|Cam Neely discusses Bruins’ future at final press conference of 2011-12 season||05.03.12 at 5:17 pm ET|
Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a season-ending press conference Thursday to discuss the 2011-12 season and look ahead to the future.
The calling of the press conference Wednesday was somewhat surprising, but given that Neely hadn’t spoken at last Friday’s breakup day, it seemed appropriate for the team president to meet with the media one last time this season. The trio of Neely and the Jacobs covered a variety of topics Thursday, so here’s a recap of it all.
– One common theme throughout the players at breakup day was that they had trouble getting up for the playoffs after last June’s run to the Cup finals. While Neely recognized the fatigue factor, he still feels the team is too good to lose in the first round.
“It should be unacceptable,” Neely said. “With the players we have, the talent that we have, the coaching staff we have, you can’t be accept a first-round exit. I believe that we’re a franchise that’s beyond, ‘Let’s make the playoffs,’ that’s beyond, ‘Let’s have a good showing in the first round. I think we’re beyond that. Expectations are much higher now.”
Neely said that though players spoke of their difficulty getting mentally engaged in the postseason, the team as a whole appeared to share his frustration with the first-round exit.
“What I saw was guys that looked to be disappointed,” Neely said. “When you look at all the seven games of the whole and you say, ‘Geez, we probably should be moving on,’ I think they would all agree with that. I think if they really assessed our game and their individual play, they to a person probably feel like they could have played better or could have done a little bit more to get that extra goal or that extra win that we needed. ”
– Neely agreed with Peter Chiarelli‘s sentiment that no major shakeup is needed this offseason, but that some turnover should occur. He is hopeful that free agent Chris Kelly can return.
“I think just some tweaking,” he said of the roster. “Peter and I spoke a few days after the season ended. We’re going to have more discussions as the summer progresses here, but I like the makeup of our team, I like the character of our team. I think Peter’s done a really good job of signing players before they become free agents as best he can. I think we have guys that are still going to improve. We have a young team in that regards as far as the core goes and will improve. But we know we have some areas we will look to improve and we’ll have more discussions in the offseason on how we can go about doing that.”
– Neely said that he remains satisfied with the team’s goaltending situation of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. The latter is a restricted free agent, and Neely said that when Rask signs his new deal — which figures to see a pay raise — there will be enough room for both players financially and when it comes to playing time.
“Well financially it shouldn’t be an issue,” Neely said. “Playing-time-wise, it’s always been they’re battling it out and the coach will end up playing who he thinks is going to give the team the best shot to win.”
– Both Claude Julien and Chiarelli still have term on their contracts, and Neely said he was pleased with the job both did this season.
“I thought they both did a great job this year,” Neely said. “Claude’s a very good coach, Peter’s a good general manager. There’s challenges at times with the way the cap is now, to try and make certain moves you’d like to make. The trade deadline is a great example of that. The offseason, July 1 is another good example of it’s a little bit more difficult dealing with the cap than it’s been pre-cap.
“I think Claude’s done a good job, I’ve seen Claude make some adjustments since he’s been here and I think it’s been good that he communicates really well with the players. There’s no gray area which as a player, I think is fantastic. You shouldn’t have a gray area and he’s done a really good job since he’s been here.”
Neely also said that there were no plans at this time to make any moves regarding the coaching staff. That obviously applies more to the assistants, as Julien’s job is obviously safe.
– After two straight postseasons of power play struggles, Neely allowed that something needs to change, but not necessarily coaching or personnel.
“We got away with [having a bad power play] last year as everybody knows,” he said. “This year, it kind of bit us in the butt. We really need to have a philosophical difference of how we look at the power play. I don’t just look at the percentage of the power play, I look at when we get power plays, what the score of the game is, what time of the game is ‘ that’s important. Maybe more so important than what the actual percentage of the power play is.
“I think we have the personnel that we can improve on the power play. There’s some things we’ll certainly discuss in the offseason about what we can do differently with the power play. I think it’s an area that absolutely needs improvement and we will improve on it.”
– There is one more year remaining on the Bruins’ deal with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Charlie Jacobs said the team is determining what to use for a practice facility beyond then, with the team still considering Ristuccia. Jacobs did say that the Bruins want their practice facility to be a potential selling point for free agents, so that would suggest the team would ideally like to upgrade.
|Jeremy Jacobs: ‘Welcome home Lord Stanley’||06.18.11 at 11:23 am ET|
With the sun breaking through the clouds and basking hundreds of thousands in the afterglow of the city’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years, Boston kicked off another “Rolling Rally” Saturday morning in the parking lot outside TD Garden.
“Lord Stanley, 39 years, welcome home!” exclaimed Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, one of the first to speak before the duck boats began their three-mile procession from the Garden to Copley Square.
Boston City police termed Saturday’s rally the biggest in the city’s rich sports history, eclipsing even the 2004 Red Sox rally in the rain on Oct. 30, 2004, with well over a million people lined up between 10-15 deep in many areas along the route.
“We got the Cup! We got the Cup!” added Patrice Bergeron, whose two goals in Game 7 led the Bruins to a Cup-clinching 4-0 win in Vancouver on Wednesday night. Since then, the organization and city has been looking forward to celebrating the organization’s sixth Stanley Cup with hockey-loving city and region.
|Jacobs: Circumvention, demoting big contracts both costly games||09.29.10 at 4:17 pm ET|
This summer, it came to light that the Bruins were among the teams accused by the league of circumventing the salary cap with the signing of Marc Savard to a seven-year, $28.5 million deal. Though the deal was structured so that the latter years of the deal carried lower salaries and thus brought the overall cap hit down, it does not go past his 40th birthday and seemed to be a far cry from the 17-year Ilya Kovalchuk deal that was rejected before being tinkered with and finally accepted in an agreement that dropped the Savard investigation.
“I think they threw out a wide net and tried to be as inclusive as possible of everyone that they thought had extended contracts,” Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said. “Whether they thought it was fair or not, I don’t know, but I didn’t feel there was any problem with it. If we have to stand scrutiny, that’s what we have to do.
“I think all the contracts have to be looked at that way, and at least from Boston’s standpoint, I think the commissioner made a valued judgement on this and I think clearly the arbitrator agreed on the Kovalchuk one, so he was right there, but fortunately he put an end to it. It was a very expensive situation, though.”
As for how the team will approach deals in the future, even with the NHLPA and the league reaching an agreement to prevent future circumvention, Jacobs noted that there’s still plenty of reason to be cautious with contracts and how they fit within the CBA.
“I think Boston is going to be a lot more sensitive to that,” Jacobs said. “Boston’s going to be very aware of the circumvention areas, and there’s a lot of things that can go into that terminology, circumvention. We’re sensitive to it.”
Jacobs had a few other interesting comments during his media scrum, with the Rangers’ demotion of Wade Redden bringing up the possibility of the Bruins sending a big-money player to the AHL when Marco Sturm and Marc Savard return from long-term injured reserve.
|‘The Goal’ to stand forever outside TD Garden||05.10.10 at 3:17 pm ET|
It is funny how the 40th anniversary season of the Bruins 1970 Stanley Cup Championship has worked out. Every time the team has planned to bring back the luminaries from that team — Bobby Orr, Derek Sanderson, Johnny Bucyk — the Bruins were about to play their biggest game of the season.
The first time the Bruins brought back the alumni was for an on-ice celebration of the 1970 team on March 18 — the day awaited by Bruins fans as the day that the team could get back at Matt Cooke and the Pittsburgh Penguins for Cooke’s hit on center Marc Savard that gave him a Grade 2 concussion and almost immediately elicited a change in NHL rules regarding hits to the head from behind. Orr and company were gracious to Cooke and the Bruins amidst a stretch where Boston was not playing its best hockey and Bruins fans were clamoring for blood. The game registered NESN’s highest regular season rating for a Bruins game in history.
On Monday the Bruins unveiled a statue at the west entrance to TD Garden of Orr’s “The Goal” — the game-winner that won the 1970 Stanley Cup Championship over St. Louis. It just so happens that the Bruins once again are playing their biggest game of the season — Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers with a chance to clinch the series and move to the conference finals.
“The Broad Street Bullies? I have a lot of memories of playing against them,” Orr said. “That was a tough team, a hard working team. They were well coached with Freddy Shero, Bernie Parent in goal. All-star goalie. They had skill, they had top defensemen. Even their tougher guys could play the game.”
In a ceremony to unveil the statue the associated Bruins alum were present along with other Boston personalities such as Tim Wakefield and David Ortiz as well as the team’s owner Jeremy Jacobs and Jacob Wentzell, President of TD Garden.
The statue looks almost implausible as it stands with Orr flying through the air with no support for the bronze, is 110 percent life size and was sculpted by Harry Weber.
“It is cantilevered, which just means that means that it is sticking out from that one toe,” Weber said of the construction. “The reason we were able to do that is that stainless steal goes all the way down from the base of the ground up through that spray of ice, all the way through his foot, all the way through him, all the way up to the stick. It is like a giant jungle gym all the way up through the statue otherwise bronze wouldn’t carry the weight.”
After the ceremony Jacobs was asked about Orr’s departure from the Bruins, which has caused the owner’s name to have been dragged through the mud since he purchased the team in 1975. Orr left the Bruins despite a lucrative contract offer from the team after agent Alan Eagleson allegedly told the star defenseman that the Chicago Blackhawks had a better deal. Jacobs was mum, as he has been for the last 35 years, on the specifics that led one of the greatest hockey players of all time away from Boston.
“I am not going there. That was back then. If I knew what I know now then it would have been a different story,” Jacobs said. “It was a snapshot in a time warp. I was young, he was young. It just didn’t unfold the way it should have. He came back here, maybe not as a player, but he came back here as a personality that is so important to this whole community. Let’s face it, it didn’t happen like it should have. He had issues, a young man following a dream and his advisors and it didn’t work out. But that was then.”
|Transcript: Bruins Media Day Press Conference||09.28.09 at 9:28 pm ET|
The Boston Bruins held their pre-season media today this morning. The session started with a press conference panel of owner Jeremy Jacobs, principal owner Charlie Jacobs, head coach Claude Julien, general manager Peter Chiarelli, and vice president Cam Neely. The transcript from the press conference is below.
Pressure to live up to last year’s 116 points within the sports culture of Boston?
Jeremy Jacobs: Simple answer? Yes. There is an expectation on my part and the community at large. I share the same goal, my ambition is to win a Stanley Cup and I think we have the personalities in place from management, coaching and players. So, I look for a great season and will be disappointed if there is anything less than that.
How impressed are you with the brain trust that has been put together in the front office?
Jeremy Jacobs: I think he [Peter Chiarelli] has done a great job. We’ve extended our relationship and our contract and I expect that we are building on something. Every body here [the media] are all totally and justifiably critical when we stumbled at first but we got it going and stayed with it and I think the organization is working really well and I think there are personalities in place to run it.
On sending Brad Marchand and Zach Hamill down and the depth of the organization.
Chiarelli: I think both of them have had tremendous camps and I told Zach this morning that, we had talked about him playing at the rookie tournament and when some of the other guys just didn’t play. That was good thing that he did, you could see it in how he played in the main camp. I said that most importantly it was the work he did in the development camp, the summer camp, so you have to build on it when you go down to Providence. I told him he had a good camp. I told him he has to work on his battles when he goes down low and I thought the speed caught up to him a little bit at the end.
When I talked to Brad I told him that he had a very good camp and that he was on the right track and while his game is always simple, sometimes down in Providence it tended to get a little complicated and we tried to fix that and he tried to fix it during the camp. So, two young kids, both speak well for the future.
Those guys and the guys we assigned down on Saturday. I like our depth here. It is in different sorts, it’s not just a finesse player here or something but players that can fill in different capacities.
On health situation at the start of the year.
Chiarelli: As of today, I haven’t talked to the training staff, but as of today I believe we will be pretty healthy at the start of the year unless something were to happen between now and then. You hear of a lot of these teams with groins and hips and, you know, it was a condensed training camp this year and we had maybe one more game than maybe we wanted to. So, I think Claude [Julien] can speak to this, but I think the off day yesterday was good and I think we will get some productive work in between now and the start of the year.
On having first five games at home.
Julien: Well, first of all I think the first part of the season is probably more important no matter whether you are on the home or on the road than most people think and it’s been brought to our attention every year that teams in good shape on Thanksgiving are usually the teams that end up in the playoffs. So, we are aware of that and the important-cy of getting off to a good start but even more so this year in front of our fans. No doubt the first five games in front of our fans will be crucial in their minds.
Filling Phil Kessel‘s Shoes.
Julien: We are confident with the team that we have here, no doubt. We have Marco Sturm back and healthy so, as a group we are a strong team. We fell stronger as well with some young guys having matured and Marco Sturm in as I mentioned he was out most of last year. David Krejci is ahead of the curve right now and we’re hopefully looking forward to seeing him in the opener. All in all I think our team is in great shape. Tuuka Rask is going to be a great goaltender to support Tim [Thomas].
We’re very confident and I think this Kessel issue for us is in the past and we’re moving forward.
Addition of ECHL Redding team helping the organization.
Chiarelli: We will providing some players there as those who won’t be on Providence. So, anytime you can expand your organization depth wise it’s going to help in the long run. I think we are probably going to provide two or three players there, so, it is a good addition. The last few years we have had east coast affiliates and I think they are affiliated with a couple other teams so they have good staff there and good for the development of our young guys.
On what the race for the conference will look like.
Julien: I am not one to look at these situations as a whole and just sit there and say that we have to be at the top. I think we have to work our way to the top, just like we did last year. There is nothing different except that the challenge will be bigger. There is more respect towards our team this year so obviously there are teams around our conference who are certainly improved. Philadelphia is one of those teams with [Chris] Pronger on the back end, they are certainly going to be a better team. I don’t think I am going to spend all my energy worrying about what’s on the outside. I think it’s important to worry about your back yard and for me it is about the preparation of our team. I have said all along that if teams want to beat us, they are going to have to adapt to us, because we are not going to adapt to others. We play our style of game and we feel confident with it and we will go forward with it as well.
Patrice Bergeron has an extra bounce to his skates this pre-season?
Julien: I think Patrice has taken off where he left off last year. You know, he went through a lot and we were patient and helped him along the way to find his game again but what he went through is something that you don’t want to see again and I think he had a great second half and even the playoffs. I have mentioned that before, he was one of our best forwards in the series. I think he was excited about it when he left here last year and is excited about coming back and I think that is a continuation of what you saw last year.
For someone who has played in the finals twice, what does this team need to do to reach that mark?
Neely: We just need to learn from last year. As a player you learn from the experiences you go through. I think when we got to the finals in 1988 it was the first time for a lot of us to be in the finals and I think a lot of us, including myself, were thrilled to be in the finals. Then, in ‘90, we understood what happened in ‘88 and we don’t look at it like we are excited to be in the finals. You have to remember two years ago, for a lot of our players it was their first time being in the playoffs and a lot of our key players, it was the first time for them. So, the learned from that series and took it a little bit further last year and what I always have these guys try to remember is how it felt to win those games and how it felt to lose that final game and you can learn from that. I think we have a lot of guys that know we should have gone a little deeper than we did and I think they’re hungry to get back to that challenge to go a little deeper.
Will the team be actively searching the waiver wire as the league wide roster cut deadline looms?
Chiarelli: Waiver acquisition that we’d look at? You basically react to that. You have a general idea of who is going to be on and we will look at who is on today. We will see who is up there and I suspect we will see some activity as far as trading players, for teams that are under cap crunches. So, I will be fielding some calls but I don’t anticipate anything happening.
On Versus and Direct TV customers not seeing opening night.
Jeremy Jacobs: I think you are right, it doesn’t look good. The commissioner and everybody in the league office is doing what they can do but the situation is not within our control. We know how unhappy the whole hockey world is. I think the best thing is that everybody should be put on notice that if they want to watch our game with what the circumstances are, if they want to watch our game get to a location where they can see it from. Right now it does not look good to be broadcast. They are moving at glacial speed.
Giving Sturm a try out on the top line with Savard considering how the speedy Kessel played there.
Julien: We’d certainly like, to a certain extent, put some speed again on that wing and Marc is good at finding those guys so we will give those guys a try. Like I mentioned through training camp there is nothing carved in stone. We are going to put the best lines together as we can possibly find and if that means tweaking them and moving them around we will until we find the right combination. I think right now it is worth having a look at and Marco has played the off wing before and he feels comfortable there as well so, again, there is a guy who hasn’t played in a while so we have to take that into consideration whether he’s on top of his game or whether he is trying to find it again.
With the stable situations in the front office and on the ice, what are the tweaking points that could be made during the season?
Chiarelli: Structurally I do not foresee anything. I mean, we always exchange ideas and philosophies where we hope to improve the communication between the management, the coaching staff and the team. We always look to improve. I can’t tell you anything that we haven’t told you already, I know there are some themes that Claude and I have talked about that we want to impress on the team all year. Besides that, I am happy where we are at. We always look to improve but there will nothing really significant from within the management group.
|‘State of the Bruins’ Meeting set for September 17||09.11.09 at 12:22 pm ET|
The Boston Bruins will hold their annual ‘State of the Bruins’ Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden. Attending this year’s State of the Bruins from the Bruins organization will be Owner Jeremy Jacobs, Principal Charlie Jacobs, General Manager Peter Chiarelli, Vice President Cam Neely, Head Coach Claude Julien, forward Milan Lucic and defenseman Derek Morris.
The Town Hall Meeting gives Bruins season ticket holders and premium ticket holders a forum to speak directly with Bruins personnel and to ask questions and provide comments about the organization and team. In addition, everyone present at the ‘State of the Bruins’ will get an exclusive first look and the opportunity to pre-order the Winter Classic jersey, which will be unveiled at the event. Bruins alumni and NESN color commentator, Andy Brickley will serve as the evening’s moderator.
The Bruins executives will discuss the current ‘State of the Bruins’ before the question and answer session begins.
The “State of the Bruins” meeting will follow the first official on-ice day of Bruins training camp held at TD Garden on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 13 beginning at 10 a.m. The Bruins will celebrate the opening of the club’s 2009-2010 campaign by holding a used equipment sale and offer fans free breakfast, courtesy of TD Bank, as part of the first full day of 2009 Bruins Training Camp on September 13.
On Sunday, the first day of official on-ice work for the team, fans will have access to two practice sessions beginning at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., free of charge. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. and breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, coffee and juice, will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.
In conjunction with the open training camp sessions, Bruins fans will have the opportunity to purchase equipment used by Bruins players from past and present. Items that will be available include skates, socks, pads and helmets, among others. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation. The used equipment sale will begin at 8:30 a.m. for Bruins season ticket holders and 9:30 a.m. for the general public.
The 54-player Bruins training camp roster is listed below.
2009 BRUINS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):
Jamie Arniel, Steve Begin, Patrice Bergeron, Byron Bitz, Jordan Caron,
Zach Hamill, Jordan Knackstedt, Chuck Kobasew, David Krejci, Drew
Larman, Guillaume Lefebvre, Mikko Lehtonen, Jeff LoVecchio, Milan Lucic,
Brad Marchand, Matt Marquardt, Lane MacDermid, Kirk MacDonald, Levi
Nelson, Tyler Randell, Mark Recchi, Yannick Riendeau, Michael Ryder,
Marc Savard, Max Sauve, Vladimir Sobotka, Marco Sturm, Shawn Thornton,
Blake Wheeler, Trent Whitfield, Jason Wilson
Andrew Bodnarchuk, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Button, Zdeno Chara, Drew Fata,
Andrew Ference, Alain Goulet, Matt Hunwick, Rob Kwiet, Adam McQuaid,
Derek Morris, Zach McKelvie, Jeff Penner, Mark Stuart, Dennis Wideman,
Unsigned Restricted Free Agents as of September 10 (1)
Bruins season ticket holders and premium ticket holders wishing to attend should log on to their ticket holder account and print their State of the Bruins tickets by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 14. This will be a ticketed event, as State of the Bruins tickets will be scanned at the TD Garden turnstiles. Any questions can be directed to the Bruins Fan Relations Department at 617.624.BEAR (2327).
|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.