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Flyers have plenty of motivation vs. team that eliminated them 10.06.11 at 1:38 pm ET
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By now the cliche about how teams will come out harder against the Bruins because they’re Stanley Cup champions has been used plenty, but there may be no better case of that than Thursday.

The Bruins will be facing the team they eliminated with an easy sweep in the second round last spring when they open the season Thursday against the Flyers. The Bruins’ steamrolling over the Flyers could be considered among the reasons the Flyers blew it up in the offseason, trading captain Mike Richards as well as leading goal-scorer Jeff Carter.

On Thursday, the remaining members of that team, as well as the newcomers, will have to watch the Bruins raise their championship banner in a wild environment at TD Garden. If that can’t motivate a team on opening night, nothing can.

“It’s opening night, so people are jacked up,” defenseman and alternate captain Andrew Ference said after the Bruins’ morning skate. “I think there’s always more concentration on your own team than there is on what’s going on on the other side. Obviously, they want to ruin the party. That’s a no-brainer.”

Ference has plenty of experience being the “other team” at a team’s banner-raising ceremony. He actually made his NHL debut in Dallas against the Stars when they raised their Stanley Cup champions banner in 1999. The Bruins were the Ducks’ opponent for Anaheim’s home opener in 2007, so Ference has twice been a visitor at a banner-raising.

“I can remember a lot more from the Anaheim game, because for the Dallas one, my head was spinning around,” Ference recalled. “It’s an opening night. Team opening nights are a little bit crazier. You wait a little longer in the room for all the pageantry to get done with. You’re mentally prepared for it.”

Players in the Bruins’ room could imagine the Flyers would be motivated to come out harder against the team that ended their season. Guys like David Krejci discussed the importance of focusing on themselves, but Ference noted that given the rivalry that has existed between the two teams, Thursday would be a challenge one way or another.

“Even if we didn’t [eliminate them], it’s a Flyers-Bruins game,” Ference said. “Philly’s always gong to come in and give you a heck of a game. Especially at the start of the season, that’s when you see the crazy hockey. You see some of the big scorers and the seesawing of teams trying to find out who they are. After Thanksgiving, it kind of settles down a bit, but the start of the season is always a little bit crazy.

“You never know what to expect, and it’s usually pretty fun for highlight sand real energetic games. Not always the tightest systems, so no matter if it’s Philly or whoever, we’re going to have tough games and have to be on our toes for all of them.”

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David Krejci doesn’t know who Justin DiBenedetto is 09.23.11 at 10:17 pm ET
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Bruins first-line center David Krejci received a fighting major late in Friday night’s preseason game, and no, Benoit Pouliot was not involved.

After Krejci hit an Islanders player along the boards, he was jumped by Islanders youngster Justin DiBenedetto, and after a brief tussle in which Krejci never dropped his gloves, both players were handed five-minute majors.

“I had my helmet on, my gloves on. I just got jumped from behind, and that was it,” Krejci said, noting that his hit was clean. “He fell on me, and I didn’t have a chance to do anything. I don’t even want to fight. It’s a preseason game. Come on, it’s the first game back. I want to get my timing. I don’t even know what the — who the guy is, to tell you the truth.

“I don’t know who that kid is,” he added. “I understand he’s battling for a spot on the roster. I understand that, but I don’t want to comment on that. I don’t know that kid. I don’t think I’ve ever played against him before, so we’ll see what happens.”

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Joe Corvo had same groin injury last year, David Krejci leaves practice 09.21.11 at 1:03 pm ET
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Joe Corvo

WILMINGTON — Bruins center David Krejci was the latest player to leave the ice with a tight groin, as he did not finish Wednesday’s practice. Coach Claude Julien revealed that a tight groin was also the reason for Joe Corvo’s exit during the first period of Tuesday’s black and white scrimmage.

“[Corvo] had a tight groin, so before anything happened, we pulled him out and we’re giving him a little bit of rest,” Julien said. “Krejci did the same thing today. We told him to get off the ice, so it’s jut a typical training camp thing that happens. We’re being more cautious than we are being risky.”

As it relates to Corvo, Julien hit the nail on the head with the “typical training camp thing that happens” part. The veteran blueliner dealt with the same groin issue in last year’s training camp, but said that his experience with it is that it goes away quickly with rest and lots of icing.

“It’s something that I had last year too in camp,” Corvo told WEEI.com Wednesday. “It’s just the groin’s tired. It’s kind of telling me to pull back a little bit and give it a couple days rest. I’m sure it will be fine tomorrow.”

Corvo said he experienced pain in the groin after changing directions during his second or third shift of the scrimmage. Neither Krejci nor Corvo will play in Wednesday’s preseason opener, though Krejci was already not in the lineup prior to the injury.

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David Krejci looking ahead to hockey, not his next contract 09.16.11 at 1:50 pm ET
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David Krejci is entering the final year of his contract and has communicated a message to his agent.

David Krejci will be a restricted free agent after this season. (AP)

“I told him to leave me alone,” the Bruins’ first-line center said Friday after fitness testing at TD Garden.

Krejci is set to be a restricted free agent at season’s end, as he is in the last season of the three-year, $11.25 million deal he signed after the 2008-09 season. He likes Boston and would be happy with a new deal, but he made it clear that he doesn’t want to think about one until the sides agree.

“If there’s going to be some talk, [agent Larry Kelly]‘s going to keep it to himself, and when he thinks there’s a good deal for me or something, he’ll let me know and I’ll decide. I told him to leave me alone. He knows that from my other contract. I’m going to be focused for a good start, and what happens happens.”

The 25-year-old led all postseason players with 12 goals over the Bruins’ championship run. As such, he’s focused on continuing the success that brought the Stanley Cup to Boston as apposed to worrying about the value of his next deal.

“Obviously, it’s nice that you make a living doing what you love to do, but that’s not why I play hockey,” Krejci said. “I started playing hockey when I was a kid because I loved it, and I still love it. What happens happens. If they’re going to offer me a deal, [general manager Peter Chiarelli] is going to talk to my agent, then he’s going to let me know and we’ll see what happens.”

A Boston Globe report recently stated that talks have opened between Krejci’s agent and the Bruins. Krejci showed he wasn’t kidding about asking to be left out of the loop, as he said Friday that the report was the first he’d heard of the sides talking.

“The first time I heard about it was when I saw on the internet that they’ve opened discussions. That was the first time I’d heard about it,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about it at all this summer. I’m not going to be talking about it this season either. I’m just going to have a good year, help the team get to the playoffs. … That’s where my mind is right now.”

While Krejci’s mind is on hockey, he’s also happy with where he is physically. Krejci spent the offseason following the 2009-10 working his way back from a wrist injury that both ended his playoffs and required surgery. Now coming off a completely healthy season and a relaxing offseason, Krejci is both refreshed and ready to start all over again.

“That was the best summer I’ve had in a long time, maybe in my life,” he said. “I know it was short. [The two years previous to last year] I had some injuries, so I had to do some rehabs and stuff. This one was short, but it was pretty good.”

Krejci had 13 goals in the regular season last year and 49 assists, with his 62 points making it the second highest total o his career. He had 73 in the 2008-09 season.

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Tomas Kaberle brings Stanley Cup to Czech Republic 07.20.11 at 3:42 pm ET
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When David Krejci and his Bruins teammates arrived in the Czech Republic to begin what would end up being a championship season, the best he could offer was taking fellow players out for goulash. As the video below shows, what he and Tomas Kaberle have brought this time is a bit shinier, and contains far less calories.

(On that first video, what is that at 0:35? Did the Winnipeg Jets make a draft pick on this trip?)

The Cup is on its European swing now, with Kaberle up first. Krejci will have his day on Thursday, with captain Zdeno Chara getting two days with the trophy on Friday and Saturday. Tuukka Rask will have it Sunday and Monday before it heads back to North America.

As Bruins PR man Eric Tosi tweeted, the defenseman signed autographs and took pictures with fans for over five hours and didn’t stop until all who showed up were accomodated. That’s hardly surprising that Kaberle would do such a thing, as his kindness was not on the list of things in question during his time in Boston.

For the list of where the Cup has been and is set to go, click here.

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Peter Chiarelli: Bruins letting Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder test market 06.30.11 at 12:42 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with the media Thursday in anticipation of the NHL’s free agency period opening Friday. The Bruins have two players set to hit unrestricted free agency in winger Michael Ryder and defenseman Tomas Kaberle. The GM said that ties have not been severed with either player, but that the B’s likely won’t be active in the early stages of free agency.

“Certainly theres no finality to our relationship,” Chiarelli said of Kaberle. “What we’ve agreed to with Tomas and his agent is that he would look into the market and we would continue to talk with him. … Let me be perfectly clear, there’s no end to the relationship because we haven’t signed him to this point.”

Chiarelli noted that if the Bruins are unable to retain Kaberle, he will look both in-house and elsewhere for his replacement on the Bruins’ blue line.

He also indicated that the B’s are taking the same approach with Ryder, and that if the players take deals with other teams, the Bruins are willing to accept that fate.

“I’m wary of the market and where it stands now,” Chiarelli said. “I said, ‘Look guys, go out there, see what’s going on and let’s continue to talk.’ The risk that we run is that they get a deal and then they can’t come back to us, and I understand that risk. That’s where those two guys stand.”

Depending on what the B’s do with Ryder, Kaberle, restricted free agent Brad Marchand and what happens with Marc Savard, the team could be in good standing with the league’s salary cap (set for $64.3 million next season). Despite the fact that they should have money to spend, allocating resources to multiple years could make things difficult for the Bruins, as both David Krejci and Tuukka Rask will see their current contracts expire after the coming season. Tyler Seguin‘s deal is up in two years, and one would have to assume all three players will see increases in pay.

“It certainly impacts it,” Chiarelli said of knowing they have future raises to give. “I’m a little wary of the market, first and foremost. The cap is high, and the cap is certainly going to come down in some shape or form, so generally speaking, I’m wary of the market and where I think it may be going.

“Two, and a close two, is that we do have guys that we warrant to re-sign, and they’re going to command raises. I’m really not in a position to go out and give a guy a big-term contract. I think thwart we can find that help elsewhere other than a big-term contract and still be in a good position to re-sign our guys as they come up the next year or two.”

The Bruins qualified restricted free agents Marchand, Andrew Bodnarchuk and Stefan Chaput. Chiarelli said that negotiations with Marchand have not yet begun.

The GM also said that the team will not re-sign defenseman Shane Hnidy, who served as a healthy scratch/depth player during the stretch run and postseason. Hnidy, 35, played three games in both the regular season and postseason.

“We’ve told Shane that we aren’t re-signing him,” Chiarelli said. “I think he’ll be a good addition somewhere else, and I told him that. Certainly I’d help him along the way for that.”

As for whether the list of Bruins’ targets may be shrinking, Chiarelli admitted that some players have been taken out of consideration in recent days. The rights of players set to hit free agency have been traded, which may factor into that.

“I have a big whiteboard in my office and I have our interest list and I have our secondary list,” he said. “Yes, there are names knocked off. Just because they’re on our interest list doesn’t mean we’re going to go off and sign them, but certainly we’re going to explore them. And I’ve crossed off names.”

One thing that came up time and time again was Chiarelli noting how “wary” of the market he was. He assessed the crop as being less than outstanding, which may be a reason why he would have reservations about making a big splash.

“I look at my board and I see the number of players and the quality of players,” he said. “And the numbers may be the same, [but] the quality is … there’s just not the high end players. Then of course you’ve got the floor of the cap and teams have to spend, so you’re going to get contracts I think that, maybe that, they’re generally higher in the unrestricted market, but I even think they’ll be that added premium because teams have to spend. … That’s why I’m a little cautious going into this market. There’s not the supply that there normally is, and I think the demand is greater because of the cap floor and teams have to spend.”

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What will the Bruins do with the ninth pick? 06.24.11 at 3:14 am ET
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As the world continues to have a laugh over pictures of Brad Marchand and the Bruins’ bar tab (did you hear they had a $100,000 bottle of champagne?) to the point where the dead horse couldn’t possibly take another blow, the Stanley Cup champions are getting ready to add a potential franchise player.

Will Peter Chiarelli land another star in the making? (AP)

The B’s will pick ninth overall in Friday’s NHL draft, finally closing the book on the Phil Kessel trade as they add one of the top players in a draft widely considered to be a notch below that of last year’s. Given that Toronto’s selection is slotted ninth, it’s safe to say the B’s will add one Central Scoutings’ highest-rated players.

Here are the top 15 skaters in this year’s draft accoriding to Central Scouting.

1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL)
2. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
3. Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
4. Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)
5. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
6. Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
7. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL)
8. Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
9. Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
10. Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
11. Vladislav Namestnikov, C, London (OHL)
12. Joseph Morrow, D, Portland (WHL)
13. Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (Hockey East)
14. Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
15. Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)

And the top five European skaters:

1. Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden)
2. Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (Sweden)
3. Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden)
4. Joel Armia, RW, Assat (Finland)
5. Dmitrij Jaskin, RW, Slavia (Czech Republic)

Of course, Central Scouting isn’t everything, as we saw last year. The top-ranked player (Tyler Seguin) went second overall, and it looks like the Hurricanes weren’t crazy when they drafted the 34th-ranked North American skater (Jeff Skinner) seventh overall.

Whoever the Bruins take with the ninth pick (assuming, as Peter Chiarelli indicated Thursday, they stay put), don’t expect him to be in Boston next season. Chiarelli told reporters in Minnesota that based on the players he expected to be on the board at No. 9, the player the B’s select will not be NHL ready. That means bad news for Seguin, who jokingly expressed hope on breakup day that someone else could be “the kid” next season and that everyone would be on the draft pick’s case instead of his.

Chiarelli said his intention is to draft the best available player, and given that this draft is top-heavy when it comes to defense, that player may be a blueliner. Picking defense would give the B’s a blue-chipper in an area in which it organizationally does not have a sure-fire star in the making, and it would also be somewhat of a deviation for Chiarelli. The highest the Bruins’ GM has selected a defenseman was 35th overall, when the B’s traded up in the second round to grab Tommy Cross 35th overall.

If the B’s spend the ninth pick on a defenseman, you can bet your bippy the Tomas Kaberle rumors will swirl, and there will obviously be two easy arguments. If the team has a young puck-mover (we’ll get to the players below) with star potential a year or two away, perhaps they could try to go with Steven Kampfer next season (and beyond) and let Kaberle walk. On the other hand, the Bruins happen to have just won the Stanley Cup, and the Vezina winner isn’t getting any younger. There isn’t much of a window closing for the Bruins given that they are good and young both offensively and behind Tim Thomas (remember Tuukka Rask?), but they certainly want to win now.

With all that being said, here are some of the guys who have been common Bruins’ selections in mock drafts and/or might make sense for the B’s at No. 9:

Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 166 pounds
2010-11 stats: 63 games, 26 G, 53 A, 79 P, 36 PIM

An offensive-minded defenseman, Murphy’s 26 goals were the most among OHL blueliners this past season. Considered a plus-skater and strong passer, he could eventually offer more than the Bruins are currently getting out of Kaberle on the power play. The Bruins certainly showed in the Kaberle deal that a defenseman who can help the offense is a priority, so landing one for the long term would be a wise move if Murphy is still on the board. Given that he’s ranked 9th by Central Scouting among North American skaters, it could be close. Murphy is also a right-handed shot. The Bruins’ blue line was lefty-dominant last season, with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid (and, at points, Kampfer) the only righty defensemen in the lineup.

Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 174 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 12 G, 33 A, 45 P, 52 PIM

Beaulieu is another strong-skating defenseman, though his speed won’t get confused with that of Murphy. He still brings an impressive offensive skill set to the blue line, and he certainly offers more size than Murphy. He would most certainly be the puck-moving defenseman of the future if the B’s were to select him.

Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 33 G, 73 A, 106 P, 82 PIM

Another center? With the Bruins, you never know. You have to figure that Seguin will eventually become a full-time center once he’s done being eased in, but there are enough question marks in the future to make selecting a center not seem so crazy. Excluding Marc Savard given all the uncertainty, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin are the only pivots signed past next season (David Krejci will be a restricted free agent, while Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell will be unrestricted).

Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
Height/weight: 6-foor-2, 192 pounds
2010-11 stats: 72 games, 5 G, 38 A, 43 P, 121 PIM

The bulkiest of the blueliners featured in this sample, many things you read about about Siemens will suggest he’s behind some of the other defensemen in this draft as far as both development and potential go. Still, he’s strong, and though he doesn’t bring the same bells and whistles that guys like Murphy and Beaulieu do, he could still be a welcome presence on Claude Julien’s blue line eventually.

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