|Claude Julien: Bruins relish being a part of a fabulous final four ‘it’s pretty impressive’||05.30.13 at 5:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — As the Bruins wrap up preparations for Game 1 of the Eastern finals Saturday night in Pittsburgh, they are taking a very brief moment to relish what it’s like to be part of a little recent history.
The quartet of the Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks and Kings isn’t just a made-for-TV dream for NBC, they represent the most successful franchises in hockey over the last four years, as measured by Stanley Cup banners.
Each team has lifted the Cup once in the previous four seasons, starting with the Penguins in 2009, the Blackhawks in 2010, the Bruins in 2011 and the newbies, the Kings, who won their first in franchise history last year.
“I think it's pretty impressive, knowing about parity in the league and how hard it is to get back there,” Claude Julien said. “To know that somebody is going to win it twice in, at the most, four years is pretty impressive, I think. That's what we have here. It's an opportunity for all of us here to duplicate what we've wanted to duplicate here for a while.”
Tyler Seguin was a mere 19-year-old pup when the Bruins last made a deep run, as he was a rookie in 2011. But that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate what the Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks and Kings have all accomplished.
“It’s very cool,” Seguin said. “It’s great to be a part of it. I don’t know if that’s happened too often throughout history but it’s going to make for a great final finish. I think experience has always been huge, especially when it comes to playoffs. We have so much experience in our locker room we can face different types of adversity and I think when it comes to playoffs, teams that have experience are always going to have the edge. There’s always the underdogs or teams that surprise other teams but this year, I think it’s a little different because the last four winners are in the final four.
“I think chemistry can definitely be huge at times, especially when you’re making playoff runs of more than one in the last few years for all four of us. I think chemistry is big in those situations and experience goes a long way.”
Julien also appreciates the job his boss, GM Peter Chiarelli has done in keeping a young core together and in tact, ready to compete for a title, year-in and year-out.
“You know it becomes harder when you win,” Julien said after Thursday’s practice. “We won a couple years ago and he's managed to keep the core and most of the players around. He's done a great job. I've said it all along, to have an opportunity to coach a team that's deep because of the players he's provided us with. Thats'a credit to him and his group. The coach is as good as the people that surround him; that means the assistant coaches, but also means the players, and obviously management.
“That's always been the case, it's not something that's new. It's more about you have to realize what you have and we have a good group of people here, players, coaching staff, and then management. Everybody seems to be doing a good job at what they have to do and allows us the opportunity right now to be in the top four.”
|Peter Chiarelli on Claude Julien: ‘As long as I’m here, his job is safe’||05.15.13 at 3:16 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said during an appearance on Salk & Holley on Wednesday that the team will not fire Claude Julien as long as he is the general manager.
“I feel strongly about our coach, and his job is safe,” Chiarelli said of Julien, acknowledging that he had heard heard rumors that both he and the coach would be fired if the Bruins lost Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, but saying, “As long as I’m here, his job is safe.”
“He’s been producing consistently,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a terrific coach.”
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|Peter Chiarelli says Bruins underachieved down the stretch||04.29.13 at 3:37 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on a conference call Monday that the B’s are going to need to turn in better play than they did over the last two months of the season if they want to be successful in the postseason.
After starting out strong (8-1-1 in their first 10 games), the B’s struggled down the stretch and went 3-5-2 over their final 10 games of the 48-game season. It ended Sunday with the B’s failing to secure the Northeast Division by losing to the Senators in the regular-season finale. As the No. 4 seed, the B’s will play the No. 5 Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“I’m not going to offer any excuses. We didn’t perform to the level we were capable of performing on a number of different fronts,” Chiarelli said. “It was good that we had a strong front and were able to finish where we finished. If I’m going to judge our team on the latter half of the year, I’m going to have to say that we’re going to have to really step up our performance to have success in the playoffs.”
Chiarelli compared a season to a dam with holes to fill, noting that “there just seems to be more holes this year.” Asked where the team’s confidence level is at this point of the season, he said it has been “average” over the last month.
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|Jarome Iginla coming to Boston after spurning Bruins||04.18.13 at 5:42 pm ET|
It isn’t the way that people may have expected at around 10:30 p.m. on March 27, but Jarome Iginla is coming to Boston.
Just over three weeks after squashing a trade to the Bruins, Iginla will take the Garden ice Friday with the Penguins, the team he told Flames general manager Jay Feaster to deal him to after Feaster had told the Bruins they had the player.
The story is ancient history by now: Iginla, in the final year of his deal, told the Flames he would waive his no-trade clause for the Bruins, Penguins, Kings or Blackhawks. The Bruins submitted an offer of Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Bartkowski and their first-round pick this year, and Feaster told Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli around noon of the 27th that the deal was done. Both sides scratched their players that night, but Iginla told Feaster he’d only go to the Penguins. Feaster avoided Chiarelli’s calls throughout the day, finally calling him back to say that Iginla wanted to be a Penguin and that the Flames were forced to make a deal with them.
So how do you think he’ll be accepted Friday?
“I’m sure the fans are going to be all over him,” Milan Lucic said Thursday. “I think it will just increase this rivalry that is kind of increasing as this season’s gone on.”
Yet as fired up as the fans may be to give Iginla a hard time, the Bruins say there are no hard feelings. There should be obvious motivation to prove Iginla’s decision wrong, but the B’s insist they weren’t offended by the veteran power forward’s refusal to play in Boston.
“We’ve put that behind us,” Brad Marchand said. “We can’t let that affect us. We can’t let that determine how we’re going to play tomorrow. He felt that they have a good team, and they do. They’ve got some great players over there. That’s fine. That’s his decision. We can’t hold that against him. He’s got a certain level of respect that he’s owed. He’s played a long time in this league, and for him to make that decision, that’s fine. We’re not going to judge him for that. It’s not going to alter or determine how we play tomorrow.”
Marchand said the whole ordeal was made easier by the acquisition of Jaromir Jagr, a former Penguin himself who adds his own twist to the rivalry. Jagr has seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games for the Bruins, while Iginla has two goals and four assists for six points through eight games for Pittsburgh.
“The team did a great job at bouncing back and getting another great player. He’s one of the best players to ever play the game,” Marchand said. “'¦ We’re lucky to have Jags here.”
Not only did Jagr not think the Stars would trade him, but he too thought that Iginla was a Bruin when reports of the deal began surfacing. He played 11 seasons as a Penguin and ruffled feathers when he opted to sign with the rival Flyers rather than going to where he began his career when he returned to the NHL prior to last season. Between being the consolation prize in the Iginla derby and his history with Pittsburgh, there should be plenty of reasons for him get up for Friday’s game. He has another in mind.
“They’re first in our conference,” Jagr said. “Maybe we’re going to meet them in the playoffs, so we have to do our best to show them that we can play against them.”
|Peter Chiarelli expects Chris Kelly to return to Bruins ‘soon’||04.03.13 at 5:30 pm ET|
Bruins center Chris Kelly skated for the third consecutive day when he took the ice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. Kelly has been out since suffering a broken tibia on March 11 against the Senators and was ruled out indefinitely at the time, though general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday that the center is nearing a return.
“He’ll be back soon,” Chiarelli said of Kelly. “I know you’d like a little more detail, but I’m satisfied with his prospective return date and he’ll be playing for us soon.”
Chiarelli said that knowing Kelly would be back in the lineup in short order impacted his approach at the trade deadline. The Bruins, who lost Patrice Bergeron for the time being with a concussion, didn’t add any centers, though recently acquired winger Kaspars Daugavins can play in the middle.
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|After getting Jaromir Jagr, Peter Chiarelli still looking at more trades for Bruins||04.02.13 at 7:02 pm ET|
Chiarelli said that despite this year’s market being difficult given the lack of surefire sellers, he expects more players to be made available in the hours and minutes leading up to the deadline. Jagr is a good example of that, as the Stars didn’t notify teams that they would trade the veteran winger until Monday night.
'It's never done,” Chiarelli said. “We'll see what happens. The thought going into [Wednesday] if nothing was done [Tuesday] was that, for example, if we didn't get Jaromir that there were players that would come about and you would have … there always are players that come up at the last minute. You don't like to be surprised that way, but you're prepared for it. I'd imagine that there will players like that [Wednesday]. If there's something that we think could help us in the proper context, then we'll take a look at it.'
The Bruins still have the cap space ($5.9 million as is and about $10 million if they put Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve) and the resources to make more moves. They traded Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne in the Jagr deal, but neither of those players were significant pieces. They also gave up a 2013 second-round pick, which will become a 2013 first-round pick if the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference finals.
So as the Bruins go about talking to other teams leading up to the deadline, they have less to work with than before, but still plenty. Chiarelli said not being able to offer a hard first-rounder given its potential inclusion in the Stars trade makes the process “encumbered to a certain degree,” but he noted that they can still trade the pick as long as they make it conditional as well. Chiarelli used the example of trading their first-rounder under the condition that if the pick vests in the Stars trade, it would become a 2014 pick in the other trade.
What Chiarelli said he’s been most pleased to learn is that different teams have asked about different players in potential trades. The proof there is the fact that the Bruins were going to trade Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski (along with a first-round pick) to the Flames for Jarome Iginla. Neither player ended up being included in the Jagr trade and are still available to either be moved in another trade or held onto by the B’s.
'In this process to this player and the other player [Iginla], and this whole trade period, teams have been asking for a lot of our different prospects,” Chiarelli said. “So if there’s anything I can take away from this, it’s that our prospects have some good value.'
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the media shortly before Tuesday night’s game against the Senators to discuss the team’s acquisition of Jaromir Jagr. The Bruins sent Lane MacDermid, the rights to 2012 fifth-rounder Cody Payne and a conditional second-round pick to the Stars in exchange for the 41-year-old.
“He’s a terrific player who’s won some Cups and has been a superstar player,” Chiarelli said. “I liken it a little to — and I told Jaromir this, too — the addition of Mark Recchi. You don’t have to be the guy, but you’re an important piece and you can band together with your teammates. You’ve got the experience, you’ve got a certain skillset, size or whatever you want to call it that will benefit the rest of the group. But really, you’ve won, you have experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that.”
Chiarelli said the Bruins had scouted Jagr since he returned to the NHL, but never pursued him in free agency over the last two years. They expressed interest in trading for Jagr earlier in the season, but didn’t know whether the Stars would make him available. Despite the uncertainty, Chiarelli said that the teams were able to put together “ground work” for a deal, which made it easy to complete after the Stars made it known Monday night that Jagr was available. The teams wrapped up the deal Tuesday morning.
This season, Jagr has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points. He figures to fit in on the right wing of either David Krejci’s line or the third line with Rich Peverley.
“I do know the options, but well have to see how he fits in,” he said. “Obviously there’s a need on the third line, but he’s got a higher line pedigree. What I said to Jaromir was that we pride ourselves on four strong lines. He’s an important part, but not the part to success, so he could be on the third. There are times when our fourth line has been our third line and vice versa, so it depends on who’s going, but we try to even it out, and he seemed very receptive to that.”
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