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Peter Chiarelli explains changes made to scouting department 08.30.13 at 6:20 pm ET
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Friday’s press conference to announce Peter Chiarelli‘s four-year extension with the Bruins was marked with praise from team president Cam Neely and alternate governor Charlie Jacobs, but Chiarelli addressed one change he made to his staff this offseason.

Chiarelli’s tenure with the Bruins has been very successful, with two Stanley Cup finals appearances and one Cup victory, but Chiarelli seemed to acknowledge the team’s lackluster record with drafting when he replaced director of amateur scooting Wayne Smith with Keith Gretzky.

The reason behind the move was pretty obvious: The Bruins haven’t really drafted well of late. From 2007 until today, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton — both of whom were selected in the top 10 — are the only players selected in the first round that have since become NHL regulars.

Chiarelli has done well in trading his picks, as he’s moved picks to get the likes of Chris Kelly, Jaromir Jagr and, on a more forgettable note, Tomas Kaberle. Still, it’s clear that in order for the Bruins to remain competitive in the years beyond the primes of their current stars, they’ll need to improve their success rate in the draft. Chiarelli feels they’re positioned to do that.

“Keith has had some success in Phoenix in that position and we brought him on board,” Chiarelli said. “I wanted to broaden the scope of our amateur scouting and I felt that he was the best person to do that and that fits in to what I was saying ‘€“ it’€™s obvious we want more young players to be ready to play. You’€™ll be seeing some in the next two or three years, there are some good ones that are coming.

“You’€™ve heard about the [Ryan] Spooners, the [Anthony] Camaras, the [Malcolm] Subbans. There are some players that are coming but that was the impetus behind that decision. I wanted to broaden the scope, broaden meaning beyond a certain region and that is part and parcel why we hired [P.J.] Axelsson. There are a lot of good players in Sweden and we wanted to broaden our scope there too.”

September will be an interesting month for the young players already in the system, as the likes of Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Carter Camper, among others, will all compete for a vacant bottom-six spot.

“We have to get ‘€“ you know, we’€™re going to see an influx of young players this year,” Chiarelli said. “They’€™re going to get a chance, not just the ones that we have seen last year but the other guys are going to get a chance. We’€™re going to have to make room and find players because to make the commitments that we did to our core, although the cap is going to go up, you have to have flexibility, you have to have the other players coming. So that scenario I would like to improve on.”

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Peter Chiarelli’s best and worst moves as Bruins general manager 08.29.13 at 7:31 pm ET
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Why are the Bruins so good? Duh, it’s because they’re from Boston and they all “get it” and nobody else wants to win as badly as they do.

Nope, it’s because they have a really good roster and a really good coach. The man responsible for that was rewarded on Thursday, as the B’s announced a four-year extension for general manager Peter Chiarelli. Since coming to the Bruins in 2006, Chiarelli has revamped the roster and taken the Bruins from cellar-dwellers to annual Stanley Cup contenders and 2011 champs.

Though he often flies under the radar, Chiarelli has established himself as one of the best (if not the best) general managers in Boston in recent memory. He hasn’t been perfect, but he also hasn’t been afraid to do the unpopular thing. He’s made big moves (trading Phil Kessel and later Tyler Seguin) and he’s made smaller splashes where fans were calling for bigger ones (Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley).

It’s easy to forget how these Bruins rosters came about over the years, so here’s a look at Chiarelli’s best and worst moves as B’s general manager.

BEST MOVES

(Definitely not) signing Zdeno Chara

Chiarelli, who was working as the assistant general manager of the Senators, was hired by the Bruins on May 26, 2006, though he couldn’t begin working for the Bruins until July 15. Senators free agent defenseman Zdeno Chara, who highly respected Chiarelli, turned down a nice offer from the Kings and signed with the Bruins on July 1. So too did Marc Savard, which makes for a rare case in which a team was able to build itself into a contender via free agency in a salary cap league (Drew Brees with the Saints also comes to mind).

Technically, it was interim general manager Jeff Gorton who made those signings — technically — but in getting Chiarelli, the Bruins were able to get Chara, and he has been the biggest piece of this whole thing.

(It should be noted that the Bruins made some important moves under Gorton. Chiarelli was actually sitting at the Senators’ table when the Bruins “reached” for Milan Lucic with the 50th overall pick, took Brad Marchand 71st overall and traded for some kid named Tuukka Rask.)

Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew

The Bruins moved two-thirds of their return from the Joe Thornton deal (they’d later trade Marco Sturm for, in Chiarelli’s words, “nothing”) so it had to hurt some B’s fans to not see them get huge names for what they’d gotten for a Hart winner, but Ference ended up being a major part of both Cup runs for the Bruins. He was the unsung hero of the 2011 championship team and played a big role in neutralizing the Penguins when the B’s allowed just two goals to them in the Eastern Conference finals last season. Factor in what he did for team chemistry and his contributions to the community, and Ference was worth both the trade and the three-year, $6.75 million extension the B’s gave him.

Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and Tampa Bay’s 2010 second-round pick for Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski

We’ll see what happens with second-round pick Alex Petrovic in Florida, but Bitz has played 17 NHL games since the 2010 trade, while Weller played last season in Germany. Meanwhile, the Bruins got a top-pairing defenseman in Seidenberg and a very good young defenseman in Bartkowski, who scored in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs and should stick in the NHL this season.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Peter Chiarelli, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins give Peter Chiarelli four-year extension at 2:50 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Thursday that they have given general manager Peter Chiarelli a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2017-18 season. Chiarelli was entering the final year of his current contract.

The Bruins have reached the postseason in six of Chiarelli’s seven seasons as general manager and have reached the Stanley Cup finals twice, winning it all in 2011. He is one of three general managers to win a Cup with the Bruins, as they won multiple Cups under Art Ross and Milt Schmidt.

The Harvard graduate served as a player agent after getting his law degree and passing the bar following his playing days. He then joined the Senators, where he was the director of legal relations before becoming assistant to the general manager.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Peter Chiarelli added to Team Canada management 08.25.13 at 6:15 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has been added to Team Canada’s Olympic management staff, something that became official Sunday as Olympic hopefuls (46 players) met in Calgary for a three-day orientation.

Chiarelli isn’t the only Bruins representation at the camp, as Claude Julien is an associate coach, while Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are among the players in attendance.

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Peter Chiarelli on Salk & Holley: Bruins got better in offseason 07.17.13 at 5:34 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli joined Salk & Holley on Wednesday, discussing a busy shakeup of his roster this offseason that most notably saw him trade former second overall pick Tyler Seguin to the Stars in a deal that brought Loui Eriksson to Boston.

Chiarelli said that though he had publicly questioned Seguin’s professionalism, he felt that he was a “good teammate.” Much was made of Seguin’s partying — a concern the team brought to his attention during the first round of the playoffs before hiring a guard to stand outside his hotel room to make sure he didn’t leave — but Chiarelli said Seguin’s off-ice issues weren’t major.

“He liked to be out,” Chiarelli said. “That doesn’t mean he was out drinking or out late. I know he was at times, but he liked to live life. I respect that.”

The issue, Chiarelli said, was that the Bruins ultimately couldn’t wait for Seguin to reach his potential with their best player’s prime years going by. Chiarelli admitted that with captain Zdeno Chara (36 years old) not getting any younger, the team is in more of a win-now mode, which made swapping Seguin for the established Eriksson (27) more appealing.

“Not that we’re in a window — because hopefully this window will be added to and we’ll keep going and replenishing our players — but [Seguin's] a natural center and a guy that we got out of a trade that brought good returns in Tyler and Dougie [Hamilton] and Jared Knight, but he was an elite player that was pushed down our lineup because of where we were as a team,” Chiarelli said. “If you can recall his first year, year and a half, he was. It was almost like he was too soon for his time on our team. That was part of it.”

Chiarelli said that he believes Seguin will be successful in Dallas, but he isn’t afraid that the B’s will regret the trade because of what they’re getting back in Eriksson.

“I have a good idea of what Tyler will become and I don’t worry about it. You’ve got to know what you’re getting and how that will help you win now. There’s a real good chance that Tyler becomes a star. When we traded Phil [Kessel] I said publicly that this guy’s at least a 35-goal-scorer, a 40-goal-scorer. We knew what we were trading, but it’s about what you’re getting back and how you can win with it.”

As for Nathan Horton’s decision not to re-sign with the Bruins, Chiarelli shared that the team’s intention was to bring Horton back. In years past, the GM had shared that he’d told players to test the market (Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle) prior to their departure, but Chiarelli long being on record of wanting Horton return seems to indicate that Horton’s decision to not even negotiate with the B’s was a personal one.

The offseason has seen the Bruins trade Seguin and Rich Peverley for Eriksson and three prospects, lose Horton, Andrew Ference and Anton Khudobin to free agency, not re-sign Jaromir Jagr and bring in Jarome Iginla and goaltender Chad Johnson via free agency. The team has also signed Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask to eight-year contracts. Asked if he felt the Bruins are better now than they were last season, Chiarelli said he did.

“I think we are,” he said. “We lose a little on the character and speed from the outset, but I thought we gained it back with Iginla and got more natural wingers. I think we’re a better team. If it’s a wash as far as the additions and subtractions, I think our team gets better because our core is getting older and stronger and better.”

Read More: Nathan Horton, Peter Chiarelli, Tyler Seguin,
Don Cherry on D&C: Tyler Seguin ‘one step away from being a superstar’ 07.08.13 at 10:55 am ET
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Hockey Night in Canada legend Don Cherry joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Bruins’ trade of Tyler Seguin to the Stars.

Cherry remains high on Seguin, despite the Bruins losing patience with him.

“Something must have happened there to get rid of a kid like that,” Cherry said after reviewing Seguin’s statistics. “I’m sure he’s going to go to Dallas, he’s going to play center, and look out — I’m telling you, this kid is one step away from being a superstar. You’ll see next year. But hey, he got in the bad book somehow.

“You have to watch. The Bruins have a real image of being tough — tough to play against. Nineteen Canadians on the club, and every one of them are rough guys. ‘€¦ So, they have to watch that they don’t lose that little grit. Because most teams are afraid to go in and play Boston.”

As for reports that Seguin was too immature off the ice, Cherry said he can understand how a 21-year-old would want to spend some time out on the town.

“Look, I don’t know what happened. But I’m just saying I know I’d go out, if I was 21 years old after a game I would go to a bar, too,” Cherry said, questioning why the off-ice issues became public.

Added Cherry: “If a guy can get me 30 goals on right wing, and he’s a natural center, and he’s a little problem off the ice, I wouldn’t mind that. I’d try to settle that out a little. ‘€¦ Listen, the Bruins were in the finals. They did pretty good, so [Peter] Chiarelli must be doing something right. But you’re asking me my opinion, I would have never given up on a [21]-year-old kid that got 30 goals the year before playing in his wrong position.”

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Read More: Don Cherry, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Chiarelli
Bruins coach Claude Julien a man of low profile, high achievement 07.04.13 at 10:30 am ET
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Claude Julien‘s New Jersey Devils had just defeated the Bruins, 3-1. Winners of four of their last five, with their stars finally healthy, the Devils stood second overall in the Eastern Conference with 102 points and appeared poised to make another extended postseason run.

“They are a good example of one of the best defensive teams in hockey,” Bruins coach Dave Lewis said during the postgame press conference. The defeat marked the eighth loss in the Bruins’€™ last nine games, and Boston was firmly entrenched in the basement of the Northeast Division.

The game was played on April 1, 2007. The next day, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello fired Julien. The biggest blemish for a coach in the National Hockey League is to lose his players. The loss of the coach’s job, naturally, soon follows. Speculation ran rampant that Julien had lost control of the players in the dressing room.

The reason for Julien’€™s dismissal in New Jersey, in Lamoriello’€™s eyes, was not complicated.

“I don’€™t think we’€™re at a point,” Lamoriello explained in 2007, “of being ready both mentally and [physically] to play the way that is necessary going into the playoffs.” Lamoriello, recognized as one of the finest executives in hockey since the day he arrived in East Rutherford in 1987, already had led to the Devils to three Stanley Cups. His words against Julien — a man whose life was completely intertwined with hockey — were condemning. He had lost his players.

A REBUILD IN BOSTON

Move ahead six years, and the Bruins, having just swept the extremely talented Penguins, huddled together to accept the Prince of Wales trophy. A collection of superstars, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, were no match for Julien’€™s well-balanced team.

In the midst of the ensuing postgame celebration, Julien was asked what going to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in three years meant to him. “What it means to us,” the polite Julien corrected, “it means a lot.”

While slowly silencing detractors, Julien has built a family on the ice in Boston. He is the longest-tenured Bruins coach since Milt Schmidt, who guided the Bruins from 1954 until 1961. Since his hire in 2007, Julien has won more playoff games (50) than any other coach except for Detroit’€™s Mike Babcock (51). Two more victories would have catapulted Julien atop that list, as well as captured another Stanley Cup for his Bruins. Yet the man born in Blind River, Ontario, does not care to hear about his success or tell you how much he knows about the game. He has no time to share anecdotes from his playing days. Even after a painful defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks, his narrow lens is focused entirely on the ice.

“Our team likes to deflect credit,” says Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “The humble roots of Claude and the team, it’€™s an important part of our makeup. It starts from the top and works its way down.”

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Read More: Claude Jluien, Lou Lamoriello, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Chiarelli
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