|Cam Neely discusses Bruins’ future at final press conference of 2011-12 season||05.03.12 at 5:17 pm ET|
Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a season-ending press conference Thursday to discuss the 2011-12 season and look ahead to the future.
The calling of the press conference Wednesday was somewhat surprising, but given that Neely hadn’t spoken at last Friday’s breakup day, it seemed appropriate for the team president to meet with the media one last time this season. The trio of Neely and the Jacobs covered a variety of topics Thursday, so here’s a recap of it all.
– One common theme throughout the players at breakup day was that they had trouble getting up for the playoffs after last June’s run to the Cup finals. While Neely recognized the fatigue factor, he still feels the team is too good to lose in the first round.
“It should be unacceptable,” Neely said. “With the players we have, the talent that we have, the coaching staff we have, you can’t be accept a first-round exit. I believe that we’re a franchise that’s beyond, ‘Let’s make the playoffs,’ that’s beyond, ‘Let’s have a good showing in the first round. I think we’re beyond that. Expectations are much higher now.”
Neely said that though players spoke of their difficulty getting mentally engaged in the postseason, the team as a whole appeared to share his frustration with the first-round exit.
“What I saw was guys that looked to be disappointed,” Neely said. “When you look at all the seven games of the whole and you say, ‘Geez, we probably should be moving on,’ I think they would all agree with that. I think if they really assessed our game and their individual play, they to a person probably feel like they could have played better or could have done a little bit more to get that extra goal or that extra win that we needed. ”
– Neely agreed with Peter Chiarelli‘s sentiment that no major shakeup is needed this offseason, but that some turnover should occur. He is hopeful that free agent Chris Kelly can return.
“I think just some tweaking,” he said of the roster. “Peter and I spoke a few days after the season ended. We’re going to have more discussions as the summer progresses here, but I like the makeup of our team, I like the character of our team. I think Peter’s done a really good job of signing players before they become free agents as best he can. I think we have guys that are still going to improve. We have a young team in that regards as far as the core goes and will improve. But we know we have some areas we will look to improve and we’ll have more discussions in the offseason on how we can go about doing that.”
– Neely said that he remains satisfied with the team’s goaltending situation of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. The latter is a restricted free agent, and Neely said that when Rask signs his new deal — which figures to see a pay raise — there will be enough room for both players financially and when it comes to playing time.
“Well financially it shouldn’t be an issue,” Neely said. “Playing-time-wise, it’s always been they’re battling it out and the coach will end up playing who he thinks is going to give the team the best shot to win.”
– Both Claude Julien and Chiarelli still have term on their contracts, and Neely said he was pleased with the job both did this season.
“I thought they both did a great job this year,” Neely said. “Claude’s a very good coach, Peter’s a good general manager. There’s challenges at times with the way the cap is now, to try and make certain moves you’d like to make. The trade deadline is a great example of that. The offseason, July 1 is another good example of it’s a little bit more difficult dealing with the cap than it’s been pre-cap.
“I think Claude’s done a good job, I’ve seen Claude make some adjustments since he’s been here and I think it’s been good that he communicates really well with the players. There’s no gray area which as a player, I think is fantastic. You shouldn’t have a gray area and he’s done a really good job since he’s been here.”
Neely also said that there were no plans at this time to make any moves regarding the coaching staff. That obviously applies more to the assistants, as Julien’s job is obviously safe.
– After two straight postseasons of power play struggles, Neely allowed that something needs to change, but not necessarily coaching or personnel.
“We got away with [having a bad power play] last year as everybody knows,” he said. “This year, it kind of bit us in the butt. We really need to have a philosophical difference of how we look at the power play. I don’t just look at the percentage of the power play, I look at when we get power plays, what the score of the game is, what time of the game is ‘ that’s important. Maybe more so important than what the actual percentage of the power play is.
“I think we have the personnel that we can improve on the power play. There’s some things we’ll certainly discuss in the offseason about what we can do differently with the power play. I think it’s an area that absolutely needs improvement and we will improve on it.”
– There is one more year remaining on the Bruins’ deal with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Charlie Jacobs said the team is determining what to use for a practice facility beyond then, with the team still considering Ristuccia. Jacobs did say that the Bruins want their practice facility to be a potential selling point for free agents, so that would suggest the team would ideally like to upgrade.
|Zdeno Chara proves why he’s the ‘toughest guy in the [NHL], bar none’||03.28.12 at 9:55 am ET|
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is notoriously humble and soft spoken about his own accomplishments.
That’s why it’s often a good idea to listen to his teammates and coach when trying to gauge what impact he’s had on the Bruins, even a teammate like Brian Rolston who hasn’t shared a dressing room with him for that long.
Asked what he’s learned about Chara since coming back to Boston in a deadline trade with the Islanders, Rolston was honest enough.
“Probably nothing,” Rolston said. “He’s so hard to play against; he’s a tremendous leader. Obviously he does that by example, but he’s the toughest guy to play against in the league ‘ bar none. If you were to pull the forwards on every team they would say the same thing and coming in on a nightly basis knowing that you have to face him ‘ it’s a tough task.”
Rolston set up the game-winner of Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Tampa Bay when he tried a wraparound midway through the third, only to have the puck flutter its way out to a wide open Benoit Pouliot. But the heroics of Rolston and Pouliot don’t happen without Chara, who has he did all night, brought the puck in deep into the offensive zone to apply more pressure on a team known for its stingy defense.
The secondary assist was Chara’s third of the night, a night on which Chara matched a career-high with three helpers and was honored before the game for becoming the latest and greatest member of the NHL’s 1000-game club.
“Yeah, those were big,” Rolston added. “Z had a great game, another great game for us. It’s huge, it’s huge ‘ if you can get the defensemen helping out, and especially against on team like that that collapses down all the time. It’s difficult to get anything going down low so it’s great to have defensemen contributing offensively.”
That’s exactly what Chara did when he took the puck midway through the first at the Tampa Bay blue line and charged around the zone like Wayne Gretzky, eventually running at the net, creating a scoring chance for Shawn Thornton when Dwayne Roloson left a juicy rebound.
“Basically, I get a puck on the blueline, I was trying to ride the blueline and then just kind of opened up and I really decided to challenge that seam and once I got a little bit more room, I was kind of deciding between a shot and pass,” Chara explained. “But again, everything was happened and I decided to take it to the net and we’ve always been taught when you do those things, good things happen and they did. We scored on the rebound, and it ended up being a good play.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Cam Neely: ‘It’s a very sweet day for us’||06.18.11 at 2:21 pm ET|
The city of Boston has celebrated world championship teams before with a “rolling rally” like it did on Saturday but never did so many fans turn out. When the city rolled out the duck boats for a three-mile rally route from TD Garden to Copley Square, fans as deep as 20 rows lined the streets to celebrate the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
“Mayhem, but all good,” Bruins President Cam Neely said in describing the day. “These fans have waited a long, long time for this. They deserve this. Today is their day to really celebrate it, which is really great.”
Boston Police estimated the crowd at over 1,000,000 and city officials said that it eclipsed the 2004 “Rain Rally” on Oct. 30, 2004 when the city and region celebrated the first World Series title in 86 years. Neely’s Bruins became the seventh Boston team to be celebrated and honored with a duck boat rally, joining the 2001, ’03 and ’04 Patriots, the ’04 and ’07 Red Sox and the ’08 Celtics.
“Just how mentally draining it’s been. You live and breathe for every game, especially when you have four elmination games. I’m proud of the guys for what they did.”
“It’s nice that people feel that way. I came here when I was 21 and grew up here and have a huge passion for the Bruins and the players who played before me and the players I played with and the organization in general. And our fan base took me in and showed their passion for the team and the players. So, to finally win it for them has been an incredible experience.”
“It’s really sweet for everyone that’s put some time and effort in. The people in the back office, work extremely hard, don’t get the recognition. Obviously, all the players, coaches, GMs, it’s going to be a very sweet day for us.”
Neely said he and the organization have yet to come down completely from their epic 4-0 win over Vancouver in British Columbia last Wednesday in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s been fantastic, just the excitement the whole city has,” he said. “It’s kind of sunk in but hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s been an incredible experience so far. I was driving in [Friday] and all I kept thinking is, ‘We’re Stanley Cup champs.’ You drive in, you think it’s a normal day but you’re Stanley Cup champs. It keeps running through your head. It’s starting to sink in but it hasn’t fully sunk in.”
|Green Men on D&C: ‘We’re two grown idiots in spandex’||06.06.11 at 9:15 am ET|
Vancouver’s Green Men, Force and Sully, stopped by the WEEI studio for a visit with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning while in Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The two Canucks fans clad in spandex bodysuits made a name for themselves by annoying opposing players in the penalty box at Rogers Arena, but the NHL restricted their behavior after they became cult favorites.
“The NHL directly told us: ‘No more handstands, you can’t touch the glass.’ We were told we were not allowed to agitate the players,” Sully explained. “So, we just have to step up our game and be more creative. It seems to be working. We’re getting under a few people’s skin.”
Diminutive Bruins forward Brad Marchand engaged in a feud with the pair last week. “Marchand gave us a couple of chirps, I got doused with some water,” Sully explained. “You get that when you ask if he’s sitting on phone books.”
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, on the other hand, enjoyed the Green Men’s tribute to Bruins legend Cam Neely‘s acting career. “We had the Cam Neely ‘Sea Bass’ from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ reference ‘ the trucker caps,” Force explained. “Seidenberg appreciated that. He said he’d pass that along to Cam Neely.”
Added Force: “I think Cam Neely upstairs is either laughing or wanting to fight us. I’m not sure.”
|Unable to win in a uniform, Neely hopes to win Stanley Cup as an executive||05.31.11 at 9:06 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — When it comes to the Bruins playing the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals, there is a buzz throughout the entire organization. From players, to coaches, right on up to management, the excitement for the B’s to reach the highest level is clear.
One guy to whom this series may be even more special is team president and former player Cam Neely, who hails from British Columbia and began his career with the Canucks before being traded to the Bruins in 1986.
“I got to Maple Ridge in 1976 and became a huge Canuck fan,” Neely recalled. “… Unfortunately it didn’t work out well for me here, and things worked well in Boston.
“I certainly kept tabs on what happened to the Canucks over the years, of course except when they played us. But it’s home, Boston is home as well. It’s fun to see what the Canucks have been able to accomplish, especially this year. They’ve got a great team. It’s going to be a pretty interesting series.”
Though Neely could not hoist the Cup in his playing days, he hopes to do so as an executive, something he spoke to Tuesday.
“It would be by far the next best thing, there’s no question,” Neely said. “Absolutely no question. I mean, when you’re a player, your goal is to make the NHL. Once you get into the league, you want to win the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to do it in a uniform, but hopefully can do it in a suit.”
Neely admitted that despite years in press box with the B’s, he still hasn’t totally settled into watching a game without the intensity that comes with being on the ice, saying it’s “much harder than playing,” and that he is “still getting used to it.”
While winning the Cup as a player would have been the ultimate prize for Neely, at least he can watch his team now knowing he’s watching a good product.
|David Krejci: This is why ‘you work all season for home ice’||05.26.11 at 12:23 am ET|
TAMPA — After becoming the first Bruins player since Cam Neely to record a playoff hat trick, David Krejci said the disappointed Bruins can still take solace in the fact they have one game on home ice to win to get to the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s tough, frustrating obviously, but that’s why you work all season to get home ice advantage, and now we have it,” Krejci said. “Game 7 in our building and in front of our fans, it’s going to be exciting.”
Krejci almost brought the Bruins back single-handedly from a 5-3 deficit late as he scored his third goal with 6:32 remaining in the third. His third goal not only matched Martin St. Louis with his NHL-leading 10th playoff goal, it gave him the first Boston playoff hat trick since Neely against the Canadiens on April 25, 1991. Krejci had several chances in the closing moments as the Bruins swarmed Dwayne Roloson but could not find the equalizer.
“It’s going to be a tough night, maybe, but once you wake up [Thursday], we have to forget about it,” Krejci said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job at it after a win or loss. We regroup no matter what. We came back strong the next game so hopefully, we can do it again.
“We’re still one win away the Stanley Cup finals so, regroup [Thursday] and get ready for Friday,” Krejci said.
While scoring their first road power play goal in 26 chances, the Bruins were victimized by Lightning power play goals on their first three chances.
“Maybe a couple of calls were questionable but it doesn’t really matter right now,” Krejci said. “What’s done is done. We have to look at their power play, make some adjustments and be better next game.”
The Bruins will be trying to repeat the result of Game 7 in the first round against the Canadiens, when they beat Montreal, 3-2, in overtime on home ice to advance to the second round.
|Think the Bruins are looking forward to a rematch with the Flyers? You bet||04.28.11 at 1:58 am ET|
Don’t be fooled by Cam Neely.
The Bruins finally get their chance at revenge on the Flyers – and they want it badly.
“This probably gives you guys more to write about I’m sure,” Neely said with a grin following Boston’s 4-3 overtime over the Candiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday. “We don’t have the same team as we did last year, and Philly doesn’t have the exact same team either. That’s certainly going to be mentioned a lot and talked a lot about, but first and foremost we’ve got to concern ourselves [with] how we play in that first game.”
At least Neely would recognize their next round opponent. The same could not be said for Tim Thomas.
“I told you, I have at least until midnight before I have to think about that,” Thomas said when asked repeatedly about the second-round series that opens Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Yes, the teams have tweaked their rosters, but they still have two of the most identifiable logos on the crests of their sweaters. Claude Julien wanted to focus on the fact that his team just beat another franchise with a pretty famous logo on its sweater – and did so in historic fashion.
“I mean, it is what it is and the fact is we got ourselves down two nothing in this series,” Julien said of overcoming the 0-2 hole against Montreal. “I think it was important for ourselves to get back into this series. There was a lot at stake in this series as well. We understand the rivalry between Montreal and Boston and it’s been there many times. And we also know the statistics of the winning percentages of both teams when they play each other.”
Then came Julien’s acknowledgment of the next opponent.
“It was a big deal for us and we really focused on that and there is no doubt that tonight, we knew winning this game would give us another opportunity to play Philly. If anything I think it’s going to make it interesting. I think a lot of people are going to be watching this to see how it develops, and we’re excited to have that opportunity.”
First round hero Nathan Horton wasn’t even on the Bruins team that couldn’t close out last year against the Flyers, but he senses the pain and the desire for redemption.
“Well, this is huge, and definitely with what happened last year, we can put that in the past now,” Horton said. “It’s a new year. We’ve gone through it. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You’re up three-nothing, or down two-nothing, and things can turn. You’ve just got to work through it, and be prepared to always continue to work until you get that fourth win, because like everyone says, it’s the hardest one to get.”
Now, if they can just repeat it three more times.
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