|High Expectations At ‘State Of The Bruins’||09.17.09 at 10:55 pm ET|
Perhaps it’s on its way to being so again.
About 2,700 showed up at TD Garden Thursday night for the ‘State of the Bruins’ town hall forum, where season ticket holders were allowed to hold court directly with Bruins owners, management and players. The forum panel consisted of coach Claude Julien, general manager Peter Chiarelli, vice president Cam Neely, owner Jeremy Jacobs and his son, principal owner Charlie Jacobs. Along for the ride were Bruins stalwarts Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron as well as new defenseman Derek Morris.
The theme of the night?
Before the start of the forum, a three-minute video was played on the Garden scoreboard of the 2008-09 Bruins squad that won the Northeast division, the regular-season Eastern Conference crown and a playoff series for the first time in 10 years. It is just a taste of what Hub hockey fans have been craving, and the men on the stage Thursday evening could not agree more.
“We have higher expectations. But that is what we want, high expectations,” Neely said during the discussion.
Bergeron expressed that last season was left with some “unfinished business” while Chiarelli said it had a “hollow feeling.” The Bruins want to drive toward a Stanley Cup and the fans, if the attendance Thursday night was any indicator, will push them hard all year to quench that thirst for success.
“The message I got from just about everybody in management, and I share, is that we have higher expectations this year and we want to deliver,” Charlie Jacobs said.
|Chiarelli agrees to four-year pact that will take B’s through 2013-14||06.16.09 at 3:39 pm ET|
The Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli formally discussed a four-year contract extension that will kick into gear following the fourth and final year of his original contract during the 2009-10 season. Chiarelli and Principal for Delaware North and the Bruins Charlie Jacobs were on hand to answer questions at the TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday afternoon, and the B’s GM indicated that discussions will begin with Claude Julien on a contract extension in the ensuing weeks.
Jacobs intimated Julien and members of the coaching staff were running under the same contract length as their GM, which meant they are set to enter the final year of their contracts. Don’t expect Boston’s Jack Adams award candidate to wait very long for his own contract extension now that Chiarelli has been taken care of.
Jacobs said that the B’s ownership had already decided to extend Chiarelli and avoid any “lame duck” possibilities prior to the playoff run, and it was only a matter of time before the father and son reworked the contract agreement with their top executive.
“It seems like it was just yesterday that we were up on the dais being the next GM. It’s happened so fast. He has grown and there’s no question about it,” said Charlie Jacobs. “If you think about the guy that was up there three years and the GM that we just heard, there is a lot of difference. It’s reflected in the team’s performance, it’s reflected in his decisions and the coaching staff and management staff he’s assembled over the last 36 months, which is really strong.
“You’ve got to judge the body of work. We’ve had highs and lows, but we’ve had many more highs. This wasn’t something that we talked about whether we wanted to do it or not, (extending Chiarelli) is something that we felt like we had to do.”
For his part, the 44-year-old Bruins general manager is midway through a stunning hockey success story in Boston that’s taken place over the last three years — and Chiarelli is excited to see what lies ahead for a hockey club that excelled during the regular season before falling in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Chiarelli clearly has some challenges to keep his present team intact while avoiding the pitfalls of a shrinking salary cap, and it all starts with restricted free agents Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick along with valued free agents like P.J. Axelsson and Mark Recchi. Kessel is the big ticket free agent still under Boston’s control, and the B’s front office has until July 1 to negotiate with him. Reports have indicated Chiarelli and Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, are far apart in contract negotiations, but the B’s GM has been tight-lipped against the contract talks. He wouldn’t comment on any progress — or lack thereof — with his remaining restricted free agents in Kessel, Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz heading up to the July 1 deadline — a date when RFAs can begin fielding offer sheets from other NHL teams.
“This gives the management group the latitude to do things and to continue on with their vision or plan,” said Chiarelli. “What we’ve tried to do since I’ve been here is try to instill certain attitudes and philosophies among the players, the employees, the staff and the coaches. This (contract) allows us to do that.
“We’re entering into a new level of expectation that’s exciting and — let’s be honest — more demanding. It’s more demanding, but you have to like a challenge. What I saw in the playoffs is guys that were sacrificing their bodies on every shift, and we’re not at that point yet. It makes it more clear where we have to be, and we’re getting there. I saw that at various stages this year, but it’s certainly more clear now when you see every player on every shift (in the Stanley Cup Finals) sacrificing their body blocking a shot or taking a check.”
Several times over the last few weeks, B’s owner Jeremy Jacobs made the observation that he hadn’t hired Chiarelli as GM simply for a four-year term, but instead viewed the Bruins exec as the kind of personality that should remain in the organization for the “rest of his professional life.” Chiarelli certainly wasn’t backing away from those kinds of expectations, but also knows — in this day and age — that things can change very fast in an NHL front office.
“I love the city and it’s a great place to bring up a family, and that’s important to me,” said Chiarelli, who was named Hockey Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. “The organization is something that I want to be a part of. I don’t want to be jumping around. Hockey is a tough sport.
“You’ve seen it with coaches and players, and now I think you’ll probably see it among GMs that people will be jumping around. That’s something I don’t want to do. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but I’m very happy to be here and I want to be here for a long time.”
|Chiarelli signs multiyear contract extension with Bruins||06.15.09 at 6:19 pm ET|
In a move that was expected to transpire at some point before the NHL draft at the end of June, the Bruins announced Monday afternoon that GM Peter Chiarelli has signed a multiyear contract extension with the Black and Gold. Chiarelli was entering into the fourth and final year of a deal that he signed when he took the B’s reigns back in May 2006. The B’s executive had been negotiating with Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs over the course of the last few months, and it was fully expected that Chiarelli would remain with Boston for next year and beyond.
Chiarelli and Charlie Jacobs will hold a press conference in Legends at the TD Banknorth Garden at noon on Tuesday, and it’s also expected that Chiarelli will discuss his own situation as well as provide updates on the upcoming NHL draft and current contract negotiations with restricted free agents like Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick.
The B’s GM deserved plaudits — and a new pact — for steadily steering the organization back from oblivion over the three years after taking hold of a beleaguered franchise with an expansion team-level roster. Chiarelli and the B’s staff have stocked an NHL roster full of young, improving players — with some as holdovers from Boston’s prior front office regime — and built the foundation around a pair of big-ticket free agents in Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.
Young skilled players like Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic have all made the jump to the NHL level during Chiarelli’s tenure, and the B’s GM locked down All-Star goaltender Tim Thomas to a four-year deal earlier this spring. Goaltender Tuukka Rask and center Zach Hamill represent another wave of talented youngsters that have performed well at Providence, and stand ready to support the Boston hockey club in the near future.
Chiarelli was named the NHL’s Executive of the Year by the Sporting News for the 2008-09 season, and watched his hockey team improve by 22 points last season en route to capturing the Eastern Conference title. The B’s season ended in a Game 7 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup semifinals, but the organization is clearly on the right track.
Chiarelli has made missteps — signing Dave Lewis as his first coach and trading away prospect Kris Versteeg rank as the two biggest gaffes during his three seasons in charge of hockey operations. But the GM earned a contract extension for his overwhelmingly impressive body of work in Boston.
The GM’s biggest mandate was to come in and make the Bruins a tough, “hard to play against” unit with equal parts grit and skill, and he’s succeeded in molding a group of players into that classic image of a successful hockey club. Chiarelli’s work remains incomplete as he faces an important summer of negotiations with free agents — and potential trade talks if those contract discussions don’t go as well as expected — amid a shrinking salary cap. With a completed contract extension in hand, Chiarelli is now free to focus on the other tasks calling for his attention.
It’s also expected that Chiarelli will now turn toward a contract extension for head coach Claude Julien and members of his coaching staff — who are all expected to return for the 2009-10 season — after the Jack Adams Award finalist posted 94 wins over the last two seasons behind the Boston bench.
Before joining the B’s in 2006, Chiarelli was under the employ of his hometown Ottawa Senators for seven seasons, five as their director of legal relations and two as assistant GM. Chiarelli played four seasons of college hockey at Harvard, where he served as the team’s captain. He had 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points in 109 collegiate games before earning his degree in economics in 1987.
The elder Jacobs gave plenty of evidence that an agreement was looming — perhaps to be announced after the Stanley Cup Finals were over — when he spoke with WEEI’s “Dale & Holley” last week.
‘I made this observation a few weeks ago. I didn’t hire Peter for four years. I hired him for his career. Peter wants to stay a Bruin. He sees this as a long range career relationship and I see the same. It’s evolving,’ said Jeremy Jacobs. ‘I kind of see him in a long term executive relationship and I think he sees himself in the same spot.”
|Jacobs: ‘We hired (Chiarelli) for the rest of his professional career’||05.27.09 at 11:46 am ET|
The Bruins father-and-son ownership tandem of Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs just finished up a Wednesday morning conference call with reporters, and here are the highlights:
Charlie expressed hope that “it could have been done at this point” but the Jacobs’ still expect a contract extension to be completed with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli this summer. Chiarelli is heading into the final year of a four-year deal that he signed in May 2006, and has certainly earned a significant raise in pay while leading the B’s hockey team out of a post-lockout haze.
The Jacobs’ indicated that both Chiarelli and Bruins Vice-President Cam Neely were among a contingent of B’s brass currently in Toronto at the NHL scouting combine prior to next month’s draft in Montreal. Both executives are interviewing potential draft candidates during the event, and Jacobs hasn’t talked face-to-face with Chiarelli about a deal in “about a week”.
“We want to see him around long term and we think that’s his objective as well,” said Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. “When we hired Peter, we didn’t hire him for 4 years. We hired him for the rest of his professional career and it needs to be looked at that way. That’s been our style before. Peter has grown immensely in the last few years and he’s done an admirable job.
“We’ve seen the stops and starts, but he’s been on an upward trend.”
The ownership duo also reaffirmed that it will be up to Chiarelli to award Claude Julien and his coaching staff with contract extensions after what Charlie termed a “Jack Adams worthy season for the entire coaching staff”.
–Jeremy Jacobs also all but announced that the NHL Winter Classic will be held at Fenway Park on Jan. 1, 2010, but said that it’s ultimately an official announcement for the NHL. Basically, it’s up to the league to make the final call. Sources confirmed to WEEI.com months ago that the game would be at Fenway Park, and several reports have the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers as the two prospective teams challenging the Black and Gold on New Year’s Day.
Jacobs couldn’t contain his excitement when discussion moved to the sure-to-be event of the winter season in Boston next year.
“The Winter Classic is owned by the league and it’s their production, and therefore it is theirs to announce. I have to say that everything I’ve seen acts like, looks like, smells like it’s gonna be in Boston,” said Jacobs. “I don’t know anybody else that’s gone through the search and process that they’ve gone through. Traditionally the league announces (the Winter Classic) in July. From everything we can tell, it’s going to be the biggest classic ever.
“First of all I really want this in Boston. I think our fans want it and I think our environment wants it. I think it’ll be the biggest Winter Classic that they’ve ever had and I think it will be the most successful and most demanded. I also know that we’ll only be able to accommodate our season ticket holders at that point. So there’s going to be tremendous demand for tickets from corporate sponsors. I think it’s going to be a barnburner. I think it’s going to be tremendous if it happens. When they announce it sometime in July and when you see the rink going up at Fenway, then you can conclude that it’s going to happen.”
–Father and son both deemed the season a success despite a “bittersweet ending” to the campaign in Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes, and handed out a vote of confidence to the management, coaching staff and players currently dotting the organization’s roster.
“I was extremely proud of the management. I was extremely proud of the coaching. I don’t think anything was wanting in that group. They know that they have something to build on for next year, and they feel — as I feel — that they have an organization that can move forward and play a role in the Finals of the National Hockey League,” said Jacobs. “I hope and I believe that this was a growing experience for some of them. The expectations at the Stanley Cup level are obviously much higher than they are during the regular season.
“I think they are up for doing it. With all of the accolades that they got, I think that they felt they underachieved at the very end. I’m really proud. They had a great year and I’m awfully happy with what they got done.”
–Jacobs also opined that he didn’t think the salary cap was going to move significantly for the 2009-10 season, but that doesn’t seem to rule out a drop of $1-2 million within the cap for next season.
|Jacobs: Winter Classic at Fenway is “close” but not “finalized”||04.09.09 at 2:30 pm ET|
Responding to a report out of the Boston Herald that the Boston Bruins will play the 2010 Winter Classic outdoors at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day, Boston Bruins and Delaware North Companies Principal Charlie Jacobs stated in an email to WEEI.com this afternoon that nothing has yet been finalized to make the Jan. 1 hockey game a reality. Jacobs said that the classic is “close” to coming to Boston, but that nothing has been finalized by the parties involved.
‘Contrary to published reports, at this time we have not finalized plans for a Bruins game at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day,” wrote Jacobs in an email to WEEI.com. “It is no secret that I would love to bring The Winter Classic to the City of Boston ‘ and I have been working with the NHL to consider a number of venues in the area. We believe that we are close to accomplishing this. Bruins fans deserve to have an outdoor game, and we hope to deliver one to them in the near future.’
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Brad Marchand's Hot Streak a Big Reason for the Boston Bruins' Recent...
- Prospect Depth Allows BOS to Not Rush Pastrnak
- Seth Griffith Fitting in on the First Line with the Boston Bruins
- Bruins' Depleted Defense Returns to Reality in Loss to Wild
- Bruins' Patrice Bergeron Records 500th Career Point
- Bruins Players Dress Up as 'Frozen' Characters
- Looking at Bruins Defensive Pairings Without Chara