|Cam Neely trade helped more than the player||10.27.10 at 9:27 pm ET|
Cam Neely was born in British Columbia and didn’t become a dual citizen until a couple of years ago, yet it’s unquestioned that his impact on hockey in America has been far-reaching. As a result, it was no surprise to see him among the recipients of the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States.
It took the Bruins’ 1986 deal with Vancouver to get Neely to the states, and the deal was highly beneficial to a number of people for a number of reasons. The trade rescued a 20-year-old Neely from fourth-line minutes, but the man who made the trade, which sent Barry Pederson, to the Canucks for Neely and a first-round pick, notes that Neely may have helped him as much as he helped Neely.
‘If I hadn’t made the trade, I would’ve been probably an advisor to the owner a lot earlier,’ Harry Sinden said with a laugh prior to Wednesday’s award ceremony.
It was in Boston where he established himself as a one-of-a-kind player, as Sinden noted that he has never seen a 50-goal scorer (something Neely was three times in his career, once accomplishing it in 49 games) play with the edge that Neely did, though he pointed to Alexander Ovechkin as the closest thing to it. Neely said Wednesday that the trade to Boston and embracing the style of hockey he knew he could make made all the difference in making the jump from a 14-goal-scorer (his total in his final year in Vancouver) to the player he became.
“Here’s another opportunity to show another organization maybe what I didn’t get the opportunity to show Vancouver,” Neely recalled thinking at the time of the deal. “For me, it was all about playing physical. I knew how I played in junior hockey, and I was playing physical and I knew that I could score goals, but the physical part obviously is a lot easier than scoring goals. I just said to myself, ‘I’m going to go there, and when I have an opportunity to take the body, I’m going to take the body.’ I knew for the most part that I could handle myself if somebody didn’t like that, so I was prepared for what came with me playing physical.”
Jack Parker, another Lester Patrick recipient on Wednesday, spoke highly of the player he saw arrive, noting that Neely’s celebrity in Boston has helped him compile talent in recent years. The three-time NCAA championship-winning Boston University coach felt that having a player like Neely to look up to served in inspiring kids throughout New England to get into hockey. Without Neely, Parker said, the team simply wouldn’t have as many local prospects to choose from.
Now president of the Bruins and someone who inspires the current squad, the impact that Neely has made on an organization, a town, a country, and a sport, continues to be felt. But what if the trade never happened? Aside from Sinden’s quip, Boston sports and hockey in America would be far different.
“I have thought about that, and the only conclusion that I could come up with is that I probably wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did,” Neely said. “What I would have been able to accomplish, I can’t really say. It’s impossible to say, but maybe if I went to another team, something similar would have happened, but obviously coming here was the best thing at the best time for me.”
|Cam Neely on D&H: B’s will go slow with Tyler Seguin||10.21.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show to talk about the B’s as they return to the Garden ice Thursday night for their home opener. Neely talked about the team’s plans for rookie Tyler Seguin, why signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract was the right move and his thoughts on the goaltending situation.
Neely said the Bruins were in an enviable position with Seguin, the second pick in the draft, because they have so much depth. “You have to be careful with expectations for an 18-year-old regardless of where he goes in the draft,” Neely said. “Some can adapt quicker than others, some have the size and strength of an NHL player, some don’t. With Tyler, we’re taking it very slow, we’re taking it very cautious with him.
“We’re certainly in a different position than most second overall picks would be in, they generally are on a team that maybe isn’t as deep as what we currently have. We’re able to have in ease him into this league and get comfortable, learn a little bit more on the defensive side. We expect him to get better and better as time goes on.”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Tyler Seguin ‘not an impact player’||10.13.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury made the first of his weekly appearances on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked about rookie Tyler Seguin and the impact he could have this season, Milbury said Bruins fans will need to be patient. “I’ll answer the question without having seen him enough: He’s not going to be an impact player this season. He’s not,” Milbury said. “Those players are very few and far between. I’d put big money that he’s not an impact player. Does he get 15-20 goals? Maybe. Thirty points, 50 points tops, but that’s not an impact player. And when [Marc] Savard comes back ‘ and I assume he will ‘ he’ll have a tough time finding ice time.”
With the Bruins signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract extension last week, Milbury voiced his displeasure with long-term deals, citing the risk of injury and psychological letdown. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it for anybody, let alone the Bruins,” Milbury said. “And they’re not the only ones making questionable decisions with the salary cap. I mean, the team they play next, New Jersey, is a mess. They can’t even dress the full complement of players because of the cap issue.”
Added Milbury: “I don’t like long-term contracts. It’s a heartbeat away. You never know what these contracts will do a player’s psyche. This is not baseball. It’s not like you might not get hurt. You’re going to get hurt. It’s just how seriously.
“The team has made its bet on these core players. And we’ll find out in two years, three years maximum whether this core has the stuff to win a Stanley Cup championship. But the bet’s been made. And we’ll find out if it was a good one or not.”
|Cam Neely can offer perspective on Marc Savard trade rumors||09.13.10 at 2:41 pm ET|
BOLTON — Cam Neely and Nathan Horton could be seen talking and laughing prior to teeing off at The International for the Bruins’ annual golf tournament on Monday. For Horton, his Bruins career has consisted of throwing out a first pitch at Fenway, playing street hockey with kids, scrimmaging with no coaches, surprising season-ticket holders by delivering their tickets with Milan Lucic, and now golfing. Given his excitement to be in Boston and factoring in all the aforementioned perks, one might dare to suggest that nobody is more excited for the 2010-11 season than Horton.
Except Neely, of course.
At his formal introduction as team president this summer, Neely spoke with passion of how the fans deserved more. Now on the other side of the offseason, Neely reinforced his line of thinking that the team has “unfinished business to take care of” and noted that he feels Peter Chiarelli and co. have put together “a much better club this year.”
Though Neely praised the talents of Horton and Tyler Seguin, the offseason’s other prize, he offered a unique perspective when discussing the subject of trade talks with returning players. Names such as Michael Ryder, Tim Thomas, and most notably Marc Savard came up frequently through either reports or speculation.
‘Speaking as a former player, you can’t worry about what’s out of your control. The way I looked at it when I was a player was, you hear about rumors and things that you can’t really control, you can’t worry about it.
“The only thing you can worry about are the stuff you can control, whether it’s in sports or in general. That’s how I approached it as a player and that’s how I would think most players would approach it. It’s always difficult if you hear your name mentioned in ways you don’t want it to be mentioned, but things you can’t control, you shouldn’t worry too much about.’
Neely knows a good amount about trades given the fact that he himself was dealt from the Canucks to the Bruins back in 1986. He can only hope that the team’s most recent trade for a big winger in Horton works out the way it did back then.
|Neely among Lester Patrick award recipients||09.02.10 at 2:46 pm ET|
Bruins president Cam Neely is one of four recipients of the Lester Patrick trophy for outstanding service to ice hockey the United States. Joining him are Boston College coach Jerry York, Boston University’s Jack Parker, and American Hockey League president David Andrews.
The recipients of the award, which has been around since 1966 will be honored at a reception in Boston in late October.
Neely was named president of the Bruins on June 16. In 726 career games, he scored 395 goals with 299 assists for 694 points. He had 1,241 penalty minutes.
York and Parker have long been considered the elite among college coaches, winning four and three national championships, respectively. Parker was the most recent to do so when he led the Terriers past Miami of Ohio in a comeback victory in 2009.
|Season tickets sold out||07.26.10 at 12:18 pm ET|
The Bruins announced via press release Monday that full season ticket packages for the 2010-2011 season are now sold out, an encouraging sign late in an offseason that has been very busy for the Bruins.
Though full packages throughout the loge and balcony are no longer available, some packages remain an option for interested fans. Half-season (21 games), 10-game, and five-game plans in addition to Premium Club memberships remain available.
Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton have likely been selling points for fans, as they look to improve what was the worst offense in the NHL. The defensive core has largely been kept in tact, with Dennis Wideman shipped to Florida in exchange for Horton. Both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask remain on the roster, rounding out a team that on paper has seen only upgrades over the summer.
|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.
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