|As Bruins power play struggles, Tomas Kaberle still trying to ‘prove why I’m here’||04.24.11 at 1:20 pm ET|
Tomas Kaberle was supposed to be the answer for Boston’s power play. So far, there’s just been more questions in what has been an ugly tryout for a new contract.
Seemingly destined to don the black and gold eventually, the Bruins finally acquired the heavily sought-after free agent-to-be 10 days prior to the trade deadline. Since then, the Bruins’ power play has been almost unfathomably unproductive. With just seven goals in 80 opportunities, the unit has been clicking just eight percent of the time. Even general manager Peter Chiarelli said recently that the team expected more out of the defenseman when they sent a first-round pick and highly touted prospect Joe Colborne to Toronto in exchange for the veteran defenseman. Chiarelli isn’t the only one hoping Kaberle can pick it up.
“I always put a lot of pressure on myself,” Kaberle said Sunday at TD Garden. “Hopefully I can prove why I’m here. I would like to help with every little thing I can do on the ice. Obviously, I am one of the guys on the PP, and it would be nice to be something going there.”
Kaberle had nine points for the Bruins in his 24 regular season contests since being acquired, but as the spotlight grew brighter with the arrival of the playoffs, the 33-year-old had an ugly showing. He reversed a puck too hard in the Bruins’ zone, making for an easy Scott Gomez pass to Brian Gionta to set up what would be the game-winning goal.
From there, things didn’t improve as much as they needed to. Kaberle had major struggles in Game 2, displaying an inability to keep the puck in the zone on routine plays, a suggestion that perhaps he may have been pressing. If a turnaround is to be made, perhaps the defenseman can build on the fact that things have at least been looking up statistically. He’s had an assist in each of the last two games, and with how bad things were in Games 1 and 2, it’s a starting point.
“I felt like the first couple of games I could have been better,” Kaberle admitted Sunday. “The last few games, I’ve felt a lot better, and I’m feeling better confidence-wise. I’ll take it from there.”
Right now, any signs of confidence from Kaberle should be a good thing, as his play — despite making the as-advertised passes — has not been a major game-changer for the B’s in the postseason. He still isn’t producing on the man advantage, and his now-infamous fakes on the power play aren’t fooling anybody. Fairly or unfairly, Chiarelli’s move to get Kaberle will be seen as a major steal by the Leafs unless the power play starts getting the results that have eluded them for too long. There’s no better way to do that than to get the power play going, but teammates won’t let all the responsibility fall on Kaberle.
“I’m sure he feels pressure just like all of us,” Dennis Seidenberg said Sunday. “It’s not just him that wants to do better. I think it’s everybody that wants to create and wants to get that advantage you’re supposed to get. Right now it’s just not working, and I’m sure he thinks as much as everybody else about it — what he can do, and what we should do improve it. I guess it’s a work in progress.”
A first-round pick and a former first-round center with as high a ceiling as Colborne’s is not something a team wants to give up for a player that can help the power play be a “work in progress.” That type of package is reserved for a star player, and that’s clearly what the Bruins thought they were getting. There’s still time for Kaberle to justify the move and prove that the trade for a puck-moving defenseman was more than an asset-moving blunder, but for now the waiting game continues.
|Peter Chiarelli ‘relatively satisfied’ with Tyler Seguin’s development||04.11.11 at 3:53 pm ET|
Rookie Tyler Seguin was among the topics discussed in Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media on Monday. Seguin played in 73 games as a rookie, totaling 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. He was a healthy scratch eight times, but Chiarelli noted that having him spend the year back in Plymouth (OHL) would not have helped anyone.
“I’m relatively satisfied with the development,” Chiarelli said. “You have to put it in the context of his age and put it in the context of he’s an individual who I think has seen that he has to grow in certain areas on and off the ice. He’s a real good kid.”
Daniel Paille‘s four goals over his last games has made it safe to assume Seguin will be a healthy scratch when the playoffs begin Thursday, but Chiarelli didn’t rule out the idea of the 19-year-old finding his way into the lineup before all is said and done.
“My guess is that he won’t start in the lineup for the playoffs. I hope that he finds his way into it. The play is going to ramp up in the playoffs,” Chiarelli said. “Had he gone back to juniors, the areas where he had to get better would have been left dormant and so he had to play this year and face those areas head on. A terrifically talented kid with speed, he has to learn to make these plays that he can do and we’ve seen these plays all the time. So I’m relatively satisfied. Tyler is a good kid and he’s going to get better.”
Chiarelli admitting that Seguin is unlikely to be in the lineup Thursday shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as the combination of Paille’s impressive play to close out the season and Seguin’s inconsistencies made things pretty predictable.
Though Seguin did get to play in 73 games, his leash was clearly shorter than it would have been had he played for a non-playoff team. As a result, the combination of his raw talents, struggles with physical play and limited ice time left him 22nd in scoring amongst rookies this season.
The more interesting point is Chiarelli pointing out that sending Seguin back to juniors would not have benefitted the youngster. It makes sense, as Seguin’s dominant play for Plymouth in his draft year (48+58=106), suggests that he probably wouldn’t have taken it upon himself to become a more physical player, as he could get results without it.
Just how Seguin could end up finding his way into the lineup remains to be seen. At face value, it seems it would take an injury to a forward or detrimental play from Paille.
|Having made their moves, B’s making noise on the ice, stay quiet on deadline day||03.01.11 at 2:44 am ET|
It was a generally quiet couple of days leading up the NHL trade deadline throughout the league, but with the way the Bruins have been going, they may not have been a team that needed much more via trade.
The B’s had their biggest day in that department 10 days prior to the deadline. Seemingly in an effort to both upgrade the roster quickly and avoid taking chances at the last second, general manager Peter Chiarelli made a couple of big deals on Feb. 18, reeling in Tomas Kaberle from Toronto and a package of Rich Peverley and (less notably) Boris Valabik from Atlanta. With the team having already acquired center Chris Kelly from the Senators earlier in that week, Chiarelli hinted at the post-Kaberle trade press conference that he was done making big deals.
With less than $1 million in cap space, you probably should have seen that coming.
Even so, the trade deadline passed, and the B’s moves leading up to it consisted of the following:
- Signing Shane Hnidy
- Trading Brian McGrattan and Sean Zimmerman to the Ducks for David Laliberte and Stefan Chaput, a deal that involved only AHL players.
- Trading Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen‘s rights to the Wild for Swedish goaltender Anton Khudobin.
Not exactly moves that scream “difference-maker,” huh? Well, they don’t have to when they also scream “the team’s already made its moves.”
With Kaberle, Peverley, and Kelly already in the fold, the Bruins were able to use the days leading up to the deadline as a bonding experience while on a Canadian road-trip. While other teams were adding pieces, the Bruins’ new pieces were already contributing. Boston has won five straight, including all four since Kaberle came on board.
While much of the discussion following the trade deadline is on how a team with improvements in tow will fare in the offseason, the moves or lack of moves also mean big things for the stretch run of the regular season. It seems that’s another area in which the B’s might be aided. Already with a six-point lead over the Canadiens in the division despite having played one game less than the Habs this season, the fact that the Canadiens were also quiet over the last couple of days is also encouraging for the B’s. The Habs made their biggest deal when they brought in James Wisniewski from the Islanders earlier in the season, and their lack of activity at the deadline is something the B’s will take.
|Peter Chiarelli: Bruins aim to re-sign Tomas Kaberle||02.18.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke Friday at TD Garden to discuss a busy day in which he made two trades. The Bruins moved Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Thrashers earlier in the day in exchange for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik before sending Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round selection in the coming draft, and a conditional pick to Toronto in exchange for Tomas Kaberle.
“It’s a strong message to our team, to our fans that we want to win and we want to be successful,” Chiarelli said Friday.
Kaberle has long been rumored as a potential trade target for the Bruins. In 58 games with this season, the 32-year-old Czech blueliner has three goals and 35 assists for 38 points.
“We felt that we needed a player like Tomas,” Chiarelli said. “A player with good vision, a good skater who can quarterback a power play, has played many games in the league. A very smart, heady player who can skate.”
Kaberle had to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal to Boston, and will be a free agent at season’s end. Given the steep price the B’s had to pay in Colborne, the 16th overall pick in the 2008 NHL draft, Chiarelli is hopeful that Kaberle will prove to be more than a rental.
“I looked upon this trade as we looked upon the [Dennis] Seidenberg trade. He’s a guy that you want to re-sign,” the GM said. “Having the time of when you acquire him to the time you sign him, it gives a little flavor of the player and how he fits in the group.
“Of course there’s a chance that we won’t re-sign him, but I want to re-sign him. We want to re-sign him. I’ve had some brief discussions with Rick Curran, his agent, and nothing is forthcoming. Nothing will be forthcoming until after the season, but I’ve had a good history with Rick and the Orr hockey group. I think it would smooth sailing to sign him when it comes to that time. It’s an important part of this deal because we’re giving up significant assets.”
Chiarelli noted that given the deals for Kaberle and Peverley, in addition to Tuesday’s trade for Ottawa center Chris Kelly, he believes that as far as big deals go, the Bruins should be quiet leading up to Feb. 28′s trade deadline.
“If I do anything else, it will be something very small unless something significant is available and fits,” he said. “For the most part, we’re done.”
|Peter Chiarelli transcript from Chris Kelly trade press conference||02.16.11 at 4:03 am ET|
Thanks to the awesome folks at the Bruins, here is the complete transcript of the press conference Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held Tuesday night following the trade of Chris Kelly:
So you’ve obviously seen the release. We’ve acquired Chris Kelly in a deal this evening in return for our own second round pick in this coming Entry Draft. Chris is a two-way center, he’s’¦ I don’t know if he’s 30 or 31, he’s a late-eighty [November 11, 1980]. He has a lot of playoff experience, very good on faceoffs, he’s a high character person. He plays both ways and he can’¦ we needed a centerman that is going to give us some depth. Chris can give us that and he can play up and down the lineup also. I’ve obviously had a connection to him in my time in Ottawa, and know him as a person. He’s a very good person, has good leadership characteristics. He’s under contract for next year, also. And we’re happy to have him in the organization. He’s going to help us.
On how important it was to get a player who wasn’t going to be just a rental’¦
When you go out into the market and there’s rentals, there’s good things and bad things to rentals. The bad thing is you don’t know if you’ll be able to resign them. So with Chris [Kelly], you have him for at least another year which is a good thing. His market price is set. And he’s a known commodity in the sense that I know him, our scouts know him, having seen him a lot in the East. There’s also good things to rentals, meaning contracts who are expiring so it gives you flexibility for the summer. But we think this is a good thing in light of we’re not’¦we have a lot of uncertainty with Marc Savard. So this helps us in that sense too. And he can play the wing too. He’s a smart player and a responsible player. He can play up the middle and he can play the wing. But he’s a natural centerman.
On if when the team lost Marc Savard, he had in his mind that he wanted to find another centerman or if he waited to see how things played out’¦
Well you look at all your’¦all of the options come up at once in your mind. So like oh we’ve got some young centermen, we’ve got whether it’s Tyler [Seguin], whether it’s Zach [Hamill], whether it’s Joe Colborne, those are three off the top of my head. You instantly’¦as a manager you know what the market is anyways so you automatically run through the couple of names in your head. You talk to your scouts, you see’¦we saw Zach play a bit. And actually I thought he did pretty well. And I think Tyler had a strong game in Detroit and he’s’¦the fact that Chris can play the wing also, his versatility is very helpful too. So he was available, he brought a good two-way game and he can make plays also and we felt that we had to make a move on him.
On if there is another move on the horizon’¦
Well I’ve been pretty public in saying I’d like to get a defenseman, so that’s still in the works.
On if the move for a defenseman is close’¦
Well I know there’s a lot of furor here today. But I’ve had discussions on a number of fronts and I’d say a couple of them are closer, but I don’t have anything imminent. Read the rest of this entry »
|Peter Chiarelli says Bruins will remain active in trade market||02.15.11 at 11:42 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a press conference late Tuesday night following the team’s acquisition of Senators center Chris Kelly. Chiarelli spoke highly of Kelly, whom he knew from his days in the Ottawa front office, describing the 30-year-old as a “two-way center” with “lots of playoff experience” who could “play up and down the lineup.”
Still, the GM suggested there are more moves to be made.
“I’ve been pretty public with saying I’d like to get a defenseman. That’s still in the works,” said Chiarelli, who added there are nine defensemen the team is seriously considering. “I’ve had discussions on a number of fronts. I would say a couple of them are closer, but I don’t have anything imminent.”
When asked later by a reporter if he thinks he’ll make a trade for a defenseman, Chiarelli paused contemplatively and responded, “Yeah. Yeah, I think I will.”
Asked whether or not the next deal he makes will be a “home run,” Chiarelli responded, “I don’t think so. I think it will be a good deal. There are players out there, and I hope I can get it done.”
According to Sportsnet.ca, Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle would be willing to accept a trade to the Bruins. In fact, Sportsnet is reporting that the defenseman, who has a no trade clause in his contract, has granted the Maple Leafs permission to discuss a deal with only Boston.
Additionally, The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta has tweeted the talks between the two teams do not involve the Bruins sending the Maple Leafs’ first-round pick, acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, back to Toronto.
Kaberle will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told WEEI.com last month that the Bruins were interested in adding a defenseman who could log substantial minutes. Kaberle, who has three goals and 33 assists for 36 points, has averaged 22:34 of ice time this season.
The Maple Leafs traded forward Kris Versteeg to the Flyers on Monday night, with Toronto general manager Brian Burke saying “we’re not done yet.”
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