Bruins: Jarome Iginla

Iginla a big loss for Bruins

July, 1, 2014
Jul 1
3:39
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Jarome Iginla will not return to Boston for the 2014-2015 season.

The veteran forward and future Hall of Famer has signed a three-year deal worth $16 million with the Colorado Avalanche, according to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun.

This is a big loss for the Bruins, but almost unavoidable given Boston’s salary cap constraints. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wanted to re-sign Iginla. At season’s end, Iginla said he wanted to return to Boston because the Bruins are built to win another Stanley Cup. But when a team like the Avalanche offers that kind of security with salary and term, it’s a good move for Iginla.

The Bruins will miss his leadership both on and off the ice. He fit perfectly on Boston’s top line with his size, strength, physicality and scoring ability. Iginla’s linemates in Boston -- David Krejci and Milan Lucic -- enjoyed the most consistent seasons of their respective careers with Iginla on the right wing.

“I wish him all the best,” Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron wrote in a text message. “He’s been a great player for us last year and I learned a lot from him on and off the ice by the way he approaches the game.”

About an hour before the opening of the NHL’s free-agency period opened, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged that his main target, Jarome Iginla, will test the market.

Chiarelli has had many discussions with Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, but the cap-strapped Bruins expect the veteran forward to take advantage of his unrestricted free agent status for the second straight offseason. The NHL’s free-agent signing period begins at noon Tuesday.

“My guess is that he’s going to test the market,” Chiarelli told bostonbruins.com on Tuesday morning. “He wants a little more term and normally I don’t comment on negotiations but Jarome’s been really good for us and if we don’t have him back I wish him well.”

Iginla earned about $6 million in salary in bonuses this past season for the Bruins after signing an incentive-laden deal this past offseason. He is thought to be looking for a multi-year contract. Among the teams that we’ve heard have interest in Iginla are Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Colorado and Detroit.

If Iginla signs elsewhere, Chiarelli said the Bruins would search for a right winger to replace him on the trade market or in free agency, though he added he thought the team would be more likely to be active in the secondary free-agent market.

“You probably won’t see the Bruins attached to any of these big names today,” Chiarelli said.

Bruins can't let Iginla get away

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
2:29
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BOSTON -- Before the free-agent market opens Tuesday at noon, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli should pull out all the stops to re-sign Jarome Iginla.

When the NHL announced last week that the salary-cap ceiling was a lower-than-expected $69 million, it put a damper on the chances Boston would be able to retain the veteran forward and future Hall of Famer. According to capgeek.com, that number left the Bruins with just $1.6 million to spend to reach that ceiling.

[+] EnlargeJarome Iginla
Anthony Nesmith/CSM/AP ImagesJarome Iginla might be able to get more money and years elsewhere, but the Bruins can offer him something most other teams can't -- a legit shot at a Stanley Cup.
That doesn’t mean the Bruins can’t make room, it just means they’ll have to get creative. Putting Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve would free up $4 million, and signing Iginla to an incentive-laden deal would push all of his bonuses to the following season’s cap. The Bruins had a league-high $4.75 million in bonus overages counted against their cap for 2014-15, thanks mostly to Iginla’s deal.

Another way to shed salary would be via a trade. Chiarelli has created depth in the organization and now is the time to use it in order to keep Iginla. The Bruins have the resources on defense to make a deal, even if it means parting ways with the likes of Johnny Boychuk, who will earn $3.3 million next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent following 2014-15.

Prior to knowing the salary-cap number, Chiarelli said he would not go “full force” into free agency. There’s no need. The Bruins are built as a perennial Stanley Cup contender and Iginla needs to be a part of it. In the past, Chiarelli hasn’t been shy about pulling the trigger on a trade and he should do that again now in order to retain Iginla.

Yes, there’s a chance Iginla could be wearing a different sweater next season. The Bruins were just one of the teams Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, met with over the weekend at the NHL draft. It’s understandable why other organizations are trying to find a way to sign him. The 36-year-old had a team-high 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points during the regular season, skating alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the Bruins’ potent top line.

If Iginla does sign elsewhere, the Bruins already have a plan to replace him. Chiarelli said over the weekend that he would be comfortable moving Loui Eriksson to the top line. No doubt Eriksson has the ability to contribute with Krejci and Lucic, but he’s not as perfect a fit as Iginla. Moving him to the top line would also have a ripple effect, as he no longer would be able to take advantage of mismatches he created playing on the third line.

Iginla has stated his desire to return to the Bruins, but we’ll find out soon just how badly he wants to remain in black and gold. Other teams can offer more money than Boston, and likely without any incentive-based strings attached. But the Bruins give Iginla the best chance at the one thing that’s eluded him in his 17-year career: a Stanley Cup.

Bruins make five picks in NHL draft

June, 28, 2014
Jun 28
3:19
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The Boston Bruins made five selections in the 2014 NHL draft this weekend at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Bruins selected forward David Pastrnak in the first round (No. 25 overall), forward Ryan Donato in the second round (56th overall), forward Danton Heinen in the fourth round (116th overall), forward Anders Bjork in the fifth round (146th overall) and defenseman Emil Johansson in the seventh round (206th overall).

[+] EnlargeDavid Pastrnak
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesFirst-rounder David Pastrnak headlines the Bruins' 2014 draft class.
"It's unbelievable," Pastrnak told reporters in Philadelphia. "I was getting nervous after every pick more and more, and I'm really proud that Boston believed in me, and they picked me and I like them. They're a good organization and great people."

Pastrnak, 18, is a 6-foot, 198-pound Czech native who played for Sodertalje SK in Sweden the past two seasons. In 38 games this past season, he posted eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points, including a plus-7 rating.

Chiarelli told reporters it's likely Pastrnak could return to Sweden for another season.

"I don't mind him staying there another year," Chiarelli said. "We'll have to sit down with the agent."

Keith Gretzky, Boston's director of amateur scouting, compared Pastrnak to David Krejci, the Bruins' top-line center and a fellow Czech native.

"I believe that," Gretzky told reporters. "He plays hard. He competes on the puck. He's not going to run over guys, and that's one thing that we love. He can handle the puck. It's something nice -- at pick 25 -- that we got. We're excited."

Added Gretzky, "He competes, and he's got skill, and we thought we needed some more skill. He handles the puck real well, he protects the puck real well, and he's full of energy. You gravitate to him."

In the second round Saturday morning, the Bruins stayed local and selected Donato, an 18-year-old Boston native. In 1987, the Bruins drafted his father, Ted Donato, who is now the head men's coach at Harvard, in the fifth round (98th overall), and he eventually played nine seasons for the Bruins.

[+] EnlargeCam Neely, Ryan Donato
Dave Sandford/NHLI/Getty ImagesBruins president Cam Neely greets second-round pick Ryan Donato on Saturday.
In an interview with the NHL Network, Ryan Donato said he grew up a Bruins fan, and it's a dream come true for him and his family. Donato recorded 37 goals and 41 assists for 78 points in 30 games for Dexter School this past season. He plans on playing for his father at Harvard starting in fall 2015, but he still needs to decide whether he'll return to Dexter for his senior year or play for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL this coming season.

"I'll talk to [the Bruins] and see what they think, and now that the draft's over, I got a weight lifted off my shoulders, and I think I can make a clear decision soon," he told reporters.

In the fourth round, the Bruins selected Heinen, a 6-foot, 165-pounder who turns 19 on July 5. This past season, he posted 29 goals and 33 assists for 62 points in 57 games for Surrey of the BCHL.

"They're obviously a great organization," Heinen said. "Original Six team, competitive, been competitive every year the past few years, so definitely an honor to be drafted by them."

In the fifth round, the Bruins selected Bjork. The 18-year-old Wisconsin native played for the USA U-18 team last season and posted 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 53 games. He's listed at 6-foot, 182 pounds.

"I'm just ecstatic," Bjork told reporters. "It's obviously great to be drafted by such a great organization and a successful organization, and it's just an honor."

In the seventh round, the Bruins selected Johansson with the organization's final pick. A native of Sweden, the 5-foot-11, 194-pounder played for the Swedish U-18 team this past season.

Now that the draft is complete, free agency opens at noon on Tuesday.

Despite cap constraints, Chiarelli told reporters in Philadelphia that he's still trying to re-sign Jarome Iginla.

"I'm concerned, but I think it's a challenge we can overcome," Chiarelli said. "If we can't sign Jarome, we're going to find a good player. We feel all our young guys are going to get better."

Chiarelli met with Iginla's agent, Don Meehan, during the draft, as did other organizations.

Question: Options if Iginla leaves?

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
12:33
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Editor’s note: With free agency starting on July 1, and the window for teams to interview free agents starting on June 25, we’re taking a look at some the questions facing the Bruins.

If the Bruins can't re-sign Jerome Iginla, how will Peter Chiarelli fill that role?

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted earlier this week that he has a plan in place with and without veteran forward Jarome Iginla on the roster.

Chiarelli and Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, have had ongoing talks about re-signing the future Hall of Famer, and according to the Boston Herald, the sides will meet this weekend during the NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

Based on salary cap constraints, it’s likely Iginla would have to accept another incentive-laden deal, similar to last season’s contract. After the Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Iginla said he would like to remain in Boston because he believes the Bruins are strong and deep enough to win another Stanley Cup, something that has eluded him during his 17-year career.

Chiarelli wants Iginla back, too. The top-line winger provided leadership and production both on and off the ice last season. He was a 30-goal scorer and helped Boston’s top line remain consistent for the majority of the regular season.

If the sides can come to an agreement, it will be the best-case scenario for the Bruins. The Bruins should do everything possible to re-sign Iginla.

The free-agent interview process begins on June 25 and Iginla is allowed to speak with other interested teams, and there will likely be plenty of them.

If the sides can’t come to an agreement, the Bruins have options. One could be to move Loui Eriksson to the top line, along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. That could open a spot for some internal competition for a spot on the third line amongst the prospects in the Bruins’ organization, including Jordan Caron, Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Alexander Khokhlachev.

If Chiarelli decides to look externally, he could find a replacement via the trade market or free agency. On Monday, Chiarelli said he would talk with a few free agents once the interview period began, but he didn’t expect to go “full force” into the market.

An interesting option would be Daniel Alfredsson, who has said he wants to return to Detroit. The Bruins have shown interest in the veteran forward in the past and he has a relationship with Chiarelli that dates back to when both worked for the Ottawa Senators. Alfredsson is 41 and could sign a similar incentive-laden contract. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent last summer and earned a one-year deal worth $5.5 million, which included bonuses.
BOSTON -- Tweaking the roster and not making major changes to an already strong hockey team was the theme for the Boston Bruins as the organization prepared for this offseason.

Both team president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted as much during separate press conferences at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. Now, with the NHL draft this weekend in Philadelphia and free agency quickly approaching, the Bruins understand the position they’re in.

With the salary cap expected to be around $71 million, the Bruins already have roughly $67.5 million committed to their roster for the 2014-15 season. According to capgeek.com, the Bruins also carry $4.75 million in overages into next season, which gives Chiarelli roughly $3.8 million in cap space.

Chiarelli will need to maneuver and get creative with the cap in order to keep the Bruins’ winning core intact.

On Monday evening, the Bruins announced the signing of Niklas Svedberg to a $600,0000 one-way contract, which means unrestricted free agent Chad Johnson won't return as goalie Tuukka Rask's backup, a switch that will save the Bruins a bit of cap space. Johnson, an unrestricted free agent, made $600,000 last season but is in line for a raise after posting a 17-4-3 record, two shutouts, a 2.10 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 27 games.

[+] EnlargeJarome Iginla
AP Photo/Charles KrupaJarome Iginla likely would have to accept another incentive-laden contract to return to the Bruins.
The team already decided not to re-sign Shawn Thornton, but forward Jarome Iginla, defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter are unrestricted free agents.

Iginla and the Bruins have had ongoing talks and Chiarelli said he hopes to re-sign the future Hall of Famer, but it’s likely the veteran forward would need to agree on another incentive-laden contract, similar to last season’s.

“I’m not going to comment specifically on negotiations,” Chiarelli said during a media conference call Monday afternoon. “We’d like to sign Jarome. He’s been a valuable player for us and it’s a good fit, so we’d like to sign him.”

If the Bruins can’t come to an agreement with Iginla, Chiarelli said he’d be ready to go in a different direction.

When asked if he had decided not to re-sign any of the other UFAs, Chiarelli said he was not at liberty to say.

“There may be one or two more. We’re in the process of doing that right now,” Chiarelli said.

The team’s restricted free agents include forwards Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Justin Florek, along with defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. Chiarelli explained that he’s “more or less” decided on qualifying offers for the RFAs but the organization has until the end of the month on those decisions, so he will wait to disclose that info too.

While there are players eligible for compliance buyouts, Chiarelli said the Bruins would not exercise that option.

“We’re not going to use any because we’re happy with the guys that are under contract to us. They’ve given us good service and I don’t really want to use [buyouts] for those guys,” he said.

Chiarelli will gain some relief when the team places Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve, which will bank another $4 million for the Bruins. Chiarelli could decide to trade a few key components of the current roster in order to gain more space, and those sacrifices might be necessary.

“So we’re going to have to make some harder decisions this year,” Chiarelli said. “It’s something that we’re prepared to do and we felt that we could sacrifice this year a little bit because after this coming year, we’re going to have to probably pay someone like David Krejci more and we need some more room, so this year we’re in a lesser spot. We have Savard’s LTI that helps soften the blow, but we’re going to have to be a little more restrictive this year and we’re prepared to do that.”

While free agency officially begins July 1, teams are able to interview unrestricted free agents beginning Wednesday.

“We don’t plan on bringing anyone in, but that doesn’t mean we won’t talk to anybody,” Chiarelli said. “We’ll make some calls just to get an idea. We’ll talk about parameters, like we’re allowed to do, but at this time I don’t plan on bringing anyone in.”

Chiarelli said he’d be happy with the Bruins’ roster even if he doesn’t make major changes to it. It’s evident based on his past dealings that he’s not afraid to pull the trigger on a trade or a big-name free-agent signing, but he’ll act accordingly based on the market and the salary cap.

“There are good players available,” Chiarelli said. “Specifically for us, we’re not going to go full force into free agency. We’re probably going to take a step back and look at maybe lesser deals, meaning not the high-profile deals that might be available, partially due to cap reasons, partially due to chemistry reasons.”

It’s already been an active offseason and Chiarelli believes the reason for that is there are first-time GMs feeling their way through the market.

“Maybe that has resulted in a little more activity than normal, more conversation than normal,” Chiarelli said.

The NHL draft begins Friday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Currently, the Bruins have a total of five picks in seven rounds. Unless Chiarelli makes a trade prior to the team’s first selection, Boston will pick at No. 25. The GM said the organization has a small list of possible draftees, but he wouldn’t count out the possibility of trading the pick.

“Everything’s always available, and I would include that first-round pick,” he said. “We’re lower down in the first round and we’ll probably look at moving up a little or moving down a little, depending who’s available at that time. We have a pretty tight list right now. I’m not going to say it’s in play, but I’m not going to rule anything out.”

Leading into both the draft and free agency, Chiarelli said he’s pleased with the organization’s management meetings.

“We’ve had some real productive meetings with [director of amateur scouting] Keith [Gretzky] at the helm,” Chiarelli said. “He’s got a different perspective on things but he also knows what the Bruins ideals are and the ingredients we want in players. I have complete confidence in Keith in running this draft and we’ve got some real good guys behind him and above him that can really give him good lateral support.”
The Boston Bruins are having “ongoing talks” with veteran forward Jarome Iginla about the possibility of him returning to Boston, according to a league source.

The source also indicated that there's nothing new to report as far as progress on a new deal.

Iginla turns 37 on July 1, which also happens to be the day he will become an unrestricted free agent. Both the Bruins and Iginla have shown interest in getting a new deal done before the market opens, or soon after.

A future Hall of Famer, Iginla enjoyed a good first season with the Bruins in 2013-2014, but the team fell short of its goal of winning a Stanley Cup, which has eluded Iginla during his NHL career.

After the Bruins’ premature exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Iginla said he wanted to remain in Boston because of the team’s depth and status as a perennial Cup contender.

"I think it's a team that has as good a shot as any to win," he said. "I think that next year the team, whether I'm here or not, they're going to be a force here for a while."

Iginla signed an incentive-laden, one-year, $6 million deal with the Bruins last summer. He achieved all of his bonuses, with that money to be charged against the team’s cap for 2014-2015. The cap is expected to be around $71 million and the Bruins already have roughly $62 million committed to their roster.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has managed the salary cap well, and he’ll have to get creative once again if Iginla re-signs in Boston, with perhaps another incentive-laden contract.

Iginla finished the 2013-2014 season with 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points in 78 games for the Bruins, while playing on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. He had five goals and two assists in the Stanley Cup playoffs (12 games).

Iginla hopeful he'll be back in Boston

May, 16, 2014
May 16
8:46
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BOSTON -- Jarome Iginla arrived here with the hope of winning his first Stanley Cup title.

The future Hall of Famer successfully completed his incentive-laden, one-year, $6 million deal with the Boston Bruins, but the team fell short of its goal of winning a championship. Now Iginla, 36, is an unrestricted free agent and would like to return to Boston next season, and maybe beyond.

[+] EnlargeJarome Iginla, Zdeno Chara
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsJarome Iginla says he hopes to strike a deal with the Bruins that works for both sides.
"I'm very thankful for getting the chance to be here this year. I had a great time. I had a great experience all the way through, around the city, with the team and the guys," Iginla said. "It was a great opportunity here, and I got to play with some great players. It's a real strong room with great leadership with [Zdeno Chara] and [Patrice Bergeron]. It's a great group, and I hope to be able to come back. I hope there's a deal that works out for everyone, but I know the Bruins will look at what they want to do, but I really enjoyed it and hope that there's something to be worked out."

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he was impressed with Iginla's contributions this season and believes the veteran forward fits perfectly with Boston's style of play. Iginla learned firsthand this Bruins team is built to win another Cup, and he wants to be a part of it.

"I think it's a team that has as good a shot as any to win," he said. "I think that next year the team, whether I'm here or not, they're going to be a force here for a while."

It's no coincidence top-line center David Krejci and winger Milan Lucic enjoyed the most consistent season of their respective careers with Iginla in the mix. Lucic hopes his linemate returns next season.

"He was really good for us this year," Lucic said. "A 30-goal season for him, and I think he brought an element of consistency to our line. You can see why he's the type of player that he's been over the last 17 years, from a consistency standpoint. You can see it in practice, and you'd love nothing more than to have him back. You guys all know that I've loved him from watching him play, growing up as a teenager getting to watch him play. He's one of those guys that you look up to. He's everything that you thought he was going to be as a person and as a player. That's why it was such a fun year to have him here, and you hope that it continues moving forward and he continues being a Bruin. He looked pretty good in our colors, and I'm sure he'd like to stay here as well."

Bruins' 10 biggest offseason questions

May, 15, 2014
May 15
9:18
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BOSTON -- It will take a little while for the Boston Bruins to digest the abrupt end to their season after a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien will hold their season-ending news conference Friday afternoon at TD Garden, after meeting with all the players and conducting annual exit meetings.

With the majority of this group remains under contract, Chiarelli should have a relatively quiet summer. Veteran forwards Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton are unrestricted free agents. Two trade-deadline acquisitions, defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter, are also UFAs, as is backup goaltender Chad Johnson.

Restricted free agents include forwards Reilly Smith and Jordan Caron, along with defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.

Here are 10 issues the Bruins must resolve during the offseason:

[+] EnlargeJarome Iginla
Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty ImagesWill Jarome Iginla stick around for another title shot in Boston?
1. Bring back Iginla? The veteran forward and future Hall of Famer was an important part of the Bruins in his first season in Boston. It's no coincidence linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic had the most consistent seasons of their careers with Iginla in the mix. However, the top line did not perform to expectations in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Iginla had five goals and two assists for seven points in 12 postseason games. Iginla turns 37 on July 1 and said he would like to return to Boston in hopes of finally winning a Stanley Cup.

2. What happens with Thornton? The veteran pugilist has wants to remain in Boston and close out his career with the Bruins. Thornton turns 37 on July 23 and has been a mainstay on the team's energy line. His reputation took a hit this season when he was suspended for 15 games for an incident involving the Penguins' Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. Then, during the second-round series against the Canadiens, Thornton was fined for spraying water on Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. To remain with the Bruins, Thornton will probably have to settle for a one-year deal.

3. Trade for a top-four defenseman? When veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg tore both his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27, Chiarelli knew he would need to add to the team's blue line via trade. The GM attempted to pull off a couple of deals to acquire a veteran defenseman before the trade deadline, but nothing major came to fruition, other than claiming Potter off waivers from Edmonton and acquiring Meszaros in a minor trade with Philadelphia. It wasn't enough, and the Bruins' inexperience on defense was one of the reasons Boston lost to Montreal. The Bruins could package Bartkowski, prospect Ryan Spooner and a draft pick to acquire a veteran D-man. At the deadline, it was rumored Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler, 27, was atop the Bruins' wish list, but the deal imploded, according to reports. If the Bruins are that impressed with the blueliner's ability, it's possible Chiarelli could revisit that trade option this summer. Either way, the Bruins need another veteran presence on the blue line.

4. Can inexperienced blueliners improve? While Dougie Hamilton made strides in his first full season in the NHL, Bartkowski and Krug experienced more growing pains. Bartkowski began the season as the team's seventh D-man, but because of injuries, he finished as a top-four defenseman by default. He struggled in the playoffs, especially in the second round against the Canadiens. Chiarelli has attempted to trade Bartkowski in the past and it could happen this summer. Krug's presence on the power play was one reason why the Bruins finished with the No. 3-ranked unit in the league during the regular season. Defensively, his game ebbed and flowed.

[+] EnlargeBrad Marchand
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonWill Brad Marchand bounce back after his disappearing act in the playoffs?
5. Trade Marchand? Last summer, Chiarelli pulled off a blockbuster trade when he dealt forwards Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow. There were whispers Chiarelli would consider moving Marchand, too. The crafty forward had a strong regular season and finished with 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points in 82 games. During the postseason, however, Marchand was held without a goal and did not produce. He plays well with linemate Patrice Bergeron, and the Bruins like Marchand's all-around game. It's likely Marchand's name will surface in rumors once again this summer, but it's unrealistic to assume Chiarelli would deal the Little Ball of Hate.

6. Where does McQuaid fit? When healthy, Adam McQuaid is a force. But he has been dealing with different issues the last couple of years and recently had surgery on his right ankle. He suffered what was described as a quad injury on Jan. 19 and missed the remainder of the season. He was limited to 30 games this season. McQuaid has one year left on his current deal worth $1.8 million. The emergence of defenseman Kevan Miller, who plays a similar game to McQuaid's, makes the veteran's status unclear if he remains injury-prone.

7. Figuring out a way to preserve Chara: Captain Zdeno Chara looks tired. At 37, it's understandable to wonder how much he has left in the tank. At the start of the season, Julien and Chiarelli explained they would try to find a way to keep the 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman fresh. Moving him from the point to the front of the net on the power play was one attempt to save his legs. He still averaged 25 minutes per game, but how much longer can he keep up that pace and still be effective? Chara still has three years remaining on his contract.

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8. Kelly's status: The past two seasons, Bruins assistant captain Chris Kelly has been plagued by injuries. He was limited to 57 games this season because of a broken right fibula. He returned to the lineup in late January, but suffered another undisclosed injury and missed the final three games of the regular season. It was described as back spasms, but the third-line winger never returned to the ice and missed the postseason. In his absence, the Bruins recalled, on separate occasions, forwards Justin Florek and Matt Fraser. Both played well in the playoffs, which were an important development experience for them. Kelly has two years left on his current deal, $3.5 million for next season and $2.5 million in 2015-16. Chiarelli has a strong relationship with Kelly, dating to their respective tenures with the Ottawa Senators, so it's unlikely the GM moves the veteran forward this summer.

9. Who backs up Tuukka? For the second consecutive offseason, Chiarelli will need to figure out whether to re-sign Tuukka Rask's backup. Chad Johnson accomplished exactly what the organization was looking for from its backup goaltender. He finished with a 17-4-3 record, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 27 games. Johnson is a UFA, and based on his success, he should receive a raise from his $600,000 deal with Boston. The Bruins also have prospects Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg in Providence. Svedberg played one game for the Bruins this season and earned a victory. Johnson would be a solid choice to re-sign.

10. Time's up? Jordan Caron spent the majority of the season watching from press level as the team's 13th forward. When he did play, mostly on the third and fourth lines, he wasn't bad, but moving forward it doesn't appear there's room for him on the roster. Caron is a restricted free agent and Chiarelli could find a way to move him this summer. The 23-year-old former first-rounder has not lived up to expectations, but he's still young and could use a change of scenery.
BOSTON -- Bruins forward Jarome Iginla and defenseman Kevan Miller did not practice with the team Monday at TD Garden, but coach Claude Julien said there is a chance both will be in the lineup Tuesday at Minnesota.

“They’re still day to day,” Julien said. “We’re being cautious at this time of the year. We’re not pushing it. They’re coming on the trip. Is there a chance they could play? Yes.”

Iginla has missed two of the last three games and Miller missed Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. For both players it’s more about maintenance than dealing with a serious injury.

Bruins' Iginla, Miller out vs. Flyers

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
12:56
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BOSTON -- Bruins forward Jarome Iginla is out of the lineup Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.

Iginla missed Wednesday's game at Detroit with what was called a lower-body injury, but he was able to return to the lineup Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He did not participate in pregame warm-ups Saturday as Loui Eriksson was on the team's top line, along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Iginla has 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points, including a plus-34 rating in 76 games this season.

Per line rushes, the second line remains the same with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. The third line consists of Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron. The energy line is Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

Defensively, Kevan Miller did not participate in the warm-ups and won't play.
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Bruins forward Jarome Iginla has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Month for March.

The top-line winger recorded 13 goals and four assists for 17 points in 17 games last month. He also had four two-goal games and five game-winning goals during that stretch. Iginla posted a plus-12 rating, too.

Iginla’s accolade comes a day after teammate Patrice Bergeron was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week. Bergeron is in the midst of a career-best seven-game goal streak and posted five goals last week.

After the Bruins held an optional practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena in preparation for a two-game road trip to Detroit and Toronto, Iginla credited his teammates for his success.

“It’s an honor,” Iginla said. “It’s been an enjoyable month. For our whole team, we’ve had a great month. There have been a lot of guys who had great months, great streaks. You look at Bergy -- his has been as hot as I’ve seen. So, it’s been good. It’s been fun but it’s one of those things to don’t really expect. I’ve gotten some good bounces, some great passes from my linemates and as a line we’ve had some fun. But bigger than that it’s been a great month for our team and we’ve all benefitted from that.”

Iginla also reached a pair of milestones in March, playing in his 1,300th NHL game and reaching 24th on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list with 560 goals. Overall, the future Hall of Famer has 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points in 75 games for the Bruins this season.

BOSTON -- It's not about the winning streak. It's all about the process for the Boston Bruins.

With a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins won their seventh game in a row and now own the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 93 points, one ahead of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins.

With 16 games remaining in the regular season, Bruins coach Claude Julien is pleased with the way his team is playing right now. Boston is a deep team, and every aspect of its game is on display. With a crazy schedule this month not only for the Bruins but for the league as a whole, Julien believes his team knows that the name of the game is about preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs, not making excuses.

[+] EnlargeTuukka Rask, Shane Doan
Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty ImagesTuukka Rask earned his second win in 24 hours by thwarting the Coyotes.
"I see commitment from everybody," Julien said. "It's pretty obvious when you've played the number of games that you've played, and you look at the way you've played, there's a pretty good commitment from our guys."

When the Bruins are playing well defensively, it translates into a potent offensive style of play, and that's what they've been exhibiting during this streak. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has a front-row seat and he's pleased with what he's watching.

"We're just playing Bruins hockey day in and day out and not trying to do too much," Rask said. "The schedule's tough and we're trying to keep things simple. We pretty much know we're going to make the playoffs, and we just want to get our game to a level we think it needs to be going into the playoffs."

The Bruins concluded their 12th of 17 sets of back-to-back games, and they're 9-2-1 in the first game and 10-2-0 in the second game. Thursday's game easily could have been a letdown for the Bruins, especially coming off an emotional 4-1 win over the division rival Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night at Bell Centre.

"We're playing really well right now," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "Everyone seems to be buying into the system and playing their role and not trying to do too much. When you have all four lines going, and all six D and both goalies, it's great. We're showing we've got a really good team here, and that's what we need to be doing down the stretch."

With the regular-season schedule winding down, it's going to be a battle for Eastern Conference supremacy between the Bruins and Penguins. Boston has basically secured the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but the Bruins are focused on more than just the seeding in the standings.

"It would be big, obviously," Marchand said of winning the conference title. "You want to finish as high as you can, and home-ice advantage in the playoffs is huge, but it's more about the process and how you get there. I think if we just worry about playing our game every single night, things will work themselves out."

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
Eric Canha/CSMZdeno Chara's 16th goal of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins' consistent play is what has made this team a perennial Stanley Cup contender, and it's no different this season. At times, the Bruins have been streaky, but when things are going well they are one of the best teams in the league.

Given the Bruins were facing the Coyotes on a back-to-back game on Thursday night, it was a bit of a surprise that Julien decided to start Rask in net. It proved crucial as he finished with 21 saves, many of them timely.

"I don't think we should overanalyze Tuukka, or Tuukka's fatigue," Julien said. "Chad [Johnson has] played well for us, and he's going to play and they're going to share the net. For me, it was a decision I made, and I felt Tuukka wasn't overly tired. He felt great and he can rest tomorrow because we don't play."

After the game, Rask said he didn't feel completely fresh Thursday but expected to play.

The Bruins believe there's still another level they can raise their game to, and that's something they want to reach when the playoffs arrive.

"Honestly, we've been pretty focused," said forward Jarome Iginla. "We've been trying to keep pushing ourselves to be better and to keep working on things. It's been fun winning. Guys here, it's a hungry team and a very competitive team. We want to keep winning and keep getting better. We've been able to get ourselves into a battle for the top of the conference, but even that guys don't really talk about on a day-to-day basis."

Not lost in Thursday's win was the fact that Julien earned his 300th career victory in Boston. Overall, he has a 419-249-10-84 record in 762 career games as a coach, but he always downplays individual accomplishments. His goal is to win another Stanley Cup with the Bruins.

"I had no knowledge and my guys know it doesn't matter to me," Julien said. "It's great, don't get me wrong. It's great and I'm happy it's happened here. I'm happy to have that, but at the same time, to me, I'd rather look forward to hopefully a lot more than just that. I'm proud to have accomplished this in Boston. It's great. I've really enjoyed myself here and I'm looking forward to another 300."

Iginla expresses concern for Letang

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
5:46
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After hearing the news Friday that former teammate and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang suffered a stroke last week, Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla said he was shocked. The Bruins practiced Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, and afterward Iginla was in the player's lounge when he saw the report on television.

"It's a scary thing," Iginla said. "He's a young guy and he takes care of himself and he's in good shape. I don't know anything more than what I saw on TV, but yeah, it's obviously more serious than a hockey injury. I'm definitely shocked and wish him well. It was definitely a surprise and a shock to see."

Iginla played his entire career for the Calgary Flames before he accepted a trade to the Penguins last season for a chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career. However, the Bruins swept the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.

According to Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero, Letang's condition is treatable and doesn't seem career-threatening, which was a relief for Iginla.

B's riding wave of Iginla's hot streak

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
6:28
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BOSTON -- Bruins top-line forward Jarome Iginla is playing his most consistent hockey of the season, and, when asked about his recent success, the future Hall of Famer credited the team’s play rather than focus on his own game.

The right winger has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in the past six games, including a plus-nine rating. It’s also no coincidence the Bruins are 7-1-1 in their past nine games, as Iginla and fellow first-liners David Krejci and Milan Lucic are producing.

[+] Enlarge Jarome Iginla
Jen Fuller/Getty ImagesJarome Iginla has proven to be a good complement on the Bruins' top line.
"I think, as a team, we’re playing well," Iginla said. "We’re playing with the puck a lot more as a group, we’re creating a lot more zone time and scoring chances and guys are feeling good.

"We're all starting to feel a lot better, and I think for a while we’ve been playing better as a team, and I think we’re all benefiting from that. As a line, we’re feeling better, but, I think also, as a team, we’re creating a lot more for each other and playing a lot more with the puck, and we’ve been in a pretty solid stretch up until this Olympic break here."

When the Bruins signed the veteran forward as a free agent during the summer, they knew his presence both on and off the ice would contribute to the team’s success. He has made the players around him better, especially his linemates.

So far, Krejci has enjoyed probably his most consistent regular season, and the same can be said for Lucic, who has three goals and four assists for seven points in the past three games. It’s evident Iginla’s work ethic has rubbed off on both of them.

During Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks, Iginla registered his 600th career NHL assist. Entering Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Iginla has 1,146 points in 1,287 career games.

Iginla admitted after Tuesday’s game that he did not realize he had reached that milestone.

"To be honest, I didn’t know that going in, but I’m thankful for that," he said. "You don’t really think of those until you get there or whatever. I’m just thankful to keep playing as long as I have, and I’m having a great time and it’s awesome to be here with these guys. It was fun to get it in a game against Vancouver for a lot of reasons. It was an important win and we also wanted to rebound from earlier in the season against them, too."

Even Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t realize Iginla had produced 600 assists.

"Good for him. It just kind of exemplifies the type of career that he’s had and that he’s still having," Julien said. "He’s been a great player in this league for a long time, so you always like to see those kind of goals being accomplished. And in my mind, he’s got lots more left."

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