|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins’ power play ‘a work in progress’||10.09.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
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.
‘It’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. ‘You’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.’
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.
‘He 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. ‘I think the reason why is he, too, is playing with a little bit of a conservative attitude, trying to fit in with the system.
‘But he had a couple of really good scoring opportunities last game.’
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.
‘It’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. ‘We 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.
‘No, it’ll never be over,’ Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. ‘I’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.
‘We’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.
‘I’m not a fan, I’m really not,’ said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. ‘Obviously 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.
‘We’re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,’ Thornton said. ‘You 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.’
|Brad Marchand feared he was next after Tyler Seguin trade||09.12.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
“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.
|Brad Marchand: ‘It was difficult’ to see Tyler Seguin traded||09.06.13 at 12:24 am ET|
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.”
|Peter Chiarelli’s best and worst moves as Bruins general manager||08.29.13 at 7:31 pm ET|
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.
(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.)
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 »
|Peter Chiarelli on Salk & Holley: Bruins got better in offseason||07.17.13 at 5:34 pm ET|
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.”
|Claude Julien: ‘There was no issue’ with Tyler Seguin||07.11.13 at 1:15 pm ET|
Seguin had apparent maturity issues in his time with the Bruins, so much so that Peter Chiarelli called out his lack of professionalism prior to last week’s trade. Julien largely took the high road Wednesday, though he didn’t exactly deny that Seguin had strides to make. The coach said that Seguin took his job “as serious as any 21-year-old would.”
“Everybody as a 21-year-old doesn’t always have the maturity to be a professional, whether it’s in the gym, here or there,” Julien said. “You work with all those young guys the same way. Do different players have different challenges? Absolutely.”
From the day Seguin came to the Bruins, there were questions of whether Julien’s system was a good for him given that he was more of a scorer with elite skill than a two-way, defensively responsible player. Despite the fact that the two sides weren’t a perfect fit, Julien said that he had a good relationship with Seguin.
“There was no issue between Tyler and I, and I’m not afraid to say it,” Julien said. “You guys can ask him at some point. There were no issues there. I worked with him as a hockey player, I dealt with him as a person. With everything else, there were never any issues that I know about, anyway. I thought we had a good relationship.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.