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Michael Ryder explains why he didn’t take Bruins’ offer in free agency 10.26.13 at 1:01 pm ET
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The Bruins’ big splash on the first day of free agency was Jarome Iginla, but that came after a player they had targeted signed with the Devils. That player was former Canadien, Bruin, Star and Canadien (again) Michael Ryder, whose decision reportedly came down to offers from the Bruins and Devils.

“We had a couple conversations back and forth with my agent, but I decided to end up coming to Jersey,” Ryder, who is in town with his new team, said Saturday. “It just seemed like a good fit for me. Lou [Lamoriello] and them were really excited and told me the opportunity I’d get here. I just thought it was the best fit.”

That isn’t the only reason. Ryder, who spent three seasons with the Bruins from 2008-2011 and was third on the B’s with eight playoff goals during their 2011 Stanley Cup run, wasn’t thrilled with the way things ended between he and the Bruins.

After the B’s won the Stanley Cup, Ryder was interested in returning, but was told by the B’s to test free agency and see what he could get. He did just that and took a two-year, $7 million deal with the Stars.

‘€œI think if they wanted to keep me, they probably would have tried to sign me [after the 2010-11 season],’€ Ryder said last season when he was in town with the Habs.

The 33-year-old forward reiterated that Saturday, saying that the Bruins had the chance to sign him years ago and didn’t.

“Once I left here, after we won the Cup, I thought I might have a shot of coming back then, but it didn’t really happen,” he said. “We didn’t really talk.”

As such, Ryder said he was “definitely” surprised to hear from the Bruins this summer. He didn’t say he was less inclined to sign with the Bruins because of how things had ended after 2010-11, but he did say that he had put the B’s in his past.

“You move on, and it’s part of the business,” he said. “That’s just the way it is. I ended up in Dallas, which was great, and then last year I ended up getting traded back to Montreal. This year, I’m here in Jersey. It’s part of the game, and the way the hockey world works I guess.”

Another interesting fact about Michael Ryder and the Bruins? He was a linemate of both Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson, who were traded for one another this summer. Ryder assisted Seguin’s first NHL goal and was his linemate for much of Seguin’s rookie season before teaming up with Eriksson and the Stars.

Ryder said he was surprised to see the Bruins move on from Seguin after three seasons with the team, acknowledging, as many have, that Seguin and the B’s may not have been the best fit for one another.

“He was their first pick, and it’s always surprising to see someone go,” Ryder said. “Tyler’s still a young kid and [with the fit] here, I guess they decided that it was time to move on. I played with Loui also in Dallas. The two of those are great players, and maybe it’s good for Tyler to get a good start somewhere. He’s doing well so far and he’s going to do well. He’s that type of player.

“He’s got a lot of speed and can shoot the puck and stuff,” Ryder added of Seguin. “He’s going to be a star in this league, and it’s just about when he got the opportunity. I guess they thought it wasn’t a good fit for him here. Hopefully in Dallas it works out for him.”

Read More: Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder, Tyler Seguin,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: B’s-Stars trade ‘weighted a little bit towards Boston’ 10.10.13 at 3:43 pm ET
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With the 2013-14 NHL season in its second week, NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Bruins’ new additions, as well as other news from around the NHL.

McGuire praised the Bruins’ two biggest offseason additions, wingers Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson, and indicated he thought the Bruins won the July 4 trade with the Stars that sent shipped budding star Tyler Seguin to Dallas.

“[Jarome will fit] fantastically well,” McGuire said. “Jarome is awesome, he will fit in perfectly in Boston, I’m really happy for him. Didn’t work out for him the way he wanted to last year [in Pittsburgh], but I’m glad that Boston, especially Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli], were wise enough to give him a chance, because he definitely fills the void that Nathan Horton created by departing to go to Columbus.

“Courageous trade by Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins, because Tyler will be a superstar in the league, especially if he can just clean up a little bit of his behavior. … That being said, the trade is excellent for Boston. … [Eriksson] is the legitimate deal. He’s a very solid two-way player, he’s capable of playing with big-time superstars, he can play deep in your lineup, he’ll never pout, he’ll never complain, and all he’ll do is produce. The other guy that came in that trade, Reilly Smith, way underrated player. … I really like the trade for both teams, but in particular, I think it’s weighted a little bit towards Boston, just because of the consistency the two players they got in Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith.”

McGuire also touched on the new NHL rule that specifies players will be penalized for an additional two minutes, for a total of seven minutes total, if they take off their helmets before a fight.

“I hate to say this, because I’m all for player safety, I really am. I’ve seen too many horrific incidents going to even this year in the regular season with George Parros. … I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want to see anyone take their hat off, I don’t see the hats come off. I just don’t think that it’s appropriate,” he said. “There’s got to be a balance, there’s got to be a way. I don’t know what the way is, but I know one thing, there are a lot of people in the hockey community talking about it. I know it’s a big, big, point of emphasis for a lot of people that make big decisions in this league.”

McGuire gave a brief preview of the Bruins’ opponent Thursday night in the 3-0 Avalanche, who are mostly comprised of young and talented players.

“The fact of the matter is you’re going to see Nathan MacKinnon tonight, you’re going to see [MattDuchene tonight, you’re going to see what could be arguably one of the top third lines in the league right with Jamie McGinn, who’s played so well with Nathan MacKinnon and P.A. Parenteau. That line’s a ton of fun to watch.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Bruins, Jerome Iginla, Loui Eriksson, NHL
Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins’ power play ‘a work in progress’ 10.09.13 at 2:11 pm ET
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NESN’€™s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’€™ hot start to the season.

Boston posted a pair of home victories last week. On Thursday, the Bruins beat the Lightning, 3-1, then they took down the Red Wings, 4-1.

One area Boston needed improving on following its Stanley Cup runner-up season is the power play. The Bruins ranked dead last in the NHL in power-play goals last season with 18. But they’€™ve already notched two man-advantage goals through two games.

‘€œIt’€™s still a work in progress, and will be for a while, they’€™ll continue to experiment, and continue to try [Zdeno] Chara at the front of the net with one power-play unit,’€ Brickley said. ‘€œYou’€™ve got different weapons this year, [Jarome] Iginla‘€™s a great finisher with the man advantage, [Loui] Eriksson‘€™s a real good power-play guy.’€

Aside from the power play, Boston also must fill the void left by playmakers Tyler Seguin, who was traded to Dallas, and Nathan Horton, signed as a free agent by Columbus.

The Bruins hope Eriksson, who came over from the Stars for Seguin, can fill that void. Eriksson has not entered the point column yet as a Bruin.

‘€œHe came in as the centerpiece of that deal, with Seguin going the other way down to Dallas, and I think the expectations are that he’€™s going to be a 70-point guy, and he’€™s off to a slow start as far as the offense is concerned,’€ Brickley said. ‘€œI think the reason why is he, too, is playing with a little bit of a conservative attitude, trying to fit in with the system.

‘€œBut he had a couple of really good scoring opportunities last game.’€

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Jordan Caron, Louis Eriksson, Nathan Horton
Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Guys are built not to take a night off’ at 10:21 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and discussed the heartbreak of last season’€™s Stanley Cup finals, the optimism he has for this year and his relationship with Red Sox players.

Boston began the regular season 2-0 with a pair of victories at home last week. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-1 last Thursday, then the Red Wings 4-1 last Saturday.

‘€œIt’€™s only been two games, but you can tell the personalities in the room, that guys are built not to take a night off,’€ Thornton said. ‘€œWe might not be at our best every night, but I think that guys get in there wanting to show up and play every night. That might sound like it’€™s easy to do and you should do it, but not everyone’€™s built like that. But I think that the guys we brought in, and the guys who were already here, and the guys we kept are definitely built that way.’€

Looking back at last season’s Cup finals, the Bruins blew a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the third period of Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks on June 24, a loss that still stings for Thornton.

‘€œNo, it’€™ll never be over,’€ Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. ‘€œI’€™ll be thinking about it for years to come, but it’€™s more of a motivator than a hangover, you get that close and it stings.’€

Less than three months removed from its gut-wrenching loss to Chicago, Boston made significant changes to its lineup. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, replaced by former Penguin Jerome Iginla and former Star Loui Eriksson, while youngsters Reilly Smith — acquired via trade from Dallas along with Erikkson this offseason — and Jordan Caron have taken on elevated roles.

‘€œWe’€™ve got a group of guys that have been around for seven or eight years, and we know how important that is to make people feel welcome. So, coming into our room, you’€™d probably have to ask them, but I’€™d like to think that it’€™s a fairly easy transition, you come in with open arms,’€ said Thornton.

The NHL implemented a new rule regarding fighting this season. Any player who removes his helmet before the start of a fight will receive a two-minute penalty in addition to the five-minute penalty for fighting.

‘€œI’€™m not a fan, I’€™m really not,’€ said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. ‘€œObviously I’€™m a little biased, but it’€™s seven minutes for fighting now if a guy has a visor because everyone’€™s going to take their helmet off. And I think when you take the helmet off you take away from the player safety that everyone’€™s preaching, so I think it’€™s counterproductive.’€

The Red Sox beat the Rays on Tuesday night and moved on to the ALCS where they’€™ll face either the Tigers or Athletics.

‘€œWe’€™re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,’€ Thornton said. ‘€œYou get to meet a lot of those guys when you’€™re out and about in town so there’€™s a lot of crossover, they support us, we support them. I’€™ve been here for seven years, kind of turned me from a Jays fan to a Sox fans, I’€™m not going to lie.’€

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Jerome Iginla, Jordan Caron, Loui Eriksson, Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand feared he was next after Tyler Seguin trade 09.12.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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Brad Marchand‘s initial reaction to his friend and frequent linemate Tyler Seguin being traded wasn’t anger or disappointment, but rather concern that he’d be next.

“It came as a bit of a shock,” Marchand said of the trade. “I think there were definitely some guys that thought we were pretty safe, and it was a bit of a wakeup call that every day you come in you’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything you have to do to stay here. I don’t think anyone really expected Segs to be shipped out that early, but it definitely took a little while to sink in.”

Marchand clarified that he was one of the guys who may have gotten a little too comfortable, and that after Peter Chiarelli moved on from Seguin and his contract, he feared that his days in Boston could also be numbered.

“A little bit, yeah. Definitely,” he said. “Anything can happen at any time. If you have half a bad year or you’re not playing up to par, with the cap system nowadays, they’re going to want to improve the team. You don’t want to be that guy to get shipped out. The easiest thing to do is play your best and hopefully you can save yourself.”

Marchand’s concern makes a little sense considering that he, like Seguin, is a young player whose partying finds its way into the news often, but Marchand is a better player right now with a better contract. He’s entering the first season of a four-year, $18 million contract while Seguin is set to begin a six-year, $34.5 million contract.

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

Read More: Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin,
Brad Marchand: ‘It was difficult’ to see Tyler Seguin traded 09.06.13 at 12:24 am ET
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LOWELL — Speaking publicly for the first time since the trade of Tyler Seguin, Bruins forward Brad Marchand said Thursday that he wishes his former linemate and good friend off the ice the best in Dallas.

Seguin was traded along with Rich Peverley in a six-player deal on July 4 that netted the Bruins Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.

“It was difficult,” Marchand said. “We were very close, but that’s business. That’s hockey. I don’t think you can ever expect to be safe wherever you are. That’s just another example of that. He’s a great young player and he’s going to have a great future ahead of him.”

Seguin, 21, had his professionalism called into question by general manager Peter Chiarelli prior to the trade. There were concerns about his maturity and his off-ice habits, so much so that the team reportedly had to hire a guard to make sure he didn’t leave his hotel room the night before home games.

Marchand, who is no stranger to having his partying make headlines, defended Seguin on that matter.

“Obviously things happen, but you look at social media nowadays and nobody can hide anywhere anymore,” he said. “It just seems like things can get blown out of proportion a little bit, so I think that’s definitely part of it. At the same time, he’s young and any guy in his position is going to have fun.

“I just want to wish him the best and try to headhunt him a little bit when we play him.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin,
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,
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