|Bruins players react to Morris, Seidenberg trades||03.03.10 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A professional sports team is broken up into two parts: the front office who make the decisions and the players who actually do the competing. We have heard from the Bruins front office on Wednesday with the trade for Dennis Seidenberg and the departures of Derek Morris and Byron Bitz. For the players it is a different, more emotional type of day.
“There is still two-and-a-half hours left until the day is over,” Tim Thomas said. “But, it is meant to effect the team and hopefully it does so positively … I noticed [that there has been more nervousness in the locker room] a little bit. I noticed it yesterday, since yesterday was my first day back but I noticed it even a little bit before the break. I think there was some nervousness about it and you try your best not to think about it but that does not mean you do not think about it at all. It really does no good to think about it because no matter what way you think about it, it is not going to work out that way.”
Not many people would have suspected that the Bruins would ship out Morris and replace him with Seidenberg. Coupled with Bitz the Bruins have opened up some cap room to bring in a scoring forward later in the afternoon. There have been rumors of talks with the Blue Jackets about acquiring Raffi Torres but the cost might be a first round pick which would make it prohibitive for general manager Peter Chiarelli.
For the most part the Bruins players understand that the NHL is a business and that this team was probably looking at some type of shakeup at the deadline, but that does not mean they are numb to watching their teammates shipped out.
“Both the guys we lost were good teammates and good people,” Thomas said. “I had a lot in common with Derek and I had a lot in common with [Bitz]. They both played in the ECAC in hockey and are actually some of the only college graduates in here. It is sad to see them go but you just want to wish them the best wherever they end up being traded to.”
Defenseman Matt Hunwick learned a lot from Morris during his time in Boston.
“He was a big part, I think, in helping my game this year. I played with him in different stretches and he really added a calmness to my game. I think I really played my best hockey when I played with him and it is tough to lose a veteran defensemen that you look up to but things happen and you have to move on and remember the things that he told me and keep improving.”
As much as Morris has meant to Hunwick, the loss of Bitz touches a little closer considering that they were both first year professionals the same year with Providence and started their NHL careers with Boston last season.
“Well, it is tough,” Hunwick said. “Bitz is a great guy and someone who came up last year and helped this team and really earned his spot, that is for sure. It is always tough to see someone go especially us being first year pros together in Providence and being up last year. It is obviously tough to lose guys, especially guys who you have some history with.”
On the other end, the Bruins are acquiring a strong defenseman from the Panthers in Seidenberg who is comparable to Morris but plays a different game. Boston is familiar with Seidenberg as he was a top-four defensive pair with the Hurricanes during the playoffs last year.
“I thought he played excellent in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said. “Having said that I was focused on the puck most of the time. I was not focused so much on people … we brought him here, I am assuming, to make the team better so, I hope he can.”
Marco Sturm played with Seidenberg on the German Olympic team and knows him well.
“He is a good guy and a big strong guy, so, I think he will help us on the power play too,” Sturm said. “He has a pretty good shot, a heavy shot and blocks a lot of shots so I think he is a solid defenseman … I have known him a long time, we have played together on the national team.”
With the turnover today the Bruins have created some space under the cap. Chiarelli is still looking for a forward and for his part, Sturm does not think the Bruins are done dealing yet.
“I don’t think it was a surprise that [defensemen were traded], well, maybe a surprise that it was [Morris] but we still needed a defenseman,” Sturm said. “I still think we are not done yet.”
|Morris reacts to Coyotes trade||at 11:54 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Derek Morris has confirmed that he has indeed been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes this morning by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. Morris said that he had a no-trade clause in his contract that he would only waive to rejoin the Coyotes where he played last season and owns a house. The Bruins acquired a conditional draft pick from Phoenix and freed up the remainder of Morris’s $3.3 million dollar contract he signed with the team last season.
“It has been a process over the last few days and I came here this morning and I got a call this morning from the office, from [Chiarelli] that is was going to be done and it is all done now,” Morris said.
Morris was contacted over the weekend about waiving his no-trade clause that would send him to Phoenix but the discussions were a back and forth to the point where Morris was told as early as yesterday that he would be staying in Boston.
“Yeah, I was. I was told that I wasn’t going to be traded,” Morris said. “But, you will have to ask [Chiarelli] those questions. I am obviously disappointed to leave Boston, you know? My kids are playing hockey in Charlestown and there are good people there. Once you get to Boston you realize why people stick around Boston. The people in this place are down rooted, good, wholesome people so I am disappointed to leave this place.”
At the same time, Morris does not mind going back to the American Southwest for the rest of the season.
“Yeah, the weather is nice. I am really excited to go back to Phoenix. They’ve got an amazing coach there,” Morris said. “Once this all is all done with I will be excited too.”
Morris said that he hopes the Bruins make the playoffs and would love to see a Boston/Phoenix Stanley Cup. Forgoing that unlikely scenario, Morris said he hopes Boston can win. He said the Bruins group of players is a special mix and he will miss his teammates.
“You just take to these guys,” Morris said. “These are a really good group of guys in here that really get along and really enjoy each other and like each other a lot. It was a fun locker room to come into and a tough one to leave … Obviously it is shock a little bit. You never expect to be traded and you don’t expect. Obviously disappointed more than anything.”
Morris said that he would love to be with the Coyotes tomorrow in Colorado but does not know what his immediate plans are.
|Bruins deal Morris to Phoenix||at 10:53 am ET|
The Bruins confirmed late Wednesday morning they have traded defenseman Derek Morris to the Phoenix Coyotes for a conditional pick [reportedly fourth round] in 2011. The NHL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET.
The Bruins signed the 31-year-old Morris as a free agent before this season. He played in 58 games for the Bruins, scoring three goals and recording 22 assists with 26 penalty minutes.
He would be returning to Phoenix, where he played from 2003-09. He actually played 83 games in an 82-game season in 03-04 when he played the first 69 games with Colorado before a trade landed him in Phoenix for the final 14 games of the Coyotes’ season.
He would be heading to a team destined for the playoffs as Phoenix is fourth in the Western Conference with 79 points. Morris has appeared in the postseason just twice in his 12 NHL seasons, with Colorado in 2009 and last year with the New York Rangers.
|Bruins breakdown: The top pair||02.25.10 at 2:00 pm ET|
The breakdown at the break continues and this time we are moving onto the men commissioned with keeping pucks away from the crease. Since Claude Julien took over behind the bench for Boston defense has been the name of the game in The Hub. Considering the Bruins scoring woes this year the only thing that has kept them in contention has been their ability to limit opponents chances.
Boston is fourth in the league in goals against with 2.42 and one of the reasons behind this is that its captain, Zdeno Chara, happens to be the reigning Norris Trophy winner. If a high tide raises all ships then a towering defenseman buoys all blue liners. We will also take a look at his partner, Derek Morris.
Note – Slight change in schedule. Will be doing the top defensive pairing Thursday then the other two pairings on Friday.
Chara — The questions about Chara are two-fold. One, how is he so good? Two, how do you quantify how good he actually is?
The first question has an easy answer — at 6-foot 9-inches and 255 pounds he is physically dominant on the ice. He skates well, has a long stick that he employs judiciously and, for the most part, has good positioning. Watch Chara play and it is easy to see why he is one of the best. Quantifying his play with advanced statistics is a little harder.
|Bruins hit practice with help on the way||01.25.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A Bruins fan taped a sign to the bleachers at the Bruins practice facility at Ristuccia Arena Monday morning that read: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom,” — General George Patton. Monday’s practice was spirited from the get-go, with coach Claude Julien running full ice drills early as he tries to keep his team focused through this extended slump during which time Boston has dropped from the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference to the ninth.
The B’s hope that when they take to the ice for Friday’s game in Buffalo that the team will have a couple of key forwards back in the fold. With three more full practices before then, the Bruins have some housekeeping to take care of as they try to bounce back from this horrendous stretch of losses.
“Today was just things you have to do, things that you have to work on,” defenseman Derek Morris said. “It is going to be a long week of practice. We have to forget about those ones behind us and worry about the ones coming up. Win three, four, five games in a row and we are back up there in fifth moving our way back up. Everybody is kind of counting us out. We are not out yet and we are getting some guys back, we are getting healthy and we just have to worry about the next one.”
Speaking of getting healthy, Marc Savard was slotted into a line with Miroslav Satan and Daniel Paille. It was the first time since he sustained his injury that he has participated in full practice activities with linemates. He is still wearing a brace on his injured knee but says that he does not think about it much.
“It was a good test for it, got a little tired towards the end, but other than that, it felt strong,” Savard said. “Did everything, did the battle drills toward the end, felt good skating, hands felt good. Hopefully this time around I can be more of a presence when I get back.”
Savard said it definitely has been frustrating to watch his teammates and not be able to help out. At the same time, he is making sure that when he does come back that he will be an effective member of the team.
“It seems like when it rains, it pours. It is an old saying, but it seems that is what is happening right now,” Savard said. “Perhaps we just have to get the first goal in a game. We have a good week of preparation this week and we will keep on working until Friday.”
Byron Bitz rejoined practice for the first time since the Bruins came back from their three-game California trip.
“Feel good, full practice today. Stayed out the whole time. Hopefully it keeps progressing,” Bitz said. Bitz now has skated three days in a row and is shooting for Friday as his return date. “Third day in a row now on the ice, [the stamina] is coming back. Only had a week off so you don’t lose too much in that time, and we have three more practices to recover.”
Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, both who have been listed as day-to-day for the last week, did not skate and continue to be on the watch list. Julien does not know when to expect them on the ice and says that he can only go off what the training staff tells him.
“Just to clarify things, we have had players who we were saying were day-to-day, and those guys were day-to-day,” Julien said. “Sometimes day-to-day becomes a week situation. If I had known they would have been out for a week, I would have told you. Right now, Marco is still day-to-day but the hope is that he is going to start skating this week. That is all I can tell you right now.”
Here is the list of participation by sweater color:
Grey — Michael Ryder, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler.
Yellow — Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic.
White – Satan, Savard, Paille.
Red — Shawn Thornton (left early), Vladimir Sobotka, Bitz.
Bright Red — Drew Larman, Trent Whitfield.
Defense — Zdeno Chara, Morris, Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman, Johnny Boychuck, Mark Stuart, Adam McQuaid.
Goaltenders – Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask.
|Paille heads home for some clean clothes||10.26.09 at 12:59 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After helping the Bruins penalty kill turn things around in their last three games, winger Daniel Paille was missing from Monday morning’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. No injury for the gritty former Buffalo Sabres forward, however, as Paille was allowed to travel back to his home in the Buffalo area to pick up his belongings and tie up the loose ends of life after last week’s trade.
“He just went back home to get his stuff,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He came with a suitcase from Florida, so we thought we’d send him home to get his stuff.”
*A lot of talk about the Bruins simplifying their efforts during the last handful of games, and now the results are flowing for the B’s while taking five of their last six available points. Derek Morris got off to an inconsistent start, but he’s put things together during their recent stretch and now leads Bruins defensemen with a goal and 6 assists. The blueliner has looked very much like the puck-moving, offense-minded guy that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had in mind when the team inked him to a $3.3 million contract this summer.
“We all had a meeting and we talked about it. We said we can sit here and make excuses for why we’re losing games, but the fact of the matter is it’s not going to help us. We’re not going to have [Savard, Lucic] for at least a couple of weeks,” said Morris. “I think we’ve simplified our game a little bit, and we’ve worked harder and simpler because of it. We’ve been rewarded because of it.”
*Mark Recchi didn’t want to talk much about being named to the four-person NHLPA subcommittee charged with the task of investigating the Paul Kelly firing and the circumstances surrounding the exec director’s quick removal. Recchi has been one of the more vocal individual players against the hasty action by his union, and the 41-year-old said that things are player union dealings will be handled behind closed doors from this point going forward.
Recchi joins Rob Blake, Chris Chelios, and Nicklas Lidstrom on the four-person investigative body, and intends to roll up his sleeves and get the union headed in the correction direction after a tumultuous last few months.
“We’re going to have things to go over, but we’re really not going to comment on it,” said Recchi. “It’s going to be done quietly. We’ve got a lot to review and a lot to go over. The players have emplaced a lot of trust in us, and we intend to reward them for that. It’s a huge [responsibility]. This is an important time for our union, and we need to — for once and for all — get our things in order.”
|Morris has been a dead-on power play hit||10.06.09 at 3:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It wasn’t a common sight last season, but there was at least one Bruins practice that involved the Boston defensemen corps firing pucks through bright orange traffic cones.
The traffic cones were placed near the right and left point areas in the attack zone, and the drill was designed to achieve pinpoint accuracy on the all-important power play blasts. The big gun shots from the B’s defensemen are oft-times the trigger to jolting Boston’s man advantage attack. With that in mind, there were times when a normally mighty power play lost some of it’s bite for the B’s last season when those point shots were nudged a little too far off the mark.
It wasn’t the sheer power of the long-range bids because guys like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman have slappers capable of obliterating glass behind the net — with the assistance of some good wood, of course. But there were times when the shot would fade wide to either side, or an aggressive penalty kill would smother a shot with one brave sacrificial body.
“That’s the one thing that we lacked last year. At times we really had some trouble getting our shots through,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “Teams are blocking shots and getting into the shooting lanes, and its getting harder to get shots off.”
Despite the intermittent bouts of wildness with their point shots, the Bruins still boasted a 23.6 percent power play success rate, and ranked fourth in the entire NHL. Only the high-powered units in Detroit, Washington and San Jose ranked higher last season.
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