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Players more educated, but no more confident after returning from New York 09.14.12 at 2:12 pm ET
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A look from inside the NHLPA meetings. (Henrik Lundqvist via Twitter)

WILMINGTON — Two-hundred-eighty-three players left this week’s NHLPA meetings in New York without any promising news about the start of the season, but they came away from the meetings a heck of a lot smarter.

It isn’t exactly easy to understand the nuts and bolts of the league’s labor dispute as the owners and NHLPA try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, so players who entered the meetings as confused as the next guy at least left them a bit educated.

“I was taking notes,” Tyler Seguin said on Friday. “Obviously there’s a lot of stuff I’m not going to understand. We do the meetings and obviously I’m not going to get into much detail, but then we split up into our teams and talk about it amongst ourselves and our questions. It was good. I learned a lot. Going into that, I don’t think I knew too much about HRR [hockey-related revenue] or anything like that and all the percentages and statistics, but I know a lot more about it now.”

Dennis Seidenberg said that while the meetings were beneficial given the unity the players showed and the things they learned, he doesn’t see any more reason for optimism now than he did before.

“The feeling is it hasn’t really changed much,” the defenseman said. “We were hoping that going to New York, we’d get some news in a positive way, but the main thing we did was get educated on what’s going on and what our proposal looks like and how we’re going forward from here. Other than that, not much has changed.”

Said Gregory Campbell: “I think it’s important to go to those meetings and definitely get the knowledge on what’s going on. As players, it’s really important to be informed. It’s one thing to hear it on the phone or hear it from somebody else, but to actually go there and really be informed — this is our livelihood, so we really have to make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

The owners are set to lock the players out at midnight on Saturday. A vote led by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs yielded unanimous agreement for the move on Thursday.

“Going to New York was probably a good idea at this point in time, just because with this date looming, I guess it seems like the inevitable that there will be a lockout,” Campbell said. “We all have to be in the right frame of mind if and when this happens.”

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Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line 06.26.12 at 6:14 pm ET
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Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was at Fenway Tuesday to take in a Red Sox game, and he took a few minutes to talk to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:

On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:

“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.

“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”

On the team giving three-year deals to line mates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille:

“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”

On the chemistry between fourth-liners:

“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”

On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:

“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”

Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.

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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.”

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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.

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Gregory Campbell on Game 7: ‘It’s where big players show up’ 04.24.12 at 11:20 am ET
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Big players show up in big games.

It’s one of the time-tested adages used to describe Game 7.

But early on in those winner-take-all contests, it can sometimes be a bit player, or two, or three, who give the stars time to get their legs under them.

Certainly, that was the case in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last June when Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton all came out guns blazing in the opening minutes, taking the play to the Canucks and setting the tempo so that the Sedin twins couldn’t get going.

“I think it’s important to really play on your toes,” Campbell said. “With a line ours, that’s our job, is to provide that energy, so in situations like Game 7, if you’re a little bit tentative, it’s usually not going to serve you well. We’re a high energy line, high energy players. In situations like Game 7, every play matters so much, there’s so much pressure on every play, it’s best almost better not to think and just use your instincts and that’s what we try to do.”

That’s what they did in Game 5 against the Caps on Saturday, when Thornton threw his weight around in the offensive zone with a couple of heavy forechecks. Moments later, the Bruins had goals 28 seconds apart to tie the game.

“I think for Game 7s, what I’ve learned so far in my short playoff career, it’s got to be a balance,” Campbell said. “You have to be ready. Game 7s are usually the most intense game obviously, because everything’s on the line. You have to control your emotions. You have to walk that line where you’re ready to go, your energy and enthusiasm is high. But if you can make plays under pressure obviously, it’s a pressure-packed situation. It’s usually the team that can make those plays and perform under pressure is the team that wins.

“Execute the game plan. It’s one thing to be excited and rightfully so, it is an exciting time of year. It doesn’t get any better than Game 7, whether it’s the first round or the finals. It’s where big players show up and to be a big player in Game 7 you have to have that balance of energy and excitement mixed with poise and confidence and be able to execute plays.”

Now, the Bruins have Game 7 on their home ice for the third time in their last four winner-take-all contests. Does it matter to Campbell and the Bruins?

“It’s something we work hard for all year long and I think you have to put some importance on having home ice advantage and working hard for it,” Campbell said. “I guess Game 7s, they’re something we as a team like. We keep putting ourselves in that situation. They’re fun to play in. Obviously, the stakes are pretty high and it comes down to a one-game series. We have to be as prepared as possible. It’s been a close series so far and we expect nothing but the same for Game 7.”

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Chemistry, Class: Gregory Campbell happy to see Shawn Thornton sticking around 03.19.12 at 2:33 pm ET
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Defensemen have defensive partners and forwards have linemates, but if there was such a term as “offensive partner,” it would describe Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton‘s roles.

Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton have played together since Campbell arrived in Boston. (AP)

Thornton, who was given a two-year contract extension over the weekend, has certainly left his mark on Campbell’s career, and Campbell knows it. The veteran center came to Boston as part of the Nathan Horton trade after playing the first six seasons of his career with the Panthers. He played on different lines in his time in Florida, but when he came to Boston, he established something with Thornton that has kept the two together from Day 1. He’d never been essentially tied to another player the way he is with Thornton, and he’s proud to be one third of one of the best fourth lines in the NHL. To him, Thornton makes that possible.

“No. I mean, no,” Campbell said when asked whether he had played with anyone in Florida as much as he’s played with Thornton. “I played with Radek Dvorak I think maybe for two years, but not as constantly as almost on a shift-by-shift basis with Thorty.

“It’s a role that I’m happy to play and he’s happy to play, as part of the depth on this team. It’s not too often that you throw out four lines, and obviously he’s a big part of the fourth line, and his role is interchanging all the time. I think that that position, that … combination in the league is not very common any more, where you have a guy that’s obviously very physical and can fight, but that can play. That’s why he’s valued so much.”

Likely due to the fact that his extension has yet to be announced by the team, the always-accessible Thornton was not available to the media. With Thornton not present to speak, it’s no surprise Campbell was happy to share his delight with the news that the veteran enforcer will be sticking around for two more seasons.

“When your play against Thorty, it’s evident to see that he’s a hard-working guy, but once you’re on his team, you realize how important he is to the team, not only on the ice but off the ice [with] the leadership that he brings and the professionalism that he has every day. He has a hard job,” Campbell said. “I mean, there’s not too many guys in the league that can do what he does physically and also contribute not he score sheet once in a while. He’s a good player. I think he’s a real big part of this team, and it obviously shows with them giving him [a new contract].”

The Merlot Line, as Thornton dubbed it based on its burgundy-colored practice jerseys, has consisted of Thornton, Campbell and someone else for the last two seasons. Brad Marchand started on the trio before moving on to bigger and better things with Patrice Bergeron, and Daniel Paille took over from there.

While many teams don’t give significant minutes to fourth-liners, it was the Merlot Line that changed the momentum of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, as the trio of Campbell, Thornton and Paille turned in a big shift that broke up a much stronger start from the Canucks.

When Paille was hurt earlier this month against the Islanders, the B’s had to play defenseman Mike Mottau with Campbell and Thornton. The chemistry developed between the two is so strong that almost anyone could play on that other wing and it will work.

“I think we take pride in our job and our role,” Campbell said. “Sometimes it changes, depending on the game or whatever it may be. I think Thorty and I just have to be a reliable pair, whether there’s injuries or whatnot, we’ve been fortunate enough to be in the lineup for this long, and not being injured or whatever. I think it’s important for us to be that solid pair that can be relied up upon by the coaches and play different roles.”

As the Bruins have slowly shortened their list of free-agents to be, Campbell has seen his teammates get their new deals one by one. Whether or not his comes next remains to be seen, but Campbell doesn’t want to leave.

“Of course it’s where I want to be,” he said with a laugh as if to dismiss the notion of anything else. “This is a great place to play, a great organization and a successful one. Every player wants to play where they’ve had success and there’s more success to come. The important thing now for us, it’s really nice to see those guys get those extensions … but the important thing is focusing on playing and not the other stuff.”

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Gregory Campbell: ‘We’re just going to have to do it the hard way again’ 03.17.12 at 5:37 pm ET
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Anyone in attendance Saturday could most certainly sense the urgency from the Bruins from the opening puck drop with the Flyers. The Bruins have slumped big time in the last two months, falling out of first place in the Northeast Division, heading into their game against Philly. A win would put them a point back ahead of Ottawa, at least for the time being.

But the unfortunate part for the Bruins is that it had to come to this.

“Unfortunately, every game is big for us now,” Gregory Campbell said after the Bruins survived in a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a situation where we’re battling for position with Ottawa now, and a couple of other different teams. We want that home-ice advantage. With 11 games left, we’re unfortunately in a situation where every game is important. And I think you can look at that as a positive because we have to be at our best now, and going into the playoffs, that’s something that’s going to benefit our team.

“Tonight was big for us but one game at a time is our motto right now.”

There was a lot of talk afterward about maintaining the intensity the Bruins showed Saturday for the remaining 11 regular season games so that they have the right chemistry and momentum. The question is: Do the Bruins have enough steam to fulfill that mission and have enough left for another playoff grind?

“There’s a lot of leadership in this room,” Campbell said. “Everybody knows how to win. This team has been in some corners before and we’ve gotten out of them. It hasn’t been easy all year. And we gained a lot of experience and confidence from last year in the things we went through. We’re just going to have to do it the hard way again, take it one game at a time and one period at a time.”

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