|Neely on D&H: ‘we want to deliver’ for fans||06.28.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show Monday to discuss the selection of Tyler Seguin, how difficult it has been dealing with the playoff loss, and what he looks for in certain players.
Said Neely: “The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.”
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview, visit The Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Is there any doubt Tyler Seguin can play right away?
I’d be surprised if he doesn’t. We’re certainly counting on him to make our team, based on everything that I’ve been hearing from scouts and what-not, that he should be able to make our lineup next year. It’s a matter of what kind of impact he’s going to have, but he should be able to make our lineup.
Teams can now count on 18-year-old kids to make an impact.
Well, there’s been special players obviously over the years that have come in and made an impact as an 18-year-old. ‘¦ I said earlier, I don’t know what kind of an impact he’s going to make, we certainly don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him. He’s a young man that has got to learn the NHL game, but this guy is a very determined kid, he’s got a tremendous amount of skills, so we’ll see how he develops over the course of the year. I don’t think we’re going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize his development process. If we feel that he can step in and help us, and play the appropriate minutes, he’ll do that.
Well, I think when you look at the 15th overall pick, although it’s a great pick and you hope to get a great player, those players are sometimes three or four years away from making your lineup. We have to get better offensively, we have to get some goal scorers, and Nathan was available. We had to give up a player like Dennis [Wideman] and that pick to get him, but we also got Campbell, who we feel is going to be a good fourth-line center for us that can kill penalties and play an aggressive style that we like on the fourth line. But we really believe Nathan will come in here and get into a hockey market, get into an environment like we have here at the [TD] Garden with our fan base, and get re-energized about playing hockey. In his worst year he has scored 20 goals, but in his best year he got over 30, and he’s still young — he’s 25 years old. He’s a big body, he likes to shoot the puck, and he’s a guy we felt strongly about trying to acquire to add to our offense.
Could Campbell be a replacement for P.J. Axelsson?
We’ve always felt that. ‘¦ Our coaching staff likes to have our fourth line be able to chew up some minutes on the penalty kill. Obviously aside from Shawn Thornton, P.J. was great at the penalty kill, he had been in the league a long time and was obviously a smart player, and great in the locker room. But Campbell is another young kid for us that has played enough hockey to understand what it takes to play in the league; I think he knows his role real well, and for us it’s a good thing.
Does your new title mean you have final say in hockey operations?
Well, as our owners said at the press conference, everything goes through my office. I know that [Peter Chiarelli] and I have had a good relationship in the three years that I’ve been here, and I expect that to continue.
How does that change how things work between you and Chiarelli?
Well, I mean I don’t think it will change much from my perspective. That might be a better question for Pete, but ultimately GM’s. ‘¦ When I’ve talked to other people in this position that I’m in, it’s been that you certainly have to allow a GM to do their job. And the thing is if you disagree too much then you have to figure out what is the right thing to do, from my perspective. The GM still has to be able to try and do his job.
Do you look at the older teams you played on to judge talent nowadays?
Yeah, I don’t want anybody to think that’s the type of lineup I’m craving for. The type of lineup I’m craving for are players that are committed to working hard and care about putting that jersey on, and have good character; that to me is important. I don’t care what your role is on the team. ‘¦ You need all different kinds of roles to succeed in the National Hockey League, but the one constant I’d like to see happen here is that we have guys that work hard, are committed, and have character and care about putting the Boston Bruins jersey on, and respect the history of this organization.
What is your evaluation of last season?
It’s one of those things, we came into the season expecting a better regular season than we had. We had some players underachieving throughout the course of the year, more so than we would have liked. Maybe it was a combination of the previous year, we had overachieved more than we thought. Going into the end of the regular season, we’re scrambling to make the playoffs, I think everyone counted us to be a one-round-and-out. And we played extremely well in the Buffalo [Sabres] series. From top to bottom through the lineup we played really, really well. And we had a great start, as we all know, in the Philadelphia [Flyers] series, and came to a crashing halt in Game 7. It’s two years in a row we have lost Game 7 at home, which is very frustrating when you do work to the point, and you get yourself in a situation where you have home ice advantage, you need to take advantage of that. It’s frustrating when you lose Game 7 at home two years in a row.
If you had to break down that loss in one sentence, what would it be?
Well, I think if we were to look back at all the games we didn’t play well in, not just in that series but in the regular season when we had leads and maybe gave them up, was collectively trying to, and this is just my opinion, trying to not get scored on; and therefore you changed the way you played to get the lead. I think when we got up 3-0 in that game, maybe guys felt like it was done, and Philadelphia would go home quietly; but that wasn’t the case. I think from my perspective, looking back on the season, there were times when we would get the lead, and then it was about, “Let’s not get scored on.” It kind of changed the way we played a little bit, and then started giving up more opportunities.
Did you sense a relaxed attitude during that Game 7?
Well, I think you can kind of see things happening. ‘¦ They came out in the second period pretty fired up, and we were kind of sitting back a little bit. From that second period on. ‘¦ And then when they got their first goal, it changed the momentum of the game, even though we still had a two goal lead.
In a salary cap league, how does having Tim Thomas‘ $5 million salary hamstring other opportunities?
Well, it’s always a difficult thing to judge, not just with that scenario, just in everything else. You’re trying to put together the best team you can on the ice, with what restrictions that you have with the [salary] cap. We certainly didn’t think we’d be in this situation, with Tuukka [Rask] kind of taking over, I know Tim is a very competitive man, and he wants to be a number one goaltender. Regardless, he is going to try and get that job back. It’s one of those things where, any position, if you have players that aren’t playing to their potential, and they have a big number that goes against the cap, it’s difficult. As you see now, it’s about trading money as much as players. And there’s times when people wonder why deals aren’t being made, you end up having to get somebody else’s stuff back that they don’t necessarily want, that may not be an upgrade on your team.
Would you prefer to not have no-move clauses in contracts?
I don’t like them. I know as a player, I can certainly understand why players would want them. I don’t particularly like them at all, to be honest with you.
When next season starts do you believe Thomas and Marc Savard will be on the team?
It’s hard to answer that question. ‘¦ We’re looking at our club, I don’t know who’s going to be on our starting lineup; besides Marc and Tim, there’s other players as well. We’re looking at what’s the best way to improve our hockey club over the course of this offseason. People deserve more than they have gotten over the years, and we want to deliver that to them. We’re looking at the lineup, saying, “How can we improve our club?” to go into the season with the best chance at winning.
Do you get a lot of calls regarding the veterans on your team?
I really don’t want to get into that at all. It’s something that most teams deal with, unless you win the last hockey game of the season, every team is trying to improve their club, so their are lots of conversations.
What does Mark Recchi bring to the table, and are you surprised he has played this long?
He’s a very competitive player, for sure. He wants nothing more than to win, and he’s been unbelievable in the locker room, he’s been somewhat of a mentor to some of the younger players. And his compete level is high, he’s got great character. To see what he’s been able to accomplish at his age, I hope it rubs off on a lot of these younger guys we have.
How would you assess the job Claude Julien has done with this team?
I think you look at where we were prior to that staff coming in, they’ve made great strides. Now, we have to take it to the next level. We’ve lost in the first round, we’ve lost consecutively in the second round, the last two years, so it’s time for this group, not just the coaching staff, the players as well, to take it to the next level.
With Tyler Seguin, how much prep work did you do before selecting him?
Well, obviously throughout the course of the year you identify the top players, and figure out where you may be as the season goes along, where you may draft; the lottery dictated where we picked. During the course of the year our scouts get as much information as they can on a bunch of different players, not just the top players. Obviously when your picking second overall we focused more on two or three players, and then try to get as much information as we can from coaches, teammates, you name it. And then from our own perspective, more due diligence at the combine, with the interviews there, watching them work out. We’ve brought him into Boston to meet with him again for a couple of days, had various people in the organization meet with these players. I know Peter, Don [Sweeney], and Jim Benning at some point went to the families house and spent some time with the families. All of those things are really important for us to get a good gauge on what we expect to look forward to with certain players; what type of character, what their families are all about.
Do you think Seguin can play the wing, or stay at his natural position at center?
I think it would be tougher for a winger to jump in and play center at the National Hockey League level. I think he’s a smart hockey player and if it made sense for him to play wing, if we felt it was going to be better for his development, I think it’s something he can handle. There’s a little less defensive pressure for a winger. If the coaching staff and we feel it’s best for him to maybe start out on the wing then that’s what we’ll probably do, and I don’t think he’d have an issue with that, and I don’t think he’d have problems adjusting to it.
|Chiarelli: Oilers wanted Bruins pick||06.25.10 at 11:40 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — With the first round of the NHL draft completed Friday Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli indicated that the Edmonton Oilers were interested in obtaining the Bruins second pick in the draft, but not in working a potential swap that would have provided the B’s the Oilers top pick.
According to Chiarelli, Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini hoped to obtain the Bruins pick as a stand alone proposition.
‘Talks were more centered around (the Oilers) trying to get the number two pick from us,’ said Chiarelli. ‘He told me early on he was going to try and get it and he didn’t give up.’
For his part, Chiarelli is happy with the Bruins being able to draft Seguin.
‘He’s a terrific player, he’s got a terrific skill set,’ said Chiarelli. ‘He’s still growing. His improvement was tremendous over one year to the next. Very smart, terrific hockey sense.”
Chiarelli has also wasted little time suggesting Seguin will play in the NHL next season.
‘I expect he will make the team,’ he said. ‘But you never know. You remember some of the parallels in the past sort of his age and body type, a guy like (Steve) Stampkos took a while to get used to it, took him a while to get his confidence and strength. I would anticipate that line of improvement as he comes into the league.’
Rounds 2-7 of the draft continue Saturday.
There were a lot of things about the first round of Friday night’s NHL draft that seemed a little funny. Both league-wide and specifically to the Bruins, the first 30 picks were laced with irony and confusion. Some blatant examples: Two perceived top defenseman fell out of the top 10. The team that needed centers took winger Taylor Hall, which led to the team with too many centers taking Tyler Seguin.
A few storylines stand out with the Bruins’ new center, one of which is that he was the top-ranked player in the draft by NHL Central Scouting, yet went second. Just as fascinating, however, is the team he went to, and with which pick.
Every young hockey player’s dream is to play in the NHL, and with his selection Friday night Seguin will undoubtedly realize his lifelong goal. However, the path to Boston, a city he spoke about with excitement Friday night, ultimately went through the team he grew up admiring as a child.
Born in Brampton, Ontario, Seguin was close enough to Toronto to be a Maple Leafs fan. In addition to being an Original Six rival of the Black and Gold, the Maple Leafs were a trade partner in the move that would eventually bring Seguin to Boston. The Bruins acquired three picks from the Leafs last offseason in the Phil Kessel deal, including the first-rounder that became the pick used on the Plymouth Whalers center.
“Growing up I was the local guy,” Seguin said. “I liked watching the Leafs because they were the local team. Now that it happened, I think it’s meant to be. I think things worked out throughout my life and anyone’s lives. It’s just where we were supposed to fall, and Boston was the team that was supposed to pick me.”
What makes it so interesting is the story the pick could have been if it stayed in Toronto. The hometown kid who grew up cheering on the Leafs goes to the historic franchise to give them a shot of both youth and scoring. Instead, he’s gone to the rival, a Bruins team that has seemed to be knocking at the door for two seasons now.
So does the team that will also see their second-rounder Saturday and first-round pick next year made by the Bruins regret the deal?
“We made this trade,” Leafs GM Brian Burke said at the draft. “We took our chance on how our team would finish. We talked about the possibility that it could be a lottery pick. … We said, ‘Well what if it is Taylor Hall? What if it is Tyler Seguin?’ and we said ‘We’re going to make that trade anyway.’ We got the player we wanted and I hope Boston got the player they wanted.”
|Seguin: Boston ‘is a hockey town’||at 8:37 pm ET|
Minutes after being selected by the Bruins with the second pick in the NHL draft Seguin soaked in the moment and acknowledged his goal is to make the team this season.
‘It feels amazing, I can’t really describe it,’ said Sequin, a native of Brampton, Ontario who netted 48 goals while adding 58 assists playing junior hockey for the Plymouth Whalers last season. ‘It’s not winning the Stanley Cup but its one of the best feelings I’ve had so far in my life.’
With the highly anticipated draft process complete and his future team set, Seguin is ready to concentrate fully on his training regime.
‘It definitely feels great just to be able to sit back and look down at my (Bruins) jersey’ said Seguin. ‘I’ll try to have a fantastic off season so I’ll be able to earn a spot next year.
‘The whole journey and this last week in LA has been a phenomenal experience,’ he added. ‘Right now my main focus is to have an incredible offseason, put on some weight and keep improving in areas I need to.’
Although he is generally considered a center, Seguin can also play the wing.
‘He’s a highly skilled player,’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien on the draft floor Friday. ‘We know he can definitely bring some offense to our team.’
Seguin has shown to be a quick study in breaking down opposition defenses, he also has gotten a quick sense of Boston and what playing in New England could bring.
‘From meeting with them and visiting Boston, you can just tell by the people that are there already that it’s just a phenomenal place to play,’ said Seguin whose dad was a captain of the University of Vermont hockey team.’
“There is so much history there with the Bruins, and the fan base and atmosphere. It’s a hockey town.’
|Bruins land Tyler Seguin||at 7:26 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — In a predictable move following Edmonton’s selection of Taylor Hall, the Bruins chose Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick in the NHL draft, a choice they received from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Phil Kessel.
Seguin was ranked as the top overall player in the draft by NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau but, by many accounts may have been a victim of playing for a bad team. While Hall made headlines the past two postseasons, Seguin’s Whalers never made it to the Memorial Cup in his two years in Plymouth.
A common player comparison for Seguin has been Red Wings Hall of Fame center Steve Yzerman. A 6-foot-1, 172-pound right-handed shot, Seguin is considered an elite goal-scorer and playmaker. He is known more for a finesse game than a hard-nosed style. Seguin’s father played college hockey at the University of Vermont in the 1980′s.
After compiling 67 points in his first season with the Whalers, Seguin scored 63 goals and added 58 assists for 106 points. He was awarded the Red Tilson trophy for most outstanding player in the OHL.
There had been talk that the Bruins and Oilers could have worked out a deal in order to secure whichever player the Bruins preferred. While the Bruins would never admit to preferring Hall even if they did, no deal was made.
|Taylor and Tyler: A look back||at 12:53 pm ET|
With either Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall set to join the Bruins in tonight’s NHL draft, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at what’s happened around WEEI.com in the past month with the two stars.
May 27: I spoke with Seguin about what playing in Boston may be like. We discussed his early struggles in the OHL, potentially playing wing, and his intrigue with jumping right into a push for a Cup with the Bruins. I also spoke to his coach, Mike Vellucci, who compared him to Steve Yzerman.
May 28: Peter Chiarelli gave a quote that, if read into as much as it was here, could suggest the Bruins were leaning towards Seguin.
June 1: We asked you who you wanted for the Bruins. Sixty-two percent of you wanted Hall, 24 percent said they’d be happy with either, and 14 percent preferred Seguin.
June 2: We got word that the Bruins were bringing in Hall for a visit. Seguin also met with the Bruins last weekend and the team visited both players’ homes.
June 4: Peter Chiarelli said Hall and Seguin are so close that trading a large package to secure their preferred player might not be worth it. He emphasized this point several times with the media over the last month.
June 16: Chiarelli admitted that he got a very intriguing offer that stood out from the others involving the second overall pick, but rejected it. He stressed that under no circumstances would the pick be moved, saying “We’re going to take one of those two forwards.”
June 21: Chiarelli said both he and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini were hesitant to show one another their cards.
June 24: Seguin called Boston a “great place, great city.”
|Neely: ‘We’re waiting like everyone else’||06.24.10 at 10:08 pm ET|
While the Board of Governors approved a rule change providing a five-minute penalty for a blindside hit to the head ‘ such as that which sidelined Bruins center Marc Savard this season ‘ Neely emerged from Thursday’s meeting focused on Friday’s draft in which the Bruins have the second overall pick.
The Edmonton Oilers have the first pick in the draft, and with it the possibility of trading down if the player they would select is different than the player the Bruins want. Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are considered locks to be selected with the top two picks, but so far, the Oilers have not indicated which player they prefer.
There has been much speculation the Oilers plan to take Hall and the Bruins would then choose Seguin, but nothing is definite at this point.
‘Edmonton still hasn’t really said anything, so nothing is etched [in stone]. We’re still waiting like everyone else,’ said Neely, who was named as the Bruins President on June 16.
Neely had attended Board of Governors meetings before, but was doing so his new capacity for the firs time on Thursday.
‘A lot of the stuff I’ve been doing has not really changed that much,’ said Neely. ‘Obviously, a little more responsibility now, which is OK. I’m looking forward to the challenge.’
Among his first duties at the Board of Governors meeting was assessing the blindside hit rule approved Thursday.
‘The one concern that I have is that it’s still going to be a tough rule to call,’ Neely said. ‘I don’t know if you’re going to get everyone happy. That’s the problem.’
In response to a question regarding the Matt Cooke hit on Savard, which caused Savard to incur a significant concussion, Neely said that the hit would be illegal under the new rule, which he generally favors.
‘I think it’s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’s going to be some questions,’ he said. ‘At least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game. ‘
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