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KHL did not try to keep Zdeno Chara 01.09.13 at 11:48 am ET
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Speaking publicly for the first time since returning from the KHL on Tuesday and amidst speculation that KHL teams were making big financial pushes to keep NHL players from returning to their teams, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said Wednesday that he was not approached about staying in Europe.

“No,” Chara said after skating with teammates at Agganis Arena. “It was pretty clear in my contract that once the NHL is beginning or the deal [for a new CBA] is done, that I’m leaving. It depends on how the guys feel or how they want to decide what to do.”

Ilya Kovalchuk has been the most popular player whose future remains uncertain as the start of the NHL season draws near. Though he’s entering the third year of a 15-year, $100-million contract with the Devils, multiple reports have surfaced citing Devils sources who believe Kovalchuk will stay in the KHL. Islanders defensman Lubomir Visnovsky recently announced his intention to remain with HC Slovan Bratislava for the rest of the season rather than going back to the NHL.

“There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of uncertainty, but we’ll see,” Chara said of NHL players staying in the KHL. “I mean, what can I say? I can’t really make comments for them.”

Since forming in 2008, the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) has become the NHL’s primary competition as hockey leagues go.

“There are some really, really skilled guys there,” Chara said. “Players are very highly skilled as far as skating and handling he puck and making plays. I think it’s less physical, but skating-wise and skill-wise it’s a little bit different.”

Other new additions to Wednesday’s session at BU were alternate captains Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara,
Report: Chris Kelly headed to Switzerland 10.31.12 at 12:10 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Finnish sportswriter Matias Strozyk, Bruins center Chris Kelly has signed with HC Red Ice of the Swiss League.

Kelly becomes the third Bruin to head to Switzerland, as both Tyler Seguin (HC Biel) and Patrice Bergeron (HC Lugano) are in Switzerland for the lockout.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin,
News and notes from Wednesday’s conference call with Peter Chiarelli 06.13.12 at 8:01 pm ET
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Here are some of the takeaway bits from Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media today. For Wednesday’s column on what he and the players had to say about the Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell signings, click here.

– Chiarelli said that while he did not see Tim Thomas‘ Facebook post, nothing has changed on the Thomas front and the team still believes Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin will be the NHL goalies next season. Thomas heavily implied but did not flat-out say that he was taking the year off, and the Bruins have not heard from the netminder since.

– Asked about the status of restricted free agent Benoit Pouliot, Chiarelli offered no update on the team’s intentions but said a return for the 25-year-old is “a possibility.” Pouliot and Brian Rolston are the only two forwards from last year’s team that are not signed.

– The general manager confirmed that with all of the team’s centers locked up, the plan for Tyler Seguin is to keep him at right wing in the coming seasons. Seguin was drafted as a center after playing the position in the OHL, but the combination of the team’s depth and his getting familiar with the NHL has kept him at right wing for the vast majority of his two professional seasons.

“Kells is a center and [Rich Peverley] is a center and they’€™ve played wing, so for the short term, yes,” he said of Seguin staying at wing. “He’€™s had success at the wing, and short term may be one, two, three years. Who knows? At this point we don’€™t have any reason to put him to the middle.”

– Kelly’s deal won’t officially be signed until July 1 because of what Chiarelli called “payroll tagging issues.”

“It’€™s a salary cap thing,” he said. “It’€™s called tagging room about future commitments, and so because of that, we won’€™t be able to register until July 1st. Basically, it’€™s a formula based on salary cap and future commitments.”

Read More: Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Peter Chiarelli,
Report: Bruins re-sign Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell 06.11.12 at 6:34 pm ET
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According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Twitter, the Bruins have re-signed centers Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell to multi-year deals. McKenzie reports that Kelly’s deal is for four years and $12 million while Campbell will get three years and $4.8 million.

Kelly is coming off a career year offensively, as he reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career and put up a personal-best 39 points. He is an alternate captain for the Bruins, sharing the team’s second ‘A’ with Andrew Ference.

Campbell, who was acquired from Florida in the June 2010 trade that brought Nathan Horton to Boston, has totaled 45 over his two seasons with the B’s.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell,
Looking back and ahead: Chris Kelly 05.15.12 at 3:46 pm ET
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With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.

Chris Kelly

Age: 31

2011-12 stats: 82 games played, 20 goals (career high), 19 assists, 39 points (career-high), plus-33 (career-high)

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent ($2.125 million cap hit in 2011-12)

Looking back: Kelly entered the season coming off a playoff run in which he served as just one of the reasons as to why the Bruins had the depth to win the Stanley Cup (13 points in 25 games as the third-line center). The pace at which he put up points in the 2010-11 postseason was something he had never been able to maintain in the regular season, but he didn’t slow down a bit as the 2011-12 season began.

Kelly’s previous career-high for points in the regular season was 38, which he set back in 2006-07 as a member of the Senators. He surpassed that by one point this season, but the most notable number from his performance was that he reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career. It was a good time to do so, as the the 31-year-old’s career year happened to come in the final season of his contract.

While he was never extended and is set to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, the Bruins made clear how much they valued the center before the season started by having him share the ‘A’ formerly worn by Mark Recchi with Andrew Ference. That’s quite the destination for someone playing a veteran team given that this season was Kelly’s first full campaign as a member of the B’s after being acquired the previous February.

While Kelly spent the vast majority of the season serving as the team’s third line center (usually with the likes of Benoit Pouliot, Rich Peverley, Jordan Caron and Brian Rolston as his wings), his improved offensive production gave the Bruins flexibility when injures struck Claude Julien simply felt shakeups among the lines were in order. Kelly saw even saw some time as the team’s first line center (something that occurred as early as October 20). He also continued to play a major role on special teams, tying for the team lead with two shorthanded goals.

Looking ahead: The Bruins have a lot of other free agent forwards (Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Brian Rolston and the restricted Pouliot among them), but there’s no doubt that Kelly’s situation will have the biggest impact on Boston’s offense this offseason.

While seeing Kelly score 20 goals for the first time in his career is an encouraging sign, it made things very tricky for the Bruins, as the 20-goal-scorer label undoubtedly jacked up his price. Now, the Bruins have to decide whether they think they’ll be getting a consistent scorer out of Kelly before paying him like one.

Boston gave Peverley a three-year, $9.75 million contract extension during the regular season. It’s hard to say exactly what Kelly is seeking, but a contract with a salary cap hit similar to Peverley’s ($3.25 million annually), would seem to be a fair number for the veteran center. That would also be a $1 million raise from what he was getting, and with big contracts potentially upcoming for Tuukka Rask (restricted free agent this summer), Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand (all restricted at the end of next season), the B’s will need to be careful to not overspend. Still, with plenty of cap space this offseason, they will be able to afford Kelly with ease as long as they don’t plan on going after one of the big-name free agents such as Zach Parise or Ryan Suter, both of which would seem highly unlikely to happen.

For Kelly and the B’s, it’s just a matter of whether the sides will agree, and the guess here is that the B’s wouldn’t let Kelly go without a fight. Factor in that Kelly likes it here, and it seems the only thing that could prevent the sides from coming together is dollars and cents.

Read More: Chris Kelly,
Looking back and ahead: Rich Peverley 05.04.12 at 4:17 pm ET
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With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.

Rich Peverley

Age: 29

2011-12 stats: 57 games played, 11 goals, 31 assists, 42 points, plus-20

Contract status: Signed through 2014-15 ($3.25 million cap hit)

Looking back: The 2011-12 season was Peverley’s first full go of it in Boston after being acquired in February of 2011, but the season ended up being plagued by injuries.

First there was an undisclosed injury that caused the Bruins to give him practices and occasional games off, but the real damage was done when Peverley sprained his MCL on a hit from then-Habs defenseman Hal Gill on Feb. 15. That injury kept him out for the next 18 games, accounting for the majority of the 25 games he missed during the regular season.

Still, despite missing as much time as he did, Peverley surpassed the 41 points he had in 82 games in the 2010-11 season. His 31 assists were just two shy of his career-best from 2009-10 (also an 82-game campaign), while his 11 goals made for his lowest total since 2008-09 (two goals in 27 games). Generally moving around between the top three lines, Peverley gained experience playing with a lot of different guys, but such can be expected from a player with his versatility. He took over Nathan Horton‘s spot on David Krejci‘s line after Horton suffered his latest concussion.

The postseason was where Peverley really shined. In a round in which both teams were very quiet offensively, Peverley led the Bruins with three goals in their seven-game first-round series against the Capitals. He was Boston’s best player when the B’s faced elimination in Game 6, as he notched a goal and an assist while winning 13 of 24 faceoffs with Patrice Bergeron unable to take draws. He didn’t fare as well in Game 7, losing 15 of 26 draws.

Looking ahead: The Bruins were able to lock up Peverley, one of many Bruins who entered the season on the final year of their deals, in October with a three-year contract that carries an annual cap hit of $3.25 million. For the sake of comparison, that’s one more year and $250,000 less than Michael Ryder got from the Stars. Such a contract means that the expectations on Peverley will high in the coming seasons.

So what will justify Peverley’s contract? He’s only had one season with 50 or more points in his career (55 in 2009-10), and one would think the 29-year-old has a few more campaigns like that ahead of him.

Of course, and as was seen with Ryder in Dallas this past season, the points can be highly impacted with where he is in the lineup. Assuming Horton is healthy and both Krejci and Milan Lucic are back next season, it would appear that Peverley will be pencilled in on the third line to begin next season. Chris Kelly‘s status as an unrestricted free agent also will play a factor there, as Peverley could potentially take over as the third-line center should Kelly bolt in July.

Ultimately, health and opportunity will help determine whether Peverley makes the Bruins look smart for paying him. The B’s love versatility, and as a guy capable of playing on any of the top three lines (at wing or center), the power play and the penalty kill, Peverley provides obvious value to Claude Julien and the Bruins.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley,
When it mattered most, Tim Thomas turned back the clock to 2011 04.13.12 at 8:25 am ET
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For two periods, rookie goalie Braden Holtby stole the show.

Then Tim Thomas reminded him, the Capitals and everyone else that he is still one of the best clutch goalies in the game.

For two periods, Tim Thomas saw a grand total of seven shots. The second period was especially dull. He didn’t face a shot on net for the first 10 minutes of the period as the Bruins outshot the Caps, 17-2, for the stanza.

But then the Capitals came out for the third. They were a different group, intent on showing they can actually get a shot on net.

“More often than not, when your team outshoots the other team heavily for a couple of periods, whether you score or not, there’€™s usually a time period in the game where the tables turn, and I knew they were going to get their bursts sooner or later. So I was mentally prepared for that going into the third period.”

Just four minutes in, Thomas had to be ready as the Capitals were on a power play and Alex Ovechkin was in the low left circle when he skated in and fired a wrister on Thomas.

“It was a toe save,” Thomas said of his left foot save. “I know he likes that spot, generally, over there, but he’€™s been changing it up and going to different spots. I didn’€™t even think about Ovechkin until the pass happened. I was focusing on who made the pass, the left-handed guy who made the pass. I was trying to get to my angle to make sure that he couldn’€™t score. But when I did see the pass released in that direction, I very quickly realized where it was going and who it was going to, so I’€™d better get over there very fast, and fortunately it hit my toe.”

“When a goaltender doesn’€™t get a ton of shots, it becomes a challenge for him to mentally stay in the game, and even physically,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know, you don’€™t want to stiffen up; you want to stay warmed up, and sometimes goaltenders thrive on the more shots they get, the more they’€™re into the game. So I thought Tim did a great job of staying focused and staying sharp, and when he had to make those big saves, he made them, and that was nice to see, and that’€™s Tim. With the experience he’€™s had over the course of his career now, those things are starting to really show, and I thought he did a great job. It wasn’€™t an easy task for him tonight, and the shutout, although he had 17 shots, was well deserved because he stayed focused through the whole game.”

Then came his biggest save. Naturally, it came in overtime where any little mistake means game over. Just about a minute in, Marcus Johansson came down the left wing with only defenseman Greg Zanon in position to defend. Zanon did his job, giving Thomas a chance to see Johansson and make the game-saving stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Tim Thomas
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