|Peter Chiarelli: ‘I can’t sign everybody’||09.14.14 at 6:43 pm ET|
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – At the first intermission of the Bruins’ rookie game against the Lightning, general manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the team’s NHL roster and where things stand going forward.
The biggest takeaways were that David Pastrnak could begin training camp on the right wing of David Krejci‘s line, that he will not sign all of his free-agents-to-be and that he will trade a defenseman at some point. Chiarelli offered no update on the status of Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, both of whom remain unsigned with days left until camp.
With Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg the biggest names entering the final years of their contracts and the Bruins having $49,897,857 against the cap committed to 10 players (not counting Marc Savard) for 2015-16, money figures to be tight going forward. The last time the Bruins had multiple players to sign and a potential cap crunch ahead, Chiarelli opted to sign all three players (Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchands, all of whom were a year away from restricted free agency) with the idea that if he had to trade one down the road, he would.
Chiarelli said he won’t go the sign-everyone route this time. The team recently signed David Krejci to a six-year, $43.5 million extension.
“I can’t sign everybody, and I’d love to sign everybody, but we can’t for the numbers that they want,” Chiarelli said. “Before, when I said we’d like to lock up guys. We still would, and we can with our cap. We make a decision on Krej, and that’s a big number. Some things you have to let play out, and we have to be a little versatile ourselves when it comes to team-building and we’re forced to do that this year.
“Am I going to try to sign all these guys? We look at all these guys, we look at different lineups going forward into the year. As the year progresses, we look and I think we’re going to take more time.”
Historically, Chiarelli has signed his key free-agents-to-be before they enter their contract’s final seasons. Boychuk knows that his future is uncertain and recently expressed that he does not want to be traded.
“I’ve always tried to get the team together signed and get them in place and give them a level of security,’ Chiarelli said. ‘I always feel that with that, they will perform. Of course, I’ve got to see the performance to get to that point. They’ve seen that we’ve tried to keep this team together as much as we can; we’ve had a lot of success with this group of guys. Around the fringes, guys have to go, but they’ve seen us try and [keep the team together], so they know our intentions are noble, so now it’s not quite ideal where we can keep the band together, so to speak.
“I think they understand that we always want to ice a Cup-winning team, and with that comes some casualties. This year, I’m looking forward to it, to a certain degree; there’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of spots, including ‘ you don’t wish one of these D men to be traded, but we just have too many D men. At some point, I’m going to have to do it, and all the teams in the league, most of the teams in the league would like one of these defensemen.
“And I know everyone’s waiting, ‘What move will [he] make? What move will [he] make?’ Well, I have to see what’s going to happen, see who fits well with whom, but the uncertainty is something this year that is a byproduct of the cap and a successful team and locking up those guys, and eventually there’s other guys that are just going to get too expensive. I don’t cast any aspersions on them for being at that level, but that’s what it’s at.”
|Bruins’ Johnny Boychuk: ‘I don’t want to be traded at all’||09.10.14 at 2:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – Johnny Boychuk hopes he hasn’t played his last game as a Bruin.
With the Bruins in a tight spot salary cap-wise ($3.218 million in space, assuming Marc Savard is put on long-term injured reserve), the team more or less needs to make some sort of move in order to sign Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, both of whom remain without contracts with just over a week before training camp begins.
Boychuk is a potential trade candidate because he is entering the final year of his contract and, should he reach free agency, would be worth more than the Bruins could afford. His limited no-trade clause also expired on May 31. Though he’s a key member of Boston’s blue line, Boston’s depth at defense means at least one player could be expendable.
Speaking to the local media for the first time this season, Boychuk said he isn’t focused on anything but playing for the Bruins.
“This is my family and you always want to stay with them,” he said. “It’s such a great team and organization.”
Boychuk admitted he has heard the reports of him possibly being traded, but he noted that Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle was rumored to be traded to the Bruins for years before it actually happened in 2011. As such, he won’t put stock in what he hears until a move is actually made.
“It’s tough to hear, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what anybody says,” Boychuk said. “If it happens, then you work on that part. But until it does, you can’t control it, so you’ve just got to keep playing the way that you can and you always want to stay here, but if something happens then it does. But you have no control over it. You want to stay with the guys that you grew up playing with.”
The Bruins recently signed their other top UFA-to-be in David Krejci to a six-year, $43.5 million extension. Not counting Savard, the B’s currently have $49,897,857 in cap dollars committed to just 10 players for the 2015-16 season. The cap is expected to go up from its current $69 million mark, but money figures to still be tight with Boychuk, Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton among the players who will need new contracts. Boychuk said he would like a new deal with the Bruins, but wouldn’t have a problem with being unsigned into the season.
Asked what he feels like he’d be worth in a trade, Boychuk reiterated that he doesn’t want to find out.
“I don’t even know what I’m worth,” he said. “I’m just worth whatever somebody’s willing to give, I guess. But I don’t want to be traded at all.”
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|Leftover pieces from Peter Chiarelli’s press conference||07.13.14 at 10:27 pm ET|
During Peter Chiarelli‘s press conference to conclude development camp, he discussed the future of some of the team’s prospects and shared that the team has discussed moving Gregory Campbell to the wing to allow one of the team’s center prospects to reach the NHL.
He also discussed a lot of other things. Here are some of the other bits:
- Chiarelli said that the players who dealt with injuries late last season are all on schedule to be ready for training camp. That group includes Chris Kelly (back), Matt Fraser (foot) and Adam McQuaid (multiple injuries).
- It’s been a common occurrence in Chiarelli’s tenure as Bruins GM to not let his star players reach free agency, so it’s likely he’ll try to get new deals for David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk done before next summer if he intends to keep the players.
“I’m not going to go into details as to our negotiations,” Chiarelli said. ‘I can say that we will try and get guys done, I try and be proactive and we’re working on a couple things right now.”
- Chiarelli said he wasn’t surprised by the eight-year deals with annual $10.5 million cap hits that were given to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
- Fraser’s shot alone is enough to make him a darkhorse candidate to replace Jarome Iginla on Boston’s first line next year. Asked about that being a possibility, Chiarelli noted the left-shooting Fraser’s experience on the right side.
“He’s played on the right side; he can really shoot it,” Chiarelli said. “We haven’t got him signed yet but we’ll get him signed shortly. He’s showed that he can play a two-way game and that you can put him up on that lineup because you end up getting all the matchups, right? So you have to have a responsible player up there. But you know, he’s a guy that we’re going to have a look at.”
- Some free agents remain unsigned, a group that includes right wing Lee Stempniak, a player with whom the Bruins have spoken. Cap space is tight, so while it’s no sure thing the Bruins will sign any free agent for their NHL roster, they’re still looking at them.
“There’s a list of guys that I’m looking at and there is also a list of guys internally,” Chiarelli said. “I like the competition, you’ve heard me talk about the competition. I think it really energizes the team and guys bubble up, they thrive in it. So I’m balancing the two things and there are a lot of our players available right now.”
- One of the three forward spots that are open for the Bruins won’t go to a fighter. The B’s have Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell in the AHL if they need them, but Chiarelli said he feels the Bruins already have team toughness.
“I believe it’s already there, I do,” he said. “Also, we have a couple of candidates that played in Providence that surely could fit in if we need them. I really think it’s already there, I do, and you’re going to see Adam back, whoever’s playing D. We’ve got some tough guys there that can hold up their own, so I believe it’s already there.”
- The Bruins have lots of assets that they could trade if they want to add a forward that way. Chiarelli said that for now, trade talks have slowed throughout the league.
“There’s stuff going on; it’s just not fast,” Chiarelli said. “There’s parameters and deals talked about and it’s just kind of pushing it along slowly. There’s not urgency. It may happen that it happens on the eve of training camp or two days before, because the player has to get to that camp from where he is but, it’s slow. It’s slow.”
|Johnny Boychuk calls Game 6 in Montreal a ‘must-win’ for Bruins||05.10.14 at 11:36 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk remembers Game 7 of the 2011 first round run to the Stanley Cup championship very, very well. The Bruins led 3-2 late in Game 7 when the P.K. Subban tied the game late on a power play goal. The Bruins escaped when Nathan Horton scored in overtime as the Bruins won the first of three Game 7 showdowns that spring.
After winning Game 5 Saturday night, 4-2, the Bruins are in the same position they were in three years ago, leading 3-2 heading up to Montreal for a potential closeout in Game 6. He’d like to avoid that scenario repeating itself. But more than just the convenience and rest that comes with closing out a series before the limit, Boychuk feels the Bruins need to win Monday night to advance.
“I mean, it’s basically a must-win game,” Boychuk said Saturday night. “You can’t sugarcoat it. It’s going to be a tough game. We have to battle hard and they’re a great team. We have to be prepared for everything. They’re going to be putting everything on the line and we shouldn’t be expecting anything less because they are a good team and we better be prepared.”
It was Boychuk’s drive to the stanchion behind Carey Price in overtime of Game 4 that set up Carl Soderberg to put a shot on net. That shot wasn’t controlled and Matt Fraser scored the game-winner. As it stands now, that is the pivotal sequence of the series. And Boychuk knows the Bruins were fortunate to get that bounce that put them in the position to come back to Boston and take a series lead, which they accomplished Saturday night.
“It was 0-0 for the whole game,” Boychuk said of Game 4. “I mean nobody made too many mistakes and it was a lucky bounce and we had to play that way, because we didn’t want to come back obviously 3-1 to Boston instead now we are going to Montreal 3-2.
“They’re better chances, but you can’t count them out. We’ve been in situations before and we might of taken a team lightly, but you can never take this team lightly because they are a great team and you have to respect them.”
The Bruins lost Game 6 in 2011 by a 2-1 count before escaping in Game 7. Again, it is the memory of that series that was fresh in Boychuk’s mind after Saturday’s game.
“We have to keep going like that,” he said. “You can’t give them a chance to get into it and build momentum for them. They’re a good team and if you give them a chance they are going to burn you.”
What made Boychuk most pleased is that the Bruins came out and took it to the Canadiens from the opening puck drop.
“I mean we just played the way we should be playing,” Boychuk said. “Before we were trying to do things that were uncharacteristic and we knew that. We have to play our game in order for us to succeed or have a chance to win.”
“I mean that’s our game. I mean once we start trying to do things that we’re not used to doing it usually turns out bad. We know that and whenever we did today or any game it turns out bad and if we minimize those we have a better chance of winning.”
If the Bruins advance past this round, the chatter about Dennis Seidenberg will inevitably grow louder and louder. Until Seidenberg does come back — if that ever happens this postseason — the Bruins will make due with either Matt Bartkowski or Andrej Meszaros in their lineup. Both have been given their shot at points this postseason, and both have struggled to establish a stranglehold on the position.
All things considered, Bartkowski is a superior player to Meszaros. He skates better and he’s stronger, but he’s struggled since returning to the lineup after missing the first two games of the first round with the flu.
Bartkowski had rough showings in Games 4 and 5 of that series, and a Game 1 performance against the Canadiens that saw him take two penalties (the first of which was on a Dale Weise dive, the second of which was a penalty he took in double overtime), Claude Julien opted to play Meszaros over him in Games 2 and 3. Meszaros predictably struggled and saw a blocked shot of his end up going the other way for the game-winning goal in Game 3, so Bartkowski was put back in for Thursday’s Game 4.
Back and forth, in and out, and still looking to regain the form he had before he was sick. Despite being the class clown of Boston’s blueline when it comes to his sense of humor, Bartkowski is generally pretty blunt when it comes to assessing his work. As such, he doesn’t fret about whether he’ll be in the lineup from game to game.
“I mean, I kind of know if I’m going to be in or not,” Bartkowski said. “I know when I play well; I know when I play bad.”
So what did he think of Game 1?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t even remember, to be honest.”
Earlier in the week, Peter Chiarelli suggested that Bartkowski had “got out of sync a little bit” after returning from the flu, but the player says he doesn’t want to use his early postseason illness as an excuse for his play of late. Since he’s been in, Bartowski said, he’s been fine physically.
“I just wasn’t playing to my potential,” he said of his play.
If he’s OK physically, he still needs to bring a sharper game to the ice. He’s been caught out of position and he’s struggled to knock guys off of pucks. At points, Bartkowski’s been more prone to taking himself out of the play than the player he’s defending.
Though neither he nor Meszaros are slam-dunks, it’s worth remembering that Bartkowski was a hesitant player early on in his NHL career because he didn’t want to make mistakes in his brief NHL stints. Knowing a bad performance means a trip to the press box might add some of those jitters Bartkowski used to face. Then again, it’s been three seasons since he’s gotten his first taste of the NHL and he has since established himself as someone who would be a regular NHL blueliner on most teams, so there’s a good enough chance he’s outgrown all of that.
Remember, it was just a year ago that Bartkowski had scored in Game 7 of the first round and went on to perform well in the second round against the Rangers with Boston’s blue line banged up. Bartkowski has shown in the past that he can play in the postseason, but the Bruins could use a reminder.
|Andrej Meszaros ready to step in if Matt Bartkowski unable to go for Bruins||04.18.14 at 11:44 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was once again not on the ice Friday for the Bruins’ morning skate, meaning he has not skated at all this week. Bartkowski, who was spotted in the Bruins’ dressing room Friday after showering, may have been one of the Bruins battling the flu this week.
With Bartkowski’s status for Game 1 against the Red Wings in question (Claude Julien is not giving updates on his players), Andrej Meszaros could be called upon to play Friday night to play on the second pairing alongside Johnny Boychuk. If he is, he says he’s ready.
“Yeah, if I play, I’m ready to go,” Meszaros said Friday morning. “I can’t wait actually to start the playoffs. It should be fun.”
The Bruins acquired Meszaros, a left shot defenseman who can play both sides, at the trade deadline from the Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Assuming everyone on Boston’s back end is healthy, Meszaros would likely serve as an extra defenseman.
The fact that the Bruins’ opponent is Detroit makes the situation all the more interesting, as Meszaros had one of his worst games as a Bruin in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings on April 2. Meszaros, who was paired with Boychuk for that contest, was a minus-2 in the game and was exposed by Detroit’s speed.
In particular, Darren Helm flew by him in the neutral zone with the B’s on the power play in the second period before Tuukka Rask stopped the shorthanded bid. He was also on the ice for Tomas Jurco’s game-tying goal in the third period.
“They’re a really, really good team,” Meszaros said. “They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. We have to be ready for that and match their intensity. It’s going to be a fast game.
“We should have won that game, but obviously we didn’t,” he added. “We had a lot of chances. [Jimmy] Howard played way too good. You have to put pucks on net and get traffic in font and get as much traffic as we can. When you go to the net, you’ve got score goals.”
Meszaros was rotated in and out of the Bruins’ lineup down the stretch and has played 14 games with two goals and there assists for five points with the B’s. He admitted there was an adjustment when he came over, but says he’s all caught up now.
“I understand everything. Everything is fine now,” Meszaros said. “I know the system, so it’s just about execution and playing hard and playing the right way that they want me to play.”
|Johnny Boychuk returns to practice||03.20.14 at 4:03 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk practiced with the Bruins in Denver Friday, marking his first time back on the ice with teammates since suffering a lower-body injury last Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Bruins coach Claude Julien suggested to reporters after the practice that Boychuk, who was termed day-to-day after he crashed into the boards feet-first, might not be an option to play Friday against the Avalanche, however, saying, the team will “evaluate him day by day, but if he’s not 100 percent there’s no reason why he should play.”
Boychuk had tried taking part in Monday’s morning skate, but he was too sore. The team has played Andrej Meszaros the last two games with Boychuk out, while Corey Potter played Tuesday when Matt Bartkowski served as the team’s healthy scratch against the Devils.
Thursday marks just over two weeks since Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the team would shut Adam McQuaid down for two-to-three weeks in order to aid his recovery from a quad strain. Julien was asked about McQuaid Thursday and gave little update, though he did tell reporters that the player has been “working off ice longer and longer every day.”
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