full reason why we didn’€™t get past the second round, to be honest with you.”

Jarome Iginla is the biggest name on the team set to hit free agency. Because of the cap penalties the team will have to pay for his one-year deal from last season, the Bruins’ best shot at keeping him is to get him to take another one-year, bonus-padded contract. Neely would like the player to return.

“I thought he started out a little slow when he came on, he came on late and he came on strong,” Neely said of Iginla. “Obviously he’€™s a leader, he’€™s the captain of another team for a long time and he came in and added in an element to our group, especially the forward group. He ended up scoring 30 goals which is not easy in this league anymore and we would like to try and see if we can figure something out moving forward with him. We will see where that goes but I thought he fit in really well with our team.”

– Neely didn’t say where things stand with Thornton, though he did echo Peter Chiarelli’s sentiments about there being less of a place in the NHL for fighters.

“I still believe that we like the physical game and physical play which at times leads to dropping the gloves,” Neely said. “But there’€™s always been a lot of talk, primarily with the media, about you know, ‘€˜is fighting still necessary in our game?’€™. I think with the way the game’€™s played and how it is played and how physical it is, I still feel it is still part of the game. But where it goes, you see from like 70s, 80s, 90s, it’€™s a little different or probably still trend that way, yes.”

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