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Why a chip on Rich Peverley’s shoulder made him money with the Bruins 10.11.11 at 1:57 pm ET
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Rich Peverley has come a long way since his days at St. Lawrence. (AP)

WILMINGTON — Next season, Rich Peverley will carry a heavier price-tag than he’s had in his career. Coming off a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of less than $1.5 million, Peverley’s salary will more than double, as he will cost the Bruins $9.75 million over the next three years.

That doesn’t mean he’s always been a big name. Peverley has gone from an undrafted college player to an ECHL player to a guy who was waived by the Predators. Now with his third team and 29 years of age, Peverley seems poised to put up career-best numbers as a top-six forward on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“He’s one of those guys that really blossomed later in his career so that helped when we got him but he’s a player that, I think he continues to have offensive upside to his game and some players mature a little bit later,” B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I think we got another one in that in Dennis Seidenberg. I think he matured a little bit later in his career so you just have to recognize that and then make decisions based on that.”

After graduating from St. Lawrence University, in 2005, Peverley played in the ECHL as a member of te south South Carolina Stingrays. H, where he scored 30 goals in 69 games. He played one game in Portland that season, his first AHL action, before spending the next two seasons between the ECHL and AHL. He signed his first NHL contract with the Predators, where he played sparingly in parts of three seasons before being waived in 2009 and claimed by the Thrashers. He came to Boston last year in the deal that send Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta.

Peverley revealed Tuesday that his thought process throughout his years working his way up wasn’t to get the NHL at all costs, but to just get to the next level. He’s reached the highest level now, and after establishing himself as a major contributor to the league’s best team last season (he played on the first line in place of the concussed Nathan Horton in the Stanley Cup finals), he hopes there’s even more he can accomplish.

“I’ve always said this: I think that you start in the minors and you don’t really have your eyes set on the NHL,” Peverley said. “I think I’ve always taken it one step at a time. I wanted to be in the American [Hockey] League, be a good player there. Once I got to the American League, the NHL was that much closer. You want to get to [NHL] and you want to be a better player in the [NHL]. It’s just one step at a time.”

While that line of thinking is hard to believe for an undrafted player coming out of St. Lawrence, Peverley can thank it for his success. Even so, for a player who was told by the league that he wasn’t good enough and then later put on waivers by the Predators, he can also thank a pretty big chip on his shoulder that he developed.

“Absolutely,” Peverley said when asked whether he’s had a chip on his shoulder. “There’s teams that get rid of you, and there’s teams that have no interest. You want to prove people wrong. You see that every year. Guys are on waivers, guys get traded. They want to prove people wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good motivational tool.”

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Peverley gets Rich with three-year extension at 10:44 am ET
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Rich Peverley will be in Boston for three more seasons. (AP)

The Bruins took care of their biggest player set to become a unrestricted free agent Tuesday morning, inking second-line winger Rich Peverley to a three-year contract extension.

Peverley was acquired on Feb. 18 last season when the Bruins sent Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler to Atlanta for the speedy forward and defenseman Boris Valabik.

Peverley leads the Bruins with two goals this season, both of which were scored in Saturday’s win over the Lightning. His signing leaves Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Joe Corvo and Johnny Boychuk as the remaining players set to become unrestricted free agents at season’s end.

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Deep Cup run makes Rich Peverley’s first camp with Bruins easier 09.20.11 at 10:54 am ET
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Training camp can be a feeling-out process of sorts for players participating in their first camp with a team. Even for returning players who had been acquired during the previous season, starting a full season with the team can still include some learning and adjustments from both a hockey standpoint and a comfort standpoint.

Rich Peverley was a key part of the Bruins' championship run. (AP)

Take Dennis Seidenberg last year. Acquired in March of 2010, he was coming off a left wrist injury and had missed the last four games of the regular season and all of the playoffs. By the time he had entered his first camp as a member of the Bruins, he said he felt “awful,” but that’s likely because he was trying to shake off rust after a summer of rehabbing. OK, bad example.

Still, there is something to be said for returning players entering their first camp with a team. Rich Peverley has been in that situation twice now, and freely admits that he was still getting a grasp of things in Atlanta in the fall of 2009 after being claimed off waivers by the Thrashers in January of the previous season.

While that continued learning process is something Peverley experienced the last time he had his first camp with a team, he’s encountered no such thing in Boston. A deep run in the playoffs culminating in a Stanley Cup victory and familiarity with Claude Julien‘s system are responsible for that.

“This is a very close team, and we were quite close during the playoff run last year,” Peverley said. “I got to know a lot of guys. I’m definitely a lot more comfortable [now] than I was that year in Atlanta, just as far as knowing the guys and knowing the coaching staff and everything.”

Peverley began last season playing under head coach Craig Ramsay, a former assistant of Julien’s in Boston, so he didn’t run into too many roadblocks when grasping the Bruins’ system after being acquired in February. He finished the regular season with a modest seven points (four goals, three assists) in 23 games, but was a big contributor in the postseason. He scored two goals (including what was technically the game-winner) in the Bruins’ 4-0 victory in Game 4 over the Canucks to even the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece and answered the call when he was summoned to the first line in wake of Nathan Horton‘s season-ending concussion.

When all was said and done, Peverley had been used regularly as a first-liner, second-liner and third-liner at various points of the postseason, and it brought him and the Bruins the Stanley Cup. Peverley made all his adjustments to Boston during that time, and after winning the Cup with the Bruins hardly feels like this is his first camp with the team.

“Absolutely,” he said to the idea of the playoff run making him better immersed in all things Bruins. “Every team that wins is a close-knit group, and it shows. Everybody cares for each other, works for each other, and it was no different last year. We did everything together, we worked hard together, and obviously we won together.”

Julien is happy to see that last season’s newcomers, Peverley and center Chris Kelly, have got the hang of things, and what the end result was in June. That isn’t to say he’s surprised, though.

“They know what we expect and that showed in the playoffs, too,” Julien said. “They just played the game that our team was to play and they did it in good fashion. It’s their first camp with us, but I don’t think it’s a shock to see how we’re doing things or how we’re expected to play because nothing has really changed.

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Penguins sign Boris Valabik 07.03.11 at 1:59 pm ET
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The Bruins lost another free agent on Sunday, and though the player was big, the loss could hardly be described as such. The Penguins inked defenseman Boris Valabik, who was acquired with Rich Peverley in the Feb. 18 deal with Atlanta, to a one-year, two way deal on the third day of free agency.

Given the results it yielded, it would be hard not to give Bruins general manager two thumbs up for trading Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta in a deal that landed the B’s Peverley. Yet Valabik proved to be nothing more than a throw-in in the deal, playing 10 games for Providence and totaling two assists and 24 penalty minutes. He had a minus-1 rating with the Baby B’s.

Valabik was chosen 10th overall by the Thrashers in the 2004 draft, but has made a minimal impact on the big stage since. He’s skated in 80 games, all of which were with the Thrashers, and totaled seven points (all assists) and 210 penalty minutes. At 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds, the Slovakia native is one of the biggest players in the league. He once fought the biggest when he took on fellow countryman and hero Zdeno Chara back in 2008.

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Expect the unexpected: How about some early scoring? 06.13.11 at 1:51 pm ET
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The scoreboard operator got plenty of work early into games when the Bruins faced the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals. In fact, 12 first-period goals were scored between the teams in the first five games of the series.

The same can’t be said for the Stanley Cup finals. The three Bruins’ losses have been nail-biters, and in total there have been just two goals scored in the first period. Quite a departure when considering that more goals were scored in the first 69 seconds (three) in the first five games of the conference finals than in the first 20 minutes of games thus far between the B’s and Canucks.

While the Bruins have used their home ice to essentially do whatever they want against Vancouver, the idea that they could be up for yet another close game in which the teams are scoreless in the third period (as has happened twice already) is not out of the question given the stakes.

“You can’t let anything get to you. If they score early, we can’t let it bug us,” Michael Ryder said Monday. “We still have a lot of game left. It’s a matter of us wanting to get that first goal. We need to get that first goal to set the tone. If it doesn’t happen, we can’t let it get to us. I think that’s upper main priority: come out, get the emotions up high early, get the intensity up there. I think if we do that, we’ll get on the scoreboard first.”

The team that has scored the first goal has one each game this series, though in Game 2 there were two blown leads before the final score was decided. Even so, the idea of getting a lead early on would provide this series with some fresh material.

“It definitely gets guys in the game, gets you going when you have the lead,” Ryder said. “When teams play with the lead, you do things a little different, you play a little harder. That’s what we want to do tonight.”

The earliest a goal has been scored in a game this series was 11:59 into Game 4, when Rich Peverley scored the first of four Bruins’ goals.

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David Krejci: Revolving door at RW makes it ‘hard to get the chemistry going’ at 1:02 pm ET
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Everyone knew the loss of Nathan Horton was going to be a big blow for the Bruins. But after Rich Peverley scored two goals while playing on the top line in Game 4, some of the questions about how the Bruins were going to replace Horton subsided. Then they rose right back to the surface after the top line — along with the rest of the offense — was shut down in Game 5.

Although Peverley is the one who has scored on the first line that includes mainstays David Krejci and Milan Lucic, he hasn’t been a permanent fixture there. Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin have also seen time there in the two-plus games since Horton went down. Krejci admitted Monday that it has been tough playing with new right wings after having Horton on his flank pretty much all season.

“As a line, me and Looch have basically played every time with a different guy, so it’s hard to get the chemistry going,” Krejci said. “Obviously you like to have your linemates and stick with them so you can get chemistry going, but it’s kind of hard to do. With the power plays and PKs, it’s tough to get us there together.”

Krejci said he was hoping that being at home Monday night and having the last change would help stabilize the lines a little bit, but Claude Julien said that isn’t necessarily something he’s trying to do.

“It’s been by design,” Julien said when asked about the revolving door. “We talked about that when Horton went down. I had to use different players, so that’s exactly what I’ve done.”

Although Lucic agreed with Krejci about the adjustment not being easy, he said they’re not going to use it as an excuse for anything.

“It’s tough because we’re obviously used to Nathan being there on our right side, and the same game you have Peverley, Ryder and Seguin on the right side,” Lucic said. “But you don’t want to make excuses. Everybody has to do their part when we’re out there. We still have to play the same way we always do. Not much is going to change tonight, so we’re going to have to find a way.”

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Rich Peverley does his best Nathan Horton and the Bruins are grateful 06.09.11 at 1:09 am ET
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On Wednesday night at TD Garden, as the Bruins took the ice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, Rich Peverley had some extraordinarily large shoes to fill.

After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.

And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.

Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.

“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.

“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”

Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.

“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”

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