<
>

Mailbag: A dynasty in the making?

It's time for another mailbag. Let's get right to it, and don't forget to send in your questions here:

Q: Is it possible that we might have a dynasty on our hands? Given the core is still intact and we have the money to replace the guys we lost, we could actually improve this team. What do you think? -- Mike (Alberta)

A: Mike, I wouldn't go as far as talking possible dynasty yet because of the parity in the NHL and the salary cap. Yes, general manager Peter Chiarelli has done a good job of keeping the core intact -- and they most definitely have a chance to repeat this season -- but that being said, the Bruins have 10 free agents (seven unrestricted and three restricted) to sign after this coming season with the biggest names being Milan Lucic and David Krejci. But the space is there to sign them, and if Chiarelli wants to, they can probably lock both those guys up now. So a lot depends on what happens between now and next August. But there is potential for the Bruins to be a strong contender for years to come.

Q: I'm curious and wondering exactly what happened with Zdeno Chara during the playoffs when he missed a game against Montreal for dehydration? Was that really the problem or did it have something with Max Pacioretty? -- Anthony (Montreal)

A: I can tell you that the game Chara missed in the Montreal series had nothing to do with the Pacioretty incident and the media circus that followed Chara afterward, especially in that series. Chara may have avoided some media sessions, but he most definitely wouldn't miss the game because of the media. I did hear that he might have been battling some other injuries, but was never able to confirm that. As far as I know, he was in fact dehydrated from a virus.

Q: Congrats on the newborn first off. With Tomas Kaberle signing with Carolina, who in your opinion do you see taking the final defensive roster spot? I know a lot depends on training camp, but just wondering what your early feelings are. -- Jason (Kingston, Mass.)

A: Joe Corvo will likely replace Kaberle in the top six, but that still leaves a spot open for the seventh D if the Bruins carry one, and it will be interesting to see who grabs that spot. One would have to think it's Steven Kampfer's to lose since he was in that spot for most of last season, but the Bruins also will look at Matt Bartkowski, as they did a few times last season. I am also curious to see if they sign a free agent veteran before camp or invite one in on a tryout. The latter seems more likely, and I would think the choice would be between that player, Bartkowski and Kampfer.

Q: Since the Bruins will be under the salary cap for 2011-12 (significantly so if Marc Savard retires), do you think that they will try and extend David Krejci and/or Tuukka Rask?-- Nate (Montague, Mass.)

A: I think the Bruins will be trying to lock Krejci up for the foreseeable future and wouldn't be surprised if they're already making efforts to that end. Krejci has proven his worth as a No. 1 center, and even if Savard were to make a comeback attempt, Krejci is the Bruins' top pivot. As for Rask, I think his situation has more question marks surrounding it. Rask is coming off a season where he lost hold of the top goaltending spot and was up and down when he played. With Tim Thomas coming off his monster season, he is obviously the top man between the pipes. The Bruins may want to wait to see how Rask plays and how much he plays this season before deciding if they want to lock him up long term. I could definitely see that being a contract they wait on until next summer.

Q: Hey, James, I'd just like to get your take on Rich Peverley possibly playing with Bergeron and Marchand on the second line. The reason I'm asking is because Peverley had a good postseason and even a good handful of regular season games. Maybe they give Tyler Seguin a spot on the third line for one more year and try to further his development into a star. That's my personal opinion on what they should do but id like to [hear] from a real analyst. -- CJ (Pembroke, Mass.)

A: James, in last week's mailbag I did say that I could see both Peverley and Seguin getting chances on that second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. I still believe that and I agree with you that Peverley would be a great fit. He's a better two-way player than Seguin and has solid veteran experience. But I still think Seguin gets a shot just because of the offensive potential that line would have with him. That's one skilled top six there with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton in front of that possible trio of Marchand, Bergeron and Seguin. It will be one of the more interesting battles of training camp and the preseason, and even the early regular season. If I had to pick, I would say Seguin gets the call if he can deliver early on.

Q: Hi Murph -- I am a big fan of Dennis Seidenberg and his very steady and dependable play (also great job by PC to lock him up prior to last year for very reasonable $$). His ability to play enormous quality minutes allows all the D-men to settle into comfortable roles and not get in over their heads. What is your view of the D pairings for this season? Does Julien play Seids-Chara as a regular pairing or use them as a paring in select games (e.g., Caps, Pens, etc)? -- Roger Fleming (Quispamsis, NB Canada)

A: I think Claude Julien starts the season with Chara and Seidenberg as his top pairing. I agree with everything you're saying and understand how separating them can help with minutes and comfort levels for others, but you'll see Julien do that within games anyway. I just think that will be the top pairing the majority of the time. By the way, some may call me crazy, but I felt Seidenberg was easily one of the Bruins' top five players in the playoffs and one of the best defenseman overall in the playoffs.

Q: No question here really, but wouldn't it be fine to see Recchi pull a Favre or two?! He remained so enthused after the Game 7 losses to Carolina in '09 and Philly in '10, that there is no mistaking his passion for the game. And considering that he had a very un-shabby 14-34-48 in a healthy reg season last year and a decent playoffs, it seems somewhat unlikely that Rex could just drop it and head off into the sunset. I bet in a month or so he will be thinking hard about his decision, perhaps re-thinking it. -- Steve B. (Ottawa, Ontario)

A: Funny you asked this question. I thought the same thing for a few days after the Stanley Cup finals, and then was wondering again in early July. I've known Mark Recchi for a while and when he says something like this he means it. But still I needed more reassurance for some reason, and just under two weeks ago he gave it to me. He came back for one reason and that was to win the Stanley Cup. Mission accomplished. Why come back now? Nothing left to prove. He will be a Hall of Famer. Recchi's career as a player is done. There will be no Brett Favre indecisiveness here.

"There was no better way than what I did," Recchi told me for a feature I did here last week. "With the group of guys we had, with Peter [Chiarelli] and the coaching staff, and then them believing in me and me believing in them prior to the season, giving it one more shot when I signed on for another year, I really believed in what we were doing. Then to go out and do it is incredible; that's the reason I came back. I believe it's the toughest trophy in sports to win, so to come back and be able to do it is so incredible."

He means it, and the next chapter in his life is already taking shape. Recchi is looking into working in a player development role similar to the one Don Sweeney started off with in the Bruins organization, and I can confirm he is speaking to the Bruins and Penguins regarding such a position.

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Ask a question for his next Bruins mailbag here.