Bruins: Peter Chiarelli
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.
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.”
Since the Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Bruins with a 3-1 win in Game 7 Wednesday night at TD Garden, the inexperience on Boston's blue line has been a common theme in trying to explain why the Bruins lost.
"We have a young back line right now and I'm partially to blame if you want to assign blame," Chiarelli said during his annual season-ending news conference. "Maybe we didn't get enough at the deadline, maybe we overestimated the youth and where they were."
At the March 5 deadline, Chiarelli acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers, and also claimed defenseman Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. Boston had other undisclosed deals in the works to help bolster the blue line but none came to fruition.
Overall, Chiarelli was pleased with the development of the inexperienced defensive core this season, and hopes the playoff failures will serve as vital experience.
"They brought us to good spots and I think you'll see in the future that these players, these young defensemen, are going to be even better as a result of participating in this series," Chiarelli said.
When the NHL implemented the new bracket-style playoff format for this season, it was designed to create more rivalries in the postseason. With the way the Bruins, Canadiens, Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning are built, it's possible these teams could face off in the postseason more often than not.
With that as a possibility, Chiarelli isn't about to change the Bruins' style or their roster in order to compete against future opponents. As the current roster is constituted, the Bruins have depth, experience and talent to win for the foreseeable future. Chiarelli said there will be some changes this offseason, but nothing drastic.
"This is a very good team," Chiarelli said. "There are some tweaks here and there but it is a very good team. Strong down the middle, strong to the nets, good character, good core, we've won the Presidents' Trophy, we beat Detroit in five, we lost in seven to Montreal. It's very emotional and it is my job to be unemotional about it.
"So this is a good team and there are some trends in hockey that we have to address in this team. It may be that they don't get addressed until fall or halfway through the year or July 1 or before. You have to let things unfold sometimes. But we're not going to make too many changes to this team, but there will be some changes."
Chiarelli & Co. have built the Bruins into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Chiarelli has managed the salary cap wisely and has locked up the core of this team with long-term contracts. The potential is there, so even though the Bruins failed to accomplish the goal this season, coach Claude Julien doesn't think that wholesale changes should be made.
"All of a sudden we lost to Montreal, we need to overhaul that? No. I think we need to look at the things that we need to tweak here and there and make those kind of adjustments," Julien said. "And some of it will be minor adjustments. You can have some young players that are going to be that much better next year in those kinds of situations. So year to year, things change, and I can only speak as a coach and this is not necessarily what Peter thinks or may think or may not think, but you explode a team that's pretty good just because of the situation that is not based on one reason only, that could be dangerous."
As far as unrestricted free agents, forward Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton, along with backup goaltender Chad Johnson, and Meszaros and Potter will all be looking for new contracts this summer. It's likely Iginla and Thornton will be back, but the others could be signing elsewhere.
Iginla said he would to return to Boston because he believes this team does have the ability to win another Stanley Cup, and he would like to be a part of that.
"I think it's a team that has as good a shot as any to win," Iginla said. "I think next year, with this group, whether I'm here or not, they'll be a force here for a while."
Chiarelli's overall message to the team was a positive one. The Bruins earned the Presidents' Trophy as the best team in the league during the regular season, and three players -- Patrice Bergeron (Selke), Chara (Norris) and Tuukka Rask (Vezina) -- are finalists for top awards. Boston won its first-round series against the Red Wings in five games, before losing to the rival Canadiens in seven.
"We had a heck of a year in the regular season and I thought we had a really good first round," Chiarelli said. "But we're here to win it all so I'm disappointed."
interview on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. “A seller’s market would suggest short supply, and I guess that’s the case. There’s a lot of teams in the mix. A lot of teams are at the cap that are contending that don’t want to give up players on their team but would have to in order to get a player. So there are a lot of forces that are really pushing against the market opening up.”
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s season-ending injury has left an otherwise-deep Bruins team with a need at an important spot. Would Chiarelli trade a draft pick or prospect for a top-four defenseman? He told 98.5 The Sports Hub he’d “look at anything,” but didn’t anticipate a big deal.
“We’re trying to improve our team,” Chiarelli said. “The market is very tight. I would anticipate doing something. I’m not looking for a blockbuster. That type of deal might be hard to do this year and even adding, with the number of teams that are still in it, may be hard. But we’re going to try our best.”
While he said he’s been “focusing on” adding a veteran defenseman, he didn’t rule out adding in a different area.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a veteran defenseman, a veteran, or a defenseman,” he said. “But that’s something I’ve been focusing on.”
The NHL trade deadline is March 5 at 3 p.m. ET.
General manager Peter Chiarelli is serving as assistant GM for Team Canada, while Bruins coach Claude Julien will serve as assistant coach for Team Canada. Players who could represent their country include Tuukka Rask (Finland), Loui Eriksson (Sweden), Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), Patrice Bergeron (Canada), David Krejci (Czech), Milan Lucic (Canada) and Torey Krug (USA).
Julien has been trying to watch as many games as possible when time permits. He wants to be able to give his evaluation of players who are on the bubble of earning a roster spot when Team Canada's hockey operation's staff is ready to make those decisions.
"That's what I do in my spare time," Julien said. "But like anything else, you learn to, I guess, manage your time in a way where all my focus for today is on our team."
When he gets home after a day on the job in Boston, he'll watch the late games. He also believes it helps scouting those teams for when they face the Bruins.
"I'm scouting for two different reasons," he said.
He doesn't have to look too far to scout one player who is on the bubble for Team Canada's roster.
There's been some thought that the international game does not suit Lucic's style of play, but Julien believes the hulking forward could be a nice fit on Team Canada.
"Milan is a good skater. Once he gets going in a straight line, he gets there," explained Julien. "What Milan does, he can certainly keep defensemen on their heels. He's got decent stats this year so that's what he's got and I think at the end of it, you're going to look at if he fits into your top 22 or 23 players and go from there.
"We have to evaluate everybody and see what they bring. At the same time, it's not always about brining top players, and you've heard that before. It's about bringing the best team you can and it takes a variety of different players. You have to have a good power play, have to have good penalty killers. That's what you're looking for; you have to build the best team possible. When it's all said and done, you know there's going to be opinions of, 'Why isn't he on, why isn't that on?' That's part of the process and you live with it. When you win, it's not an issue; when you lose, you have to face those questions, right?"
Olympic rosters will be set by Jan. 7.
On Friday, the Bruins officially announced Chiarelli’s four-year contract extension through the 2017-2018 season. Under Chiarelli’s tenure as GM in Boston, the Bruins have reached the postseason in six of seven seasons, including a pair of trips to the finals and a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
“He’s done a fantastic job as a GM since he’s been here and certainly deserves the extension,” said Bruins president Cam Neely. “We’ve made the postseason the last six years, and one of the things we talk about here, being a Boston Bruin is not just making the postseason, but competing for a Stanley Cup. We’ve been to the finals twice, won in 2011, and Pete’s done a really good job of keeping our core group together, identifying the core group, making sure we lock them up. He’s done a really good job of understanding the type of player our fan base really enjoys watching.”
While the Bruins have enjoyed perennial success, Chiarelli says he believes improvements can be made and his goal is to contend for a Cup each season.
"We will continue to have challenges as a team and that’s a good thing,” Chiarelli said. “Our challenges are now at a level that we compete for the Stanley Cup and we want to compete for the Stanley Cup every year. It’s my mandate, my charge to do that.”
Chiarelli, sporting his 2011 Stanley Cup ring during Friday morning’s press conference at TD Garden, believes this organization has achieved many of its goals in the last six seasons, but there’s more to come.
“We’re thrilled to have him and have him extended another four years, which gives him five more years with us,” Neely said.
The B's announced a four-year extension with Chiarelli that will take him through the 2017-18 season.
Chiarelli has one year remaining on his current deal.
“It’s not done yet, but it’s close,” said the source.
The Bruins have become a perennial winner under Chiarelli’s guidance since he was named GM prior to the 2006-2007 season. Along with coach Claude Julien, the Bruins have earned a postseason berth in each of the last six seasons, including a pair of trips to the finals and one Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
After Boston lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals last June, Bruins president Cam Neely said one of his offseason priorities would be to extend Chiarelli’s contract.
“He’s done a fantastic job here since he’s been here,” Neely said during the team’s exit meetings last June. “From when he came until now, there’s been a lot of player/personnel turnover, but we’ve kept the right guys and built from that.”
Even though there’s one season remaining on Chiarelli’s contract, the Bruins felt it was important to lock him up for the long term.
“Ideally, yeah,” Neely said. “He deserves it. He’s done a really good job here. He’s a good GM.”
Many of the players are coming off extremely busy hockey seasons that include not only full schedules for their current teams -- whether that be juniors, college or European leagues -- but also for their national and/or select teams. Additionally, a good portion of the development camp prospects won't even play for the Bruins in the preseason rookie tournament or in training camp.
"At this point, I try to stay away from evaluation," Chiarelli said. "It’s tempting. It registers as you watch enough of the sessions. In general when they’re in training camp you want to get everyone on the same playing field at some point when you’re evaluating and that may not happen until halfway through the year or a quarter of the way.
"They come from different places. Our rookie team for our rookie tournament, you’re not going to see half these guys there just because there’s college kids and European kids. You’d like to have them all under the same roof for a while before you start your evaluation, and sometimes you don't get that."
One thing Chiarelli did pay close attention to at development camp was the play of his European prospects, whom he doesn't get to see as much as his scouting staff does.
"It’s been a while since we’ve had that many European players in one draft, so I think I was watching them a little more closely just for that reason and I was happy with what I saw," Chiarelli said. "[Peter Cehlarik] -- he’s going to be a good player. He’s got to get a little stronger, but good release, good hands, knows where to go. [Linus Arnesson is a] tremendous skater, really good gap all the time, wants to defend, good size. And then [Anton Blidh], he’s got some intangibles that you are going to see in the lower-line players. I like his grit."
Chiarelli also praised his North American and local prospects.
"The older guys that have been around a little bit I thought were good," Chiarelli said, taking note of prospect Anthony Camara along with Brian Ferlin, Seth Griffith and Rob O'Gara. "[O'Gara is] getting stronger and more confident. He’s improving, sees the ice well, good range. So those are some of the guys that stood out.
"In fact, I thought the (Boston) area kids were good, including Robbie [O’Gara]. I thought [Ryan Fitzgerald] was good. I thought he played well today. [Matt Grzelcyk], all these guys, Wiley Sherman. He’s a project, but he’s big, rangy and he’s a real terrific athlete. So we’ve got him for a few years."
"That's probably going to be the last you hear from me for at least the next month," said a smiling Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli as he concluded a press briefing.
Chiarelli earlier was asked if he was still thinking about bringing back veteran Jaromir Jagr and reiterated his position from last Friday.
"We're done for now," he replied.
While Chiarelli was excited to get a much-needed vacation started, he is looking forward to what promises to be a competitive training camp in September. With the likes of forwards Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley and defenseman Andrew Ference gone via trade and free agency, there will be younger players pushing some veterans for roster spots, and Chiarelli is looking forward to seeing how that competition pans out.
"I think it will be a new dynamic. I like the fact that we have guys that are pushing the envelope to play," Chiarelli said. "Maybe a couple of guys here and a couple of guys we got on trades and a couple of guys in Providence. Part of this business is trying to bring in the new. You want to develop your talent and bring them in and let them play. Sometimes there’s not room for them and sometimes you use them as chips in deals.
"You always have to develop and to be at a position where they’re ready to play. It breathes new life into everybody, and I think this year we’re going to have a bit of a challenge in that respect because we’ve played so long into the summer. It’ll be good that there will be some young guys that will be coming into the lineup and breathing new life, breathing new enthusiasm into the team."
One position that is up for grabs is backup goaltender with the departure of Anton Khudobin. Prospect and 2012 first-round draft pick Malcolm Subban will be given a chance to make the NHL squad, as will AHL goalie of the year Nicklas Svedberg and the newly signed Chad Johnson.
"We’ve signed Chad Johnson. We’ve got Svedberg, who has earned a look, and Malcolm will be in the mix. Svedberg’s definitely earned a look," Chiarelli said.
Following the Bruins' loss in the Stanley Cup finals to the Chicago Blackhawks two and a half weeks ago, Boston has traded forwards Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars, while free-agent forward Nathan Horton signed a seven-year deal worth $37 million with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Bruins also signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to an eight-year deal worth $56 million, and they're "very, very close" on a potential eight-year extension for assistant captain Patrice Bergeron, according to Chiarelli.
While the roster has dramatically changed, Chiarelli is pleased with the offseason transactions, and he's planning on a quiet summer.
"We're going to stand pat," Chiarelli said. "I like the fact we're going to have a competition on that third line. We've got some good young players that are already in the organization and just acquired, so as of right now, you never know what can happen the rest of the summer but it will slow down. It has slowed down."
Chiarelli, who has always done well at managing the salary cap, has done the same this offseason to make room in order to sign Rask, Bergeron and Iginla. According to CapGeek.com, the Bruins are currently well over the upcoming season's $64.3 million cap with a payroll of $70.483 million, but Chiarelli isn't concerned. The Bruins will make a few more tweaks, including placing former Bruins forward Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve, which will allow the team to gain back his $4 million cap hit.
"We're fine," Chiarelli said. "We've got space. We've got Savard on LTIR. We're in good shape. To commit to a contract like [Rask's], obviously we've got to put pieces in place in advance, but we're in good shape."
Bruins coach Claude Julien is thrilled with the offseason acquisitions and understands why the team had to make some changes despite its second Stanley Cup appearance in three years.
"I'm happy. I think it's great," Julien said of the offseason additions. "When you have an Iginla and you have an Eriksson and you have those guys who are going to be battling, including Jordan Caron, who is now into his fourth year. ... I think we have a lot of depth."
Along with the newcomers, the Bruins still have Carl Soderberg in the mix, too.
"Soderberg, I'm telling you right now, we didn't see much of him but I've seen enough in practice and in the few games that if this guy, once he's got the experience in this league he's going to be a good player," Julien said. "I see good things coming from him."
Before next season, Julien does have some lineup decisions to make, and they'll probably work themselves out during training camp. He has the option of putting Iginla on the top line along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, which would mean Eriksson could play on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Or it could be the other way around, with Eriksson on the top line and Iginla with Bergeron.
"To me, I always thought those two lines were identical as far as contribution and production," Julien said.
As far as the Bruins' third line, Julien has to decide whether to keep Soderberg at center or put him on the wing. The same goes for Chris Kelly. Where, then, does Caron fit into the mix? Plus there are other players in the system who are expected to compete for a job next season. Julien also has to decide which goalie will serve as Rask's backup. All indications are Niklas Svedberg will be that guy.
"Those are all things I've got to figure out," Julien said. "I can't stand here today and say I've got it figured out. We're going to have to see it develop."
Since exit day, Julien has not talked with Seguin. The two have exchanged text messages, but the coach said he plans on talking with Seguin at some point.
"There was no issue between Tyler and I," Julien said. "I'm not afraid to say it and you guys can ask him at some point. There were no issues there. I worked with him as a hockey player and I dealt with him as a person. There were never any issues that I know about. I thought we had a good relationship."
During Seguin's exit meeting with Julien, the coach told him he worked hard in the finals and competed hard. Julien said he was also critical in the areas where Seguin needs to improve.
"Although his playoffs were a little bit up and down, it was a young player that found a way to battle through it. Maybe the goal production wasn't there but I thought his work ethic and his compete level was there," Julien said.
As far as Horton, Julien admitted he was a bit surprised he decided to sign elsewhere.
"He was happy with us. We had a great relationship and he did some good things for us," Julien said. "I don't know the reasons why he chose to go to Columbus. I know it wasn't personal, not just with myself but with the organization. That much I know. But the main reason, he's the only one who can answer that."
With training camp less than two months away, it appears the Bruins are positioned to make another deep run next season. With new faces in town to complement an already strong core of players for the Bruins, Julien only needs to find what works best moving forward.
"We'll just have to, like anything else, put that puzzle together," he said.
Chiarelli’s current contract will expire after the 2013-14 season. Under his guidance, the Bruins have reached the postseason in six of seven seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reaching the finals this season. He’s orchestrated trades to acquire goaltender Tuukka Rask and top draft picks that resulted in the selections of Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, and he has built a roster with a solid mix of veterans and youth.
Chiarelli’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed.
“Peter still has term [one year] on his contract, but I’ll be talking with him this offseason. We’ve actually started to talk, so he’s done a fantastic job here since he’s been here,” Neely said. “From when he came until now, there’s been a lot of player/personnel turnover, but we’ve kept the right guys and built from that.”
Even though there’s one season remaining on Chiarelli’s contract, the Bruins would like to lock him up for the long term.
“Ideally, yeah,” Neely said. “He deserves it. He’s done a really good job here. He’s a good GM.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien signed a multiyear extension with the team last summer. However, prior to the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, there was a lot of talk that if the Bruins lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, Julien might lose his job.
But en route to the team’s run to the finals, Chiarelli strongly stood behind his coach, saying that as long as he was the GM in Boston, Julien would be the coach.
Neely was asked about that “package deal” comment by Chiarelli and if the president felt the same way.
“That’s how he felt,” Neely said with a smile. “I think a lot of it had to do with the unfair heat Claude was getting this year. Claude has done a fantastic job. He’s made a lot of adjustments since he’s been here, but the one thing that has been constant is how he wants this team to play, and a lot of times it’s easy for people to say if the team’s not doing well that the coach has to go. But your players need to perform, too.”
When asked again if they're a package deal, Neel said: “I don’t think so. I mean, they’ve both done a great job since they’ve been together here, you can’t deny that -- they’ve done a really good job. You’d probably have to ask Pete that, how he feels about that year to year, if that’s how he feels. I talked to him about that, and he was just saying he was tired of the heat that Claude was getting, and I don’t blame him.”
Chiarelli, speaking on the "Salk and Holley Show," said as long as he is GM of the Bruins, Julien's job is secure.
"I feel strongly about our coach, and his job is safe," said Chiarelli, who hired Julien back in the summer of 2007. "As long as I'm here, his job is safe."
Julien is 256-146-56 as the Bruins head coach. He won the Jack Adams Trophy in 2009 and led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 seasons in 2011.
Instead, the GM was praising his players and the coaching staff for staying poised and focused and pulling off an incredible come back after being down 4-1 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Even before the Game 7 puck drop, there was plenty of speculation surrounding coach Claude Julien and his future with the team if the Bruins suffered another first-round playoff exit. Chiarelli wasn’t asked directly about Julien, but the GM backed his coach during Tuesday afternoon’s presser. Many Bruins players, including veteran Milan Lucic, admitted after Monday’s win they knew there might be changes to the staff and the roster if the team exited the playoffs in the first round.
Chiarelli did not want to discuss the what-if scenario because the Bruins did win, but he gave kudos to Julien.
“We went through [what-ifs] in 2011 a thousand times and I got tired of it,” Chiarelli said. “You plan for different scenarios, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t. It would have been a disappointing loss and I’ll leave it at that.
“What I can say is that in that last half of that third period, our guys came together and you could see a push that I hadn’t seen in a long time. We’ve seen it a couple of periods in this series and so you know it’s there; it’s when it comes out.”
After giving the players their due for the win, Chiarelli included the coaching staff, too.
“I saw some terrific coaching on the empty-net goals,” the GM said. “This group’s been criticized for its power play, but what I saw there, what I saw before was terrific for me. Those are clutch recoveries, you’re talking traffic; we’ve been preaching traffic, Claude and his staff, preaching traffic.”
All three goals were a direct result of traffic and net drive. The coaching staff gave the instructions and the players followed through.
“Let’s keep that in my mind when we’re passing judgment here, there was some good coaching there,” Chiarelli said. “Players, it was a great push by the players.”
“Claude did a good job in those last 11 minutes because -- he did a great job -- because the players have to generate the intensity, but you have to also – if you’re just running around like chickens with your head cut off, you’re not going to accomplish anything,” added Chiarelli. “That intensity, that desperation, but the composure to make the plays that they made, really the game plan. Net-front presence is all we talked about the whole friggin’ series behind close doors. Net-front traffic. We saw that in three goals. Desperation, yes, but a desperate composure also, which is what you saw.”
"I saw lackadaisical play, and certainly it's not the type of energy or attitude you want going into the playoffs," he said of Boston's 5-2 loss to Philadelphia.
Speaking on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Chiarelli didn't blame coach Claude Julien for the Bruins' current problems, but said the entire team should take responsibility. He also pointed out that players competing for ice time haven't stepped up like they need to.
The Bruins have just three regular-season games left, and Chiarelli sounded concerned about whether his team can fix its problems before the playoffs begin.
“Teams don’t flip the switch, let’s be clear on that, it just doesn't happen." he said. “So, we've got to put last night aside, we've got to build on what we had been building on in the previous three games. I know the results weren’t there in the previous three games, but we had good, strong periods, successive periods. That made me feel better. So we've got to get back to that. There'll be no flipping switches here."
He touched on the Bruins' strategy moving forward.
"We'd like to win the division," he said. "We've tried to rest some guys. ... You win the division, you're in a better spot going forward in the playoffs. ... You want to get the team in a winning spirit and I thought we were going in that direction. I really liked the successive string of periods we played in the last few games before last night, but we took a step back last night.”
BOSTON -- After Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli pulled the trigger on a deal to acquire veteran forward Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a pair of prospects and a draft pick, the GM spoke Tuesday with the future Hall of Famer and laid out the team's blueprint moving forward.
According to Chiarelli, Jagr was receptive to the role he would play in Boston in hopes of winning the organization's second Stanley Cup in a span of three years. The Bruins are not concerned with Jagr's age, 41, or that there's this notion his skills have deteriorated.
"He wants to win," Chiarelli said. "His game is still a strong power game. He was leading [Dallas] in scoring and you watch him play and you see a lot of what you used to see in him, so I'm confident Jaromir will accept any role he's given and he knows he's coming to a strong group and he'll help us out."
In the deal, the Bruins sent forward Lane MacDermid, unsigned prospect Cody Payne and a conditional second-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft in order to obtain Jagr's services. The Bruins receive a player with 1,380 career games played, 679 goals and 1,000 assists for 1,679 points. Also, his 195 career playoff goals ranks 18th all-time.
"His career speaks for itself," Chiarelli said. "He's a strong player, protects the puck well and consistent with our style, in the sense that there's a cycle element to his game. He's good on the half wall with a real good release shot. He's just a really good player. I know he's 41 but he's been one of their best players in Dallas, and last year he was one of Philly's best players and he gives us an element of offense."
The conditional second-round pick could become a first-round pick if the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference finals this season. That does not hinder Chiarelli from making another deal that could include this year's first-round pick, because if the conditional pick does vest this spring, then the next option would be a first-round pick in 2014.
Chiarelli learned late Monday night that Jagr would be available via the trade market, but the Bruins GM admitted there had already been some groundwork done. Jagr will join his new team on Wednesday and he'll wear his usual No. 68.
He has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 34 games this season with the Stars. That would put him fourth on the Bruins in scoring, behind Patrice Bergeron (31 points), Brad Marchand (28) and David Krejci (28).
Bruins coach Claude Julien could insert Jagr onto the team's third line along with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron. Once Chris Kelly -- who's out with a broken left tibia -- returns, a possible line of Jagr, Kelly and Peverley could be a strong combination for the Bruins, with speed and playmaking ability.
"We'll have to see where he fits in," Chiarelli said. "Obviously, there's a need on the third line, but he's got a higher-line pedigree. What I said to Jaromir was, we pride ourselves on four strong lines and he's an important part, but not the [only] part to success. So he could be on the third line. There's been times when our fourth line has been our third line, and vice versa, so it depends on who's going. We'll try to even it out and he seemed very receptive to that."
One place Jagr should help is on the Bruins' power play. Boston is ranked 24th in the NHL in power-play percentage at 15.2 percent (14-for-92). Jagr has scored six power-play goals this season with the Stars.
"He's a strong half wall player on the power play and he can roll off the top of the circle and really fire the wrist shot and make plays, so that'll help us out on the power play," Chiarelli said.
In the past, Jagr had a reputation as not being a team-first guy. But in recent years that perception has changed.
"He's a terrific player who's won some Cups and has been a superstar player, but I liken it a little to, and I told Jaromir this too, the addition of Mark Recchi," Chiarelli said. "You don't have to be the guy, but you're an important piece and you band together with your teammates. You've got the experience. You've got a certain skill set, size that will benefit the rest of the group. You've got the experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that."
Recchi was 40 years old when the Bruins acquired him from Tampa during the 2008-2009 seasons. He spent another two seasons in Boston and retired after he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Even though Jagr will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, Chiarelli wouldn't necessarily classify the veteran as a rental player.
"It's a little early to tell," Chiarelli said. "I probably would have given you the same answer for Recchi when we got him, [and] we extended him twice."
Less than a week after a possible deal for this year's star-studded trade chip Jarome Iginla imploded on the Bruins when the future Hall of Famer decided he wanted to instead play with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, Chiarelli turned his focus on Jagr.
"This market these days is difficult because the prices are so high, and you have to try to judge who else is in on the game," Chiarelli said. "You don't want to overspend, but you want to get the player, you want to get help, you want to bolster the team and you want to win."
Chiarelli would still like to add another defenseman before Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, but as of Tuesday afternoon the Bruins GM is happy with the team's latest addition.
"We got the player and we feel he will help us," Chiarelli said of Jagr.
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