|Chiarelli: ‘disturbed when they talk about us being cheap’||09.04.09 at 12:44 pm ET|
While Claude Julien’s contract extension was the big Bruins announcement of the day on Friday morning, B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the ongoing saga of restricted free agent Phil Kessel, who remains unsigned with training camp less than two weeks away.
Chiarelli fired away at Kessel’s agent Wade Arnott for creating a “bit of a media war” and using some of the tools in his agent arsenal to coax the wheels of progress moving in negotiations. Arnott had told reporters that the Bruins had only submitted one contract proposal for Kessel prior to the NHL draft, and that it was quickly dismissed.
When talking cold, hard salary figures, the B’s head front office man also preached “balance” within the Kessel negotiations, and noted how important it is to hold down the inflationary nature of the “second contract” that hockey players like Kessel are getting after their rookie entry level deals.
Chiarelli even joked that he should ‘just give (Kessel) a pailful of money and it will be done.’
‘It’s a different system now. It really is a different system now and to be a hard-liner so to speak, you have to keep in mind what these players make after their entry-level contracts,” said Chiarelli. “The percentage of increase is huge. And what it does is it throws everything else out of whack. So there’s a balance that you have to keep. And Phil’s a terrific young player.
‘And I’m responsible to our team and the fact that there’s a fixed-cost system that may go down, all parties considered have to look at the team, have to look at their own interest and you see more sacrifices made on both sides now. These are things that a lot of people don’t understand or they fail to look at. It’s a lot more of a balancing act now than ever.
‘Hey, if you’re pushed toward the cap, you’re in a position where you have to balance it even more. That’s the position that we’re in. I’ve said publicly and I’ll say it again that I want Phil to be on our team. And I’ll do everything I can do to put him on our team, within reason, with the balance that I’m talking about. If it means moving players, I’ll do it. If it means matching offer sheets I’ll do it.’
Chiarelli has never had a holdout during his tenure as the GM of the Bruins and deservedly has earned plaudits for taking care of young potential free agents like Patrice Bergeron, Dennis Wideman and David Krejci with lucrative contracts in the recent past. But there’s only so much cash growing under the salary cap tree, and NHL teams simply can’t hold on to every single one of their puck assets from season-to-season.
Kessel and his representation see a player who should make something comparable to fellow young scorers like Alexander Semin, David Booth and Jeff Carter ($4-5 million on a multi-year contract), and the B’s brass was surely hoping that Kessel would take something in the Zach Parise neighborhood ($3.125 million a year) for the greater good of the hockey club.
Chiarelli vowed that a potential training camp holdout wouldn’t affect a tight-knit, veteran group in the B’s dressing room, and revealed the only thing that bugged him was the notion that the Black and Gold are being too frugal with their funds. In this era of the NHL, according to the Bruins G.M., it’s got nothing to do with being spendthrift or affluent. It’s just about squeezing under the cap with as many assets as possible, and it’s difficult to see how they’ll be able to do that if Kessel seeks market value.
‘It becomes a distraction because the other party starts making it a distraction,’ he said. ‘I understand all the tools of their trade, too. I used to be an agent. So you deal with it. We have a strong room, we’ve got strong leadership. It’s just part of the game.
‘I just get a little disturbed when they talk about us being cheap. Because it’s not about that. Look at some of the second contracts we’ve given ‘ Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci. It’s not about that. It’s about a balance.’
|Sharks free up cap space for Phil Kessel?||08.28.09 at 3:36 pm ET|
Interesting roster movements made on Friday afternoon by the San Jose Sharks, who have been rumored to be in the Dany Heatley derby this summer while looking to peddle Patrick Marleau after another underachieving postseason. Sharks GM Ron Wilson dealt away a pair of middle-class hockey players to the Vancouver Canucks for two young skaters, and freed up roughly $4.65 million in salary cap space for the upcoming season in the process.
Defenseman/power play specialist Christian Ehrhoff has two years left on his contract at $3.1 million per year and forward Brad Lukowich has a $1.567 million cap hit in his final season before unrestricted free agency, and the two players San Jose got in return (University of Minnesota forward Patrick White and AHL player Daniel Rahimi) aren’t expected to be big role players for the upcoming season.
So the Sharks freed up $4.667 in salary cap space while heading into the last few weeks of the off-season, and require at least two more forward spots to round up their NHL roster among the top 12-forwards for next season. It doesn’t take a noted puckologist to assume that Dany Heatley and Phil Kessel are two of the best skill forwards still hanging out there in hockey limbo, and the Sharks have been rumored to be in the Kessel run at several different points over the last few months.
“This trade speaks to the confidence we have in the young players coming up through our system who have earned the right to compete for a spot on this team,’ said Sharks GM Doug Wilson in discussing the deal. ‘It also creates some flexibility in our team payroll for potential future transactions as the season progresses and adds two more talented players to our reserve list that can help this organization in the future.’
The $4.667 million in payroll flexibility also fits in roughly with what Kessel was expected to be looking for in a multi-year deal this summer while rehabbing right shoulder surgery. That figure is far from the $5 million per year Jeff Carter-type money that some assumed Kessel and agent Wade Arnott were chasing after, and is pretty close to what Kessel comparables like David Booth and Alexander Semin are currently making in terms of player salary.
The 21-year-old sniper is expected to miss all of October while recovering fully from the rotator cuff/labrum surgery, and will be hard-pressed to match his 36-goal output from last season given the injury situation. During his recent participation in the Team USA Orientation Camp, Kessel indicated that he’d like something in the neighborhood of a three-year deal and expected that his deal would be done by the beginning of the NHL season on Oct. 1. Adding to the intrigue is that Kessel’s name doesn’t appear on a quick afternoon perusal of the team’s roster on www.bostonbruins.com, though that doesn’t mean anything definitively (Kessel was added back to the online roster by the early morning hours of Saturday).
Arnott told WEEI.com in an interview earlier this summer that Kessel was willing to be “creative” in terms of contract discussions, and that his client had directed him to get a deal done with the Bruins before entertaining offers from other teams.
The $4.65 million is probably right around where Kessel expected his payday to be at the beginning of this summer, as his numbers and service time are pretty much right in lock-step with Florida Panthers forwar David Booth. Booth signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract this summer amid the current hockey economy that’s going to pay him $4.25 million annually for the next six seasons.
The chances of Kessel getting awarded that kind of salary from the Bruins are “slim and none” as long as fellow teams avoid the option of signing the talented young restricted free agent to an offer sheet — but perhaps that’s about to change with the Sharks payroll shed on Friday afternoon. Wilson told reporters that the money was freed up to make moves “as the season progresses”, but it remains to be seen whether that means a new home for Kessel riding shotgun with Jumbo Joe Thornton.
|Team USA invitees donate youth hockey equipment||08.18.09 at 6:48 pm ET|
As part of the Team USA Olympic hockey team orientation camp taking place in Woodridge, Ill., this week, each of the 34 National Hockey League players attending attending the camp this week will donate 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment to a lucky youth hockey organization of their choice. The equipment was purchased by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), through its Goals & Dreams fund, in cooperation with USA Hockey and OneGoal.
As part of the Tuesday afternoon announcement at the orientation camp, 35 children had the opportunity to use OneGoal equipment and play hockey for the first time with a group of Olympic hopeful heroes.
“We’d like to thank the NHLPA for its gift of equipment to our local programs,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “Their generosity helps further opportunities for young children to try our great sport without financial duress.”
“NHLPA members are very proud to be involved with this initiative,” said Paul Kelly, NHLPA executive director. “The players’ Goals & Dreams program is focused on providing future generations with the opportunity to play the great game of hockey, so this is a fitting collaboration with OneGoal and USA Hockey.”
Listed below are the NHL players attending USA Hockey’s Men’s Olympic Orientation Camp and the programs they’ve designated to receive their 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment — including Bruins players Phil Kessel and Tim Thomas. Both B’s players donated the hockey equipment to youth organizations from their hometown stomping grounds with Kessel donating to the Madison Capitals in Madison, Wi., and Thomas donating his share of hockey stuff to the Flint Icelanders of Flint, Mi.
Ron Hainsey, Jonathan Quick and Chris Drury all donated hockey equipment to younth hockey groups in Connecticute, and Massachusetts native and BU alum Ryan Whitney donated his allottment of equipment to South Boston Youth Hockey.
ABOUT THE NHLPA’S GOALS & DREAMS FUND
In 1999, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. The players’ program has donated full sets of hockey equipment to more than 13,000 economically disadvantaged children in 19 countries and assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, Goals & Dreams has donated more than $17-million to grassroots hockey programs around the world making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA and the Goals & Dreams fund, visit www.nhlpa.com.
OneGoal is a nonprofit organization founded by the major hockey equipment manufacturers, with support from USA Hockey, the NHL, the NHLPA, Hockey Canada and the NHL Alumni Association. Its goal is to positively affect the growth of hockey, particularly at entry level ages (four-to-eight year-olds). OneGoal seeks to accomplish its goals through media campaigns that provide visibility and key messaging for hockey and also through its OneGoal starter equipment program.
Each set of starter equipment includes a helmet with face shield, chest protector, elbow pads, gloves, pants and shin pads. Youth organizations and rinks are able to purchase the OneGoal starter equipment sets at a minimal cost and lend them to prospective entry level players to significantly reduce the cost to try the sport. For more information, visit OneGoal.com.
Organizations Designated To Receive OneGoal Equipment
David Backes, Spring Lake Park Youth Hockey, Blaine, Minn.
David Booth, Hockey Ministries International, Montreal, Que.
Dustin Brown, Ithaca Youth Hockey Association, Ithaca, N.Y.
Dustin Byfuglien, Roseau Youth Hockey, Roseau, Minn.
Ryan Callahan, Rochester Youth Hockey, Rochester, N.Y.
Chris Drury, Wonderland Wizards, Orange, Conn.
Tom Gilbert, Bloomington Jefferson Youth Hockey, Bloomington, Minn.
Tim Gleason, Honeybaked, Farmington Hills, Mich.
Scott Gomez, Scott Gomez Foundation, Anchorage, Alaska
Ron Hainsey, Eastern Connecticut Hockey Organization, Manchester, Conn.
Erik Johnson, Bloomington Athletic Hockey Association, Bloomington, Minn.
Jack Johnson, Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Patrick Kane, Cazenovia Park Hockey Association, Buffalo, N.Y.
Ryan Kesler, Livonia Hockey Association, Livonia, Mich.
Phil Kessel, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Mike Komisarek, Suffolk P.A.L., Hauppauge, N.Y.
Jamie Langenbrunner, Cloquet Hockey Association, Cloquet, Minn.
Ryan Malone, TBA, TBA
Paul Martin, Elk River Youth Hockey Association, Elk River, Minn.
Ryan Miller, Great Lansing Amateur Hockey Association, Lansing, Mich.
Mike Modano, Junior Stars Hockey Association, Dallas, Texas
Kyle Okposo, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Brooks Orpik, Hockey in the Hood, Sewickley, Pa.
T.J. Oshie, Warroad Youth Hockey, Warroad, Minn.
Zach Parise, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Joe Pavelski, Portage County Youth On Ice, Stevens Point, Wis.
Jonathan Quick, Hamden Youth Hockey, Hamden, Conn.
Brian Rafalski, Wyandotte Youth Hockey, Wyandotte, Mich.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Junior Ducks, Anaheim, Calif.
Rob Scuderi, Freeport Arrows, Bellmore, N.Y.
Paul Stastny, Chesterfield Hockey Association, Chesterfield, Mo.
Ryan Suter, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Tim Thomas, Flint Icelanders, Flint, Mich.
Ryan Whitney, South Boston Youth Hockey, South Boston, Mass.
|Thomas and Kessel commence Team USA tryouts||at 11:59 am ET|
Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Tim Thomas and unsigned sniper Phil Kessel are the only two Bruins representatives attending Team USA Orientation Camp this week at the Seven Bridges Arena in Woodridge, Il. — and both players were among the 34 skaters invited to appear Monday for workouts and team-bonding exercises leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Kessel, a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, is mired in a contract stalemate with the B’s that clearly isn’t headed for a quick ending. The increasingly rare chance that another team swoops in with a $4-5 million per year offer sheet for Kessel could change the tenor of negotiations, or the 21-year-old winger could drop all contractual demands and agree to something in the neighborhood of David Krejci money (three years for $3.75 per year).
Unless either of those things happen — and both seem to have long shot chances of happening — then it could be an address-changing trade that ends up shifting some movement from one or both sides, as Kessel clearly wants his contract situation resolved before the NHL regular season begins in October.
In some interesting comments made to the USA Today’s Kevin Allen on Monday, Kessel said that he fully expects to be signed — one way or the other — by the time the regular season begins on Oct. 1. There had been some speculation that last season’s 36-goal scorer would be A) out until December with rotator cuff/labrum surgery on his right shoulder and B) could hold out until Dec. 1 before finalizing his contract.
Kessel put that notion to bed on Monday, and said that he intends to be ready for game-action by early-to-mid November. According to the player, he already has 95 percent strength in his shoulder. and should be ready to skate some time in September.
The young B’s winger also admitted that the two sides are in something of a “stalemate”, but that some kind of resolution will be made when the NHL season commences on Oct. 1. It’s been a very civilized negotiation between agent Wade Arnott and B’s GM Peter Chiarelli thus far, and Chiarelli has already made statements that Kessel will be returning to Boston next season barring an outlandish offer sheet from another NHL team. To this date, there hasn’t been one offer sheet given to an RFA player this summer.
“It’s at a stalemate and I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “‘¦I think it could go either way at this point.”
Is there a date that Kessel expects to sign by?
“There is no date,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “Either way it will get done before the season for sure.”
Fellow 21-year-old young gun Anze Kopitar struck it rich with the LA Kings for a multi-year deal that’s going to pay him $6.8 million per season for the next seven years, but a better comp for Kessel continues to be Florida Panthers forward David Booth. Booth has similar service time and stats to Kessel, and inked a market-setting six-year, $25.5 million deal this summer as a restricted free agent.
The cap hit amounts to $4.25 million per season for the Panthers, and that is exactly what just about every hockey observer outside the negotiations felt that the young B’s superstar would eventually settle in for. It remains to be seen when that actually happens, but it’s safe to say it’ll be in September if Kessel has his druthers.
|Recchi reveals he’ll probably retire after the 2009-10 NHL season||07.03.09 at 1:12 pm ET|
Mark Recchi talked about his one-year, $1 million deal to return to the Boston Bruins for the 2009-10 season on a Friday afternoon conference call, and said that next season in Black and Gold will “probably” be his 21st and final NHL campaign. The veteran doesn’t see his role as being any different next season, and Recchi said he was looking forward to skating with Patrice Bergeron and Chuck Kobasew again and playing a role on the B’s power play.
The 41-year-old has a pair of Stanley Cup rings — one with the Pittsburgh Penguins and another with the Carolina Hurricanes — but returned to Boston with the feeling that he may be able to go out of his playing career on top of the hockey world next season. Recchi has authored 545 goals in a Hall of Fame-level career with a handful of NHL teams, and said it was his “first priority” to return to Boston and wrap up some unfinished business with a dressing room full of hungry hockey players.
“I think this is probably going to be it,” said Recchi, who finished with 16 points in 18 games after being traded to the B’s on March 4 last season. “I want to go out and finish it off right by winning another championship and help this team be successful. I’d say this will probably be it. I’ve got my family situation I’ve got to consider and kids I’ve got to consider. It’s been a great run. I think I want to give it one more chance.
“My personal things have all been done in my career, and I’m playing for one more ring. That’s the most important thing for me. The reason I liked Boston is that 99 percent of the guys on that team, I felt, wanted to win that Cup. That’s the most important thing to everybody in that dressing room.”
As I wrote yesterday, the Recchi signing leaves the Bruins with roughly $4.3 million under next season’s $56.8 million salary cap, and B’s GM Peter Chiarelli still has RFAs Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick to negotiate deals with. It would appear that both can’t be signed — and perhaps not even Kessel alone — with the amount of room left under the cap, and that a deal to trade away an NHL-level player off the Bruins is imminent.
Recchi acknowledged that there is some unknown as to what will eventually happen with Kessel’s future (“a dynamic player” said Recchi), but also sympathized with the tough decisions that Chiarelli is surrounded by amid fiscal limitations.
“It’s tough right now with the salary cap. You build a good team and then you have to let people go or you have to make moves to restock again. It has to be really frustrating for GMs now, but it is what it is. He’s done a tremendous job. I think the biggest thing is that he’s got his goaltender and he’s got the core of his defense settled in and the core of his centermen settled in — which is how you build a franchise.
“If you’ve got those guys then you fit the other pieces all-around and I think he’s going to do a great job of that.”
|Chiarelli: ‘We have room to sign our guys tonight’||06.30.09 at 3:37 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters, and confirmed that the team has enough room under the salary cap to sign all of their restricted free agents prior to the July 1 deadline for RFAs.
After July 1 the Bruins RFAs (Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick, Byron Bitz) can begin accepting offer sheets from opposing NHL teams, and Chiarelli said that it’s a roll of the dice that the Bruins are willing to take. Chiarelli is surely taking into account the fact that teams can go 10 percent over the salary cap in the summer, but must fit snugly under the $56.8 cap number before the start of the 2009-10 hockey season.
The “read-and-react” philosophy that Chiarelli is employing is one that your humble hockey writer opined about on Monday, and it looks as if there won’t be any Kessel trade in the works over the next couple of days. Instead the B’s GM is fine with watching how things play out when the July 1 free agent shopping period begins, and players like Kessel can be wooed by other teams.
It was assumed that Chiarelli couldn’t fit Kessel’s $5 million per season salary demands under the cap, but perhaps the 21-year-old sniper is asking for something closer to $4.25-4.5 million. Either way, Chiarelli said he doesn’t anticipate coming to terms with any of his free agents prior to Wednesday.
‘We have room (under the cap) to sign our guys at what they’re asking tonight, but we’re not going to do it,” said Chiarelli. “There’s a risk allowing these guys to go out unsigned into the market place, I understand that. That’s a risk we’re willing to take and we’re also willing to continue to negotiate.’
Other tidbits from the conference call:
–Chiarelli restated that his No. 1 priority in a world with no salary cap would be another No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman to ease some of the pressure off Zdeno Chara in terms of on-ice minutes.
‘My (wish) list would probably include an impact defenseman, either a 1 or a 2 (pairing). It’s more minutes to sort of ease the pressure on Zdeno (Chara),” said Chiarelli. “Z can play both (the right or left) side, and it’s not just (getting a right-handed shot).
“If we don’t do anything with our ‘D’ then I’m happy with it. You have to remember that two of our defenseman didn’t play in the last series (against Carolina) and I feel that’s a big part that’s missing. Let’s say I don’t have that (imaginary) $12 million or whatever, I’m happy with where I’m at defensively. If I don’t do anything defensively, then I’d like to get some size on the wing.”
–Both Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz have arbitration rights as RFAs and have until 5 p.m. on July 5 to opt for arbitration with the Bruins concerning their contracts.
–Peter Schaefer has cleared waivers and the Bruins have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to decide whether they’ll but out the remainder of his contract. Schaefer was scheduled to make $2.1 million this coming season, but Chiarelli said Schaefer’s contract settlement would amount to an approximate $566,667 salary cap hit for the next two seasons.
UPDATE: The Bruins sent out a release on Tuesday evening that announced the Bruins were buying out Schaefer’s contract, and the B’s will have an additional $566,667 cap hit on the books for the next two seasons. Schaefer is now a free agent capable of signing with any other NHL team.
|Thomas and Kessel invited to Team USA camp||at 12:50 pm ET|
A pair of Boston Bruins players have received the worthy honor of potentially playing for a Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue of the United States. It just remains to be seen if both players remain members of the Bruins by the time the Olympics actually get here in February.
USA Hockey announced on Tuesday that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and forward Phil Kessel have been invited to the Men’s Olympic Orientation Camp from August 17-19, 2009 at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois (6690 S Route 53 Woodridge, IL 60517). They were among 34 American players that made the first cut en route to filling out a roster for the United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team.
“I think it’s obviously a great honor for both of them,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “With respect to Tim, he’s going to challenge for No. 1 and I would expect that given the season that he had. With Phil it shows that he’s really in their plans because he’ll be injured while going into this camp and they feel very strongly about including in all these orientation things because he’s in their plans.
“It’s exciting for both, and I think we’re going to have more of our players being part of these kind of camps in order to prepare (for the Olympics). I’m sure you’re going to see some more of our players that are going to come up for their respective national teams.”
The camp is designed to assist in the preparation of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that will compete at the XXI Olympic Winter Games to be held from Feb. 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, B.C. Of the 34 invites to the Orientation Camp, 23 players (20 skaters and three goaltenders) will be chosen to represent Team USA at the 2010 Olympics. With Kessel expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season following labrum and rotator cuff/shoulder surgery, the winger won’t be taking part in any on-ice drills during the August camp.
Tim Thomas set a career high with 36 wins this year and was the winner of the 2009 Vezina Troph while finishing the 2008-2009 regular season as the league leader in Goals Against Average (2.10) and Save Percentage
(.933), and played in his second straight NHL All-Star Game.
Thomas appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins, finishing with the playoff’s best Goals Against Average (1.85) and second best Save Percentage (.935).
Phil Kessel established career highs in goals, assists and points this year after tallying a team-best 36 goals, 24 assists and 60 points in 70 games. Kessel become the club’s first 30-goal scorer since 2005-2006 and compiled the longest point streak in the NHL this season after recording a point in 18 consecutive games from November 13-December 21,
2008 (14-14=28 totals during this span). Kessel appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins and contributed six goals and five assists.
Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney
Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.