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What's Next For the Bruins?

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1What's Next For the Bruins? Empty What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri May 15, 2009 5:29 pm

davetherave

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"The Beasts of the East"...how many people picked the Boston Bruins to battle it out in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals?

It might easier to count the ones who didn't pick 'em.

The B-Boys looked like a lock. Now Bruins fans are in shock.

So what now?

From today's Globe & Mail from the Associated Press:

Bruins forced to look ahead

May 15, 2009 at 2:51 PM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — The Bruins had plenty of reasons to believe they could win their first Stanley Cup in 37 years.

They allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and scored the most in the Eastern Conference. They posted their most wins since that championship season with two of the best players at their positions, tough goalie Tim Thomas and towering defenceman Zdeno Chara.

They tossed aside the Montreal Canadiens in a first-round playoff sweep.

Boston was on a roll until the Carolina Hurricanes rolled into town. The Bruins split the first two games at home then lost the next two on the road. They rallied to force a seventh game where momentum and fans were on their side.

The final goal wasn't.

“It's just a sad way to end it,” Chara said after Carolina eliminated the Bruins 3-2 on 14-year veteran Scott Walker's first career playoff goal at 18:46 of overtime Thursday night. “We had different goals and much higher goals and better expectations and it's just a tough one.”

The top-seeded Bruins may have been hurt by the nine-day layoff between series.

“This time of year they don't want to practise, they want to play,” coach Claude Julien said. “We might have lost a little bit of our focus and our edge.”

The only game in which they dominated Carolina was a 4-0 victory in Game 5 when a loss would have meant elimination.

The Hurricanes were the faster team but were only seeded sixth, though they still have 10 players who were on their 2006 championship squad. And they passed a rigorous test in a seven-game opening series against New Jersey when they scored twice in the last 80 seconds to come from behind in Game 7.

“They came up against us and did it again,” Julien said, “dramatic win in overtime and you have to give them credit.”

The series may have come down to Walker's swipe at the puck that just slipped by Thomas's left shoulder, but the Hurricanes had better opportunities in overtime.

The Bruins did have four power plays in regulation but failed to score.

“They had a game plan and they stuck to it,” said Marc Savard, Boston's top regular-season scorer. “Unfortunately, at times, we swayed away from ours. We're paying for it now.”

The Bruins have made great strides since consecutive fifth-place finishes in the Northeast Division under Mike Sullivan and Dave Lewis.

Julien took over before last season and led them to the final playoff spot in the East and a first-round series in which they pushed top-seeded Montreal to a seventh game. With almost all their key players returning, they zoomed all the way to top of the conference this season.

In one 46-game stretch — more than half the season — they were 37-6-3. They were just 6-9-4 in their next 19 games but followed that with an 8-2 season-ending surge.

The Bruins had three strong defensive pairings, led by Chara and Aaron Ward, four solid lines and the Vezina Trophy-candidate goalie with the league's best goals against average.

“It was a good ride,” Thomas said. “Seems so long ago, but it was only seven months ago or whatever that a lot of people were picking us barely to make the playoffs and some of us were thinking that we overachieved the year before by making the playoffs.”

That didn't soften the hard landing.

“We were down 3-1 and we gave it all we had and when that last goal went in, it hurt. It hurt every guy,” Savard said. “We're like brothers in here.”

Now it's up to the front office to see if it can keep the family together.

Phil Kessel and David Krejci, the Bruins best young offensive players, will be restricted free agents. So will rookie Byron Bitz, who impressed Julien with his grinding style and got his first playoff goal to open the scoring Thursday night.

All could be productive Bruins for years to come, if the team can fit them under the salary cap.

Another rookie, Blake Wheeler, scored 21 goals but struggled in the playoffs and was scoreless in his eight games.

The stingy defence could be even better with the development of rookie Matt Hunwick, who played only the first game against the Canadiens before having his spleen removed.

“You want to build on the positives. You've got some young guys who keep getting better every year,” Julien said. “We definitely took a step forward this year during the regular season and during the playoffs.

“But it makes you appreciate and respect the work that needs to be done to get to the Stanley Cup finals and this is what we need to learn, that it's going to take a lot more than what we've done this year to accomplish that.”


---

From the looks of it, this team had it all...yet they were outsmarted, outskated and outworked...and ousted by the supposedly mild-mannered but mighty wind from Raleigh.

What do our GMHockey Members think went wrong for the Bruins in the playoffs?

Where are their weaknesses, and what kind of personnel decisions do they need to make to improve for next year?

Or was it just 'not their time yet'?
Over to you.



Last edited by davetherave on Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:50 pm; edited 2 times in total

2What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri May 15, 2009 5:52 pm

SensFan71


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Looch to Ottawa for Schubert and Auld lol yes I am dreaming, but seriously, Boston doesn't have to change much, keep what they have as their time will come, this team will go deep again.

3What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri May 15, 2009 6:14 pm

Guest


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Boston doesnt need to do anything, all they do is keep improving, keep drafting well, and keep signing UFA's that can fit into Boston's system. Staying the course is what's next for Boston. If there is any fan base in the NHL that should be excitted for next year, its Boston and Chicago. IMO those two will be meeting for the cup next year.

4What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri May 15, 2009 10:14 pm

asq2

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I think Fernandez and Bergeron are gone.

Rask will come up and Colborne's in the system, though, so they'll be alright.

5What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Sun May 24, 2009 9:57 am

davetherave

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The view from Boston today:

Chiarelli has some operating to do

BOSTON.COM/Kevin Paul Dupont, May 24, 2009

The knife fell first on Phil Kessel, the speedy winger undergoing shoulder surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital last week, which should prevent the Bruins' top goal scorer from participating in the US Olympic camp in August.

Of course, we don't know whether Kessel will still be a Bruin by then, which in part is what will make this offseason, especially these next 4-6 weeks, perhaps the most exciting and defining in Peter Chiarelli's regime as Boston's general manager.

We do know that there are more surgeries to follow, which is about all we know about the offseason at this hour.

David Krejci soon will have an ailing hip repaired. Andrew Ference has a torn groin and a hernia that must be remedied, but the veteran defenseman said last week that surgery will have to wait a month, in order for swelling to subside.

Zdeno Chara (shoulder and more), Chuck Kobasew (rib), and Byron Bitz (rib) are expected to recover without a trip "up the hill" to the MGH operating rooms, where anyone with a Spoked-B speed pass is eligible for 24-7 drive-thru service.

One must wonder, had the Bruins slipped by the Hurricanes and made it to Round 3, might they have had to forfeit the conference finals because of a lack of available bodies? All teams get banged up in the playoffs, even the mighty, mighty Red Wings, but the scope and severity of Boston's injuries bordered on the catastrophic, even for a franchise with a rich and disappointing history of crucial physical setbacks, including the likes of Mssrs. Bobby Orr, Gord Kluzak, Cam Neely, Normand Leveille, and more.

For his part, Chiarelli said he is satisfied that his staff is doing enough to try to prevent injury. In some cases, he noted, the injuries simply were not preventable, noting, for instance, that Krejci's hip problem is "more congenital." Kessel's torn-up shoulder? Matt Hunwick's ruptured spleen? By the GM's eye, all part of the caveat emptor attached to the skate-and-shoot business.

"I don't know how you prevent a torn labrum and rotator cuff," said Chiarelli, referring specifically to Kessel's injuries. "Obviously, bodies have to be better built-up, and I think we are prudent in that. At the same time, I guess, you can always improve on it, but I don't think [the number of injuries] is that unusual, if you look at other teams and other playoff series."

Both Krejci and Kessel, said the GM, have been reminded repeatedly that "they have to get stronger." Muscle alone isn't a guaranteed prophylactic, but Krejci and Kessel are among the smaller NHL forwards. To be perennially effective at this level, and to ward off further injuries, each might benefit immensely by adding 8-10 pounds of muscle (as long as they steer clear of the Brandon Bochenski 12-Steps-to-Popeye program).

While the bodies get patched up, Chiarelli must patch together a lineup and payroll for 2009-10, and like all GMs, he still is missing a critical piece of guidance from the league office. No one knows the cap number for next season, and it won't be computed for approximately another three weeks, simply because '09 playoff revenue (factoring about $2 million per game) is a critical part of the brew. The last Stanley Cup game is slated to be played no later than June 16, which will keep next year's cap number out of GMs' hands until the third or fourth week of June.

If the cap comes in as expected, around $55 million, only a slight cut from this season's $56.7 million, Chiarelli will have some $10 million to sign his four restricted free agents: Kessel, Krejci, Bitz, and Hunwick. But keep in mind - and this could be critical over the next four months - GMs are allowed to run their budgets 10 percent over the cap number until opening night of the season. Rather than risk losing Kessel to the open market via an offer sheet come July 1, Chiarelli could opt to sign him at a figure he knows will push him over the cap, then take all summer to massage the math (i.e. exit other contracts or deal Kessel).

Two other points to factor: 1. Glen Murray's arbitration hearings ended Wednesday. If the ex-right winger is made whole on his $4.15 million salary, Chiarelli's obligations for next season increase by $1.4 million; 2. Peter Schaefer, ditched to the AHL at the start of 2008-09, is on the books for another year at $2.1 million. If the Bruins decide to buy him out - which could be linked to Murray's payout - then some $700,000 would be added to Boston's cap figure for each of the next two seasons.

Lots of variables. Lots of bodies to heal and holes to fill. And when opening night arrives, the roster of Chiarelli's three-plus years on the job should stand not as finished product (is it ever finished?) but as full statement of what he wants in a team. He will have shaped it and paid. Now, will it deliver?

US Olympic pool expected to be crowded

No telling yet how many Bruins get invited to the US Olympic camp (Aug. 16-20) in Woodridge, Ill.

Phil Kessel and Tim Thomas, based on their 2008-09 performances, should be locks to suit up for the Yanks in Vancouver in February 2010. Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler could get a call for the August camp, but would project more for 2014 in Sochi, Russia, provided the next CBA allows for working holidays in Olympus for the rank-and-file.

Free up the cash

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he expects free agent contracts to be shorter in term this offseason, in large part because of the struggling worldwide economy.

But as he noted later, that still points to three- or four-year deals, rather than five, six, or more.

Even with the bleaker fiscal picture, a few teams likely will bid aggressively on a small number of players. A sampling of GMs, speaking off the record, pointed to:

Jay Bouwmeester (D) - The star backliner, whom Florida refused to deal at the March deadline, will turn 26 in September. With great wheels and size (6-4/212), he might squeeze out six years and upward of $40 million.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin (F) - The twins, who make up the core of Vancouver's attack, probably can land five-year deals and each average between $5 million and $6 million. The Canucks may have no choice but to pay it, provided the Sedins are willing to stay. If not, Montreal, Los Angeles, perhaps even the Wild (sans Marian Gaborik) could be bidders.

Marian Hossa (F) - He was offered huge money over eight years or more last summer by the Oilers, but he went for a one-year deal with the Winged Wheels. Now he goes to market at age 30. Still has enough pedigree for someone to pay $7 million-$8 million for the next five years, but drive the average down by spreading it across, say, eight years.Manny being expendable

Manny Fernandez is telling friends that he has been informed he won't be asked back to Boston now that his deal has expired. No surprise. His slot will be filled by Tuukka Rask, with Tim Thomas ($20 million/five years) expected to shoulder most of the load for the next 2-3 years, allowing the 22-year-old Rask a comfortable on-the-job-training environment.


"Manny still wants to play," said Chiarelli, who would not confirm that the goalie's departure is a fait accompli. "He hurt his back [in the second half of the season] and his game didn't recover. But prior to that, he was really good for us, and he gave us what we needed for Timmy to get his requisite number of games."

And to make Thomas very rich in the process.

6What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:39 am

davetherave

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Bruins forward Krejci to have hip surgery days after signing multi-year deal


What's Next For the Bruins? Canadian_press

2009-06-03 19:00:00

BOSTON - Boston Bruins forward David Krejci will have a little something to make him feel better when he goes in for surgery Thursday: A three-year contract worth more than US$11 million.

The 23-year-old Czech signed this week just days before he is scheduled to have surgery on a torn labrum in his hip. Krejci said he hopes to be back for the start of the regular season, but he could miss the first month.

"I would like to return for the first game," he said in a conference call with reporters. "I might miss the first month. We'll see how it goes."

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he wasn't concerned about making a commitment to a player who is about to have surgery.

"He's a young man. He's a hard-working guy. All the indicators from the medical people that we have were positive," Chiarelli said. "You put that in the equation and you make a decision to move forward."

7What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:43 am

davetherave

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Yahoo Sports brings us up to speed on what's brewin' with the Bruins...

Inside Shots: Boston Bruins Team Report
Yahoo Sports, June 5, 2009

The pain of losing that Game 7 to Carolina had to be made even worse when the Bruins saw the Hurricanes get blown out of the playoffs in four straight games.

What might have been. What might have been.

“After 82 games with the best record in the East and the second-best in the NHL, I think our expectations were a lot higher,” owner Jeremy Jacobs told a media conference call May 27. “In the room afterward with the players, they knew they were better than that. They could have played better.

“They knew they were more talented and probably have to work harder and be more committed than they were. But I was extremely proud of the team, management and coaching staff. I don’t see anything that was wanting in that group. They know they’ve got something to build on for next year. They feel we’ve got an organization that can move forward and play a role in the finals of the National Hockey League.”

Now, regardless of what happens with the salary cap, whether it goes down this year or next, the Bruins are facing a summer of difficult decisions as they try to make the bodies fit the chart.

The Boston Globe ran a guaranteed salary figure for 2009-10 of $45,635,633, meaning, even if the cap stays at the $56.7 million it was at this season, the B’s don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

There is a list of players headed for both kinds of free agency, but the real news may well be in how the club handles unrestricted free agents like
Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick.

Both will command interest from outside, even though Kessel will both be coming off surgery and will not be ready to start the new season. Hunwick suffered a ruptured spleen during the playoffs but might have played had the Bruins advanced past the second round.

Center
David Krejci also was a restricted free agent, but the Bruins signed him to an extension.

Season Highlight: The Bruins completed a four-game sweep of the rival Canadiens with a convincing 4-1 win over the Habs at Bell Centre April 22. It finished off Boston’s first playoff-series victory since 1999 and only its second in 16 years.

Turning Point: The Bruins were 2-2-3 after their first seven games when they beat Atlanta at home and then scored back-to-back 1-0 wins at Edmonton and Vancouver. They were 14-3-4 by a Nov. 22 shootout win at Montreal.

Notes, Quotes

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was tabbed as the NHL Executive of the Year in a Sporting News poll of 39 executives and coaches.

Chiarelli has one year left on his original four-year contract, and talks were continuing toward an extension.

Even though it hadn’t been officially announced, the Bruins will be hosting the Winter Classic, reportedly against either Washington or Philadelphia. “Everything I’ve seen acts like and smells like it’s going to be Boston,” said owner Jeremy Jacobs. The game would be at Fenway Park.

The Bruins reported having already sold 13,000 season tickets for next season.

Youth on this club? Eight of the players on the 25-man playoff roster were 25 or younger.

The Bruins were still awaiting word on the arbitration dealing with the buyout of
Glen Murray. It could add $1.4 million to next season’s salary cap.

The Providence Bruins won the first game of the AHL’s Calder Cup finals but then lost four straight to Hershey. “I wouldn’t characterize it as they were the better team. I don’t think I’ll admit to that,” Providence coach Rob Murray said. “But they won the series, so I guess you can say that.”

Quote To Note: “I believe and hope this was a growing experience for them. The expectations during the Stanley Cup are much higher than the normal season. I think they’re up for doing it.”—Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs on his team.

Roster Report

Most Valuable Player: G
Tim Thomas, the late bloomer who has become so important to this franchise, won 36 games and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. His exploits cemented a new four-year contract, worth $20 million.

Most Disappointing Player: D
Andrew Ference turned out to be a major disappointment, and it had nothing to do with performance. Ference missed 31 games with a broken tibia, then went down with groin and pelvic injuries and missed 12 of the last 15 games, counting playoffs, and was headed for groin surgery. His puck-moving ability was missed.

Free Agent Focus: The Bruins don’t have a lot of money to play with but can exceed whatever the 2009-10 cap is by 10 percent before shaking money free. The primary focus will be on how to keep the unrestricted free agents. Goalie
Manny Fernandez, who won’t be back, had been talking retirement but has backed off. Fernandez will be allowed to leave to make room for G Tuukka Rask, while LWs P.J. Axelsson and Mark Recchi, C Stephane Yelle and D Shane Hnidy are all extra parts who could be brought back for less. The problem is in the restricted free agency department, where the B’s face negotiations with RW Phil Kessel and D Matt Hunwick and have precious little salary cap space with which to work. Both will be coming off surgery but are valuable young players. The Bruins kept C David Krejci, another restricted free agent, by signing him to an extension. The B’s also will still be saddled by some $1.3 million of Glen Murray’s buyout.

Player News:

RW Phil Kessel underwent left rotator cuff and labrum surgery that was called successful. He is not expected to be ready until November, regardless of who signs him as a restricted free agent.

C David Krejci, who was slated for hip surgery that would keep him out at the start of next year (he is also an RFA), said the hip bothered him throughout the season. “There wasn’t a day it didn’t bother me this year,” Krejci said.

LW P.J. Axelsson is an unrestricted free agent, and there’s no way of knowing if he has played the final game of his long Bruins career. “If it is (over), it’s kind of sad,” he said. “I’ve been here for a long time. It’s the business. I can’t really say too much because I don’t know.”

C
Marc Savard said the knee injury he suffered in Game 6 against Carolina likely would have kept him out for a couple of weeks during the season. He played Game 7.

D Matt Hunwick, who lost his spleen during the Montreal series, was set to return had the Bruins advanced beyond Round 2.

RW
Shawn Thornton said he hopes the Bruins re-sign center Stephane Yelle, who will be an unrestricted free agent. “Playing with Yeller really helped me,” Thornton said. “It gave Coach (Claude Julien) the confidence to put us out there in more situations. I hope he comes back because he makes my life a lot easier.”

D
Aaron Ward, a former Hurricane, couldn’t understand why he was labeled a villain by his former home fans after he was sucker-punched by Carolina’s Scott Walker in the playoffs. “The fan base there was wrapped up in me being Public Enemy No. 1,” he said. “I don’t get it. I was the one who got belted in the face. I was surprised when I got to Carolina by the level of animosity directed at me. I got back to Boston and I sat up with my wife until 3 a.m. trying to convey to her the level of animosity in Raleigh. She didn’t believe it. I said, ‘I’m dead serious; I’m going to go back to Raleigh and they hate me.’”

Medical Watch:

RW Phil Kessel, the Bruins’ leading goal scorer this season, underwent surgery to repair rotator cuff and labrum tears and was not expected to be ready for the start of next season.

C David Krejci was headed for hip surgery and was also not expected to be ready for the start of the 2009-10 season.

D Andrew Ference, who missed 12 of the last 15 games with groin and pelvic injuries, was headed for groin surgery. His re-injury came on a hit from Bruins nemesis Scott Walker.

RW
Chuck Kobasew revealed he suffered two broken ribs from a cross-check in Game 1 against Carolina and played the rest of the series.

LW Mark Recchi, again showing how ridiculously tough hockey players really are, played Games 5 and 6 of the Carolina series with a kidney stone, had surgery between Games 6 and 7 and then played in the finale.

D
Zdeno Chara played the final two games with a very sore ankle after taking a slash.

C Marc Savard played the finale with a sore knee after a knee-on-knee collision in the third period of Game 6.

D Matt Hunwick (spleen) and LW
Marco Sturm (knee surgery) were both skating by the end of the playoffs and should be fine for next season.

8What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:36 am

wprager

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Not much, really. Maybe give Savard some growth hormones? They need to learn from their mistakes, rest up the big guns in the last 20 games (get those 3rd/4th liners some ice time to practice their stuff. Don't take any opponent in the post-season for granted even for a period. They'll be fine.

9What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:35 pm

davetherave

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ESPN's EJ Hradek partners with Puck Prospectus' Tom Awad to mull over next season's menu for the hungry Bruins.

YOUNG FORWARDS COULD USE MENTOR
Boston has scoring, needs more scrapping
EJ Hradek, Tom Awad, ESPN.com, June 18, 2009

Plugging Holes - Boston Bruins


What's Next For the Bruins? Bos
The Hole: Veteran forward

Despite their disappointing loss to Carolina in the playoffs, the Bruins have to be considered one of the best and most balanced teams in the league. They ranked second in offensive GVT, 10th in defensive and second in goaltending GVT among the 30 teams.

In Tim Thomas, they have one of the most consistent goaltenders in the league; Thomas led the NHL in 2008-09 with a GVT of 35.9. With Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman, they have a solid blue line with offensive ability.

Their supply of dangerous offensive weapons is impressive: Marc Savard, David Krejci, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic (four of whom are under 23 and will only get better). If this team lacks anything, it is a veteran presence. While the Bruins have a true veteran and three-time Cup winner on the blue line in Aaron Ward, they could use another veteran forward to help mentor their younger players along with the gray-haired Mark Recchi.

The Fix: Sign F Michael Peca (UFA, Blue Jackets)


Peca, who has been an NHL captain with two different teams, would be a solid addition to a Bruins team that isn't lacking much. The Bruins' penalty-killing, at +5.0 GVT, ranked ninth in the league, and it is just about the only area in which the Bruins were not already dominant this past season. At 34, Peca is slower than he used to be, but his defensive skill and experience could be the missing ingredients Boston requires to push it to a championship level next season. Peca also is expected to ask for a reasonable salary, a key factor when GM Peter Chiarelli is trying to fit all his young stars under the salary cap.

E.J.'s Take: I see the B's more pressing need on the blue line. While they have a pretty good group led by their captain, Chara, I think there's room for improvement. Of course, they're really pressed by salary-cap limitations.

Much will be impacted by what they decide to do with restricted free agent Phil Kessel, who scored a team-high 36 goals last year. If management decides to trade him (rather than give him a lucrative new deal), that will change the team's priorities. If they do move Kessel, they should get something of significance in return.

In any case, I don't see Peca as a fit in Boston. I think they'd be better suited to re-sign veteran pivot Stephane Yelle for that role. If he chooses to go elsewhere, I would reconsider Peca, who could end up staying in Columbus.

Tom Awad is a writer for Puck Prospectus. E.J. Hradek is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Note: A mainstay of Puck Prospectus's metrics is "Goals Versus Threshold" (GVT). The stat blends an array of offensive and defensive figures to measure the value, in terms of goals, a player contributes above what the marginal player would over the course of the season. A marginal player is one that could be replaced with a player of equivalent skill, e.g. from the minors. For instance, Evgeni Malkin had an offensive GVT of +18.9, a defensive GVT of +4.5 and a total GVT of +23.4 for the 2008-9 regular season, meaning that Malkin was worth 23.4 goals more than a marginal player over the course of the season, or worth about 0.3 additional goals per game. In the team context, GVT refers to performance above an NHL average team. For the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings had a +30.8 offensive GVT, a +15.1 defensive GVT, a -21.5 goaltending GVT, for a +24.4 total GVT. Therefore, at even strength, Detroit was 24.4 goals better than the average team.



Last edited by davetherave on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

10What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:38 pm

SensFan71


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would Peca replace the goals losing Kessel causes? I don't think so, no question of some leadership qualities, maybe not the first guy I would pick, but he could still do it.

11What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:21 pm

davetherave

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Bruins columnist Kevin Dupont serves up a few juicy tidbits as the Draft Day and UFA buffets are being prepared.

SOMETHING MAY BE UP
Targeted player could prompt deal
Kevin Dupont, The Boston Globe, June 24, 2009

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said yesterday that he'd like to move up a slot or two in the first round of the NHL draft Friday night in Montreal.

The Bruins hold the No. 25 pick in the draft, and Chiarelli said they have identified a player that might be available slightly ahead of their current position.

“Our guys have an eye on one player,’’ noted Chiarelli. “I don’t know if we’ll get him.’’

Chris Kreider, the standout winger from Boxford who is slated to enter Boston College this fall, could be the player the Bruins have targeted. Kreider, ranked the 14th-best skater in North America by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, likely will be chosen in the thick of the first round, perhaps as high as No. 10, but possibly in the mid or late 20s.

Kreider, 18, just finished his junior year at Phillips Andover Academy but will enter BC as a freshman, after officially graduating from Masconomet Regional High School. The speedy left winger attended Masconomet for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Andover, where he was a hockey and lacrosse standout.

“I’ll be happy any which way,’’ said the 6-foot-2 1/2-inch Kreider, a huge Bruins fan. “It certainly would be special if it’s Boston. I’ll be ecstatic to be picked in general, but sure, if it’s my hometown team, that would be special.’’

The Bruins also could have their eye on Zack Kassian, perhaps the toughest customer in the entire draft. The 6-3 Kassian, though, is more likely to be nabbed in the top 12-15 picks. The rockjaw right winger collected 63 points in 61 games this past season with Peterborough (OHL) and he also picked up 136 penalty minutes, a number that compares favorably with the 148 Milan Lucic averaged during his two seasons with Vancouver (WHL) prior to cracking the Boston lineup as a 19-year-old.

The 30 picks of the first round will be made Friday night at the Bell Centre, beginning at 7 p.m. Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

An inviting thought
Tim Thomas
, who last week in Las Vegas received the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s No. 1 goaltender, is expected to be invited to the Team USA Olympic camp in August. USA Hockey will release the list of invitees next Tuesday.


Bruins right winger Phil Kessel, who connected for 36 goals this past season, also could be on the list. However, it’s highly unlikely that the 21-year-old Kessel, who spent two seasons with the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., would be able to participate. He is recovering from shoulder surgery in May and is not expected to be able to be ready to start the NHL season in October.

The Olympic camp will be held in Woodridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, Aug. 16-20.

Picking up a pick
Chiarelli said he would like to add a second-round pick, in part to make up for dealing away this year’s second-rounder, No. 56 overall, to the Islanders when he flipped Ben Walter for Petteri Nokelainen (swapped to Anaheim in March for Steve Montador).


Currently, the Bruins have three picks of their own: Round 1 (No. 25), Round 6 (No. 175), and Round 7 (No. 205). They also will add a fourth pick, perhaps as high as Round 3 (No. 86), acquired in the Andrew Alberts deal with the Flyers. But the Flyers must sign Alberts prior to this week for the Bruins to acquire that pick.

Otherwise, it turns into a fourth-rounder (No. 112). Boston’s fourth-round pick, No. 116, went to the Wild in the Manny Fernandez acquisition. Their fifth-round pick, No. 145, went to Phoenix in the Alex Auld swap.

Flyers in the ointment
A couple of sources with close ties to the Winter Classic negotiations said yesterday that Boston’s opponent in the Jan. 1 game at Fenway will be the Flyers rather than the Capitals.


Organizers agreed weeks ago that a Boston-Washington matchup would be best, given the great numbers of eyeballs that two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin could bring to the screen. However, NBC pushed hard for the Flyers, according to the sources, feeling that it was better to have the fourth-largest US TV market, instead of No. 9 Washington . . .

Look for the colleges to take the Fenway ice one week later, Jan. 8, with the likes of Boston University, Boston College, Providence, and Vermont in a Hockey East mini-tournament . . .

Maintaining his strict policy, Chiarelli politely refused to comment on ongoing negotiations with Kessel, who will receive his qualifying offer this week, along with fellow restricted free agents Byron Bitz and Matt Hunwick . . .

Rumors persist around the league that Chiarelli will deal veteran pivot Marc Savard, who has one year left (at $5 milion) on his deal. Savard would have to waive his no-trade clause, which is something he likely would consider if it brought him closer to his children in Ontario.

If Savard were dealt, it would mean greater offensive responsibility for the likes of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. It’s more likely that Chiarelli would ask Marco Sturm, with two years left on his deal (at $3.5 million per season) to waive his no-trade clause.

12What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:30 pm

davetherave

davetherave
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Jordan Caron...

A Claude Julien type of player, 6'2, 220 already, feisty and talented...a Quebec version of Lucic? That's what the RDS panel is saying...



Last edited by davetherave on Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

13What's Next For the Bruins? Empty Re: What's Next For the Bruins? on Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:54 pm

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
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The view from Boston this past week:

Bruins go on offensive with Morris
Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe, July 26, 2009

The known: The Bruins became younger and more offensive-minded on defense after replacing 36-year-old Aaron Ward (traded to Carolina Friday) with 30-year-old Derek Morris (signed to a one-year, $3.3 million contract).

“We feel we’ve added a No. 2 defenseman to our mix,’’ general manager Peter Chiarelli said during a conference call yesterday. “We feel that we’ve improved and upgraded.’’

The unknown: Whether the Bruins’ blue line is significantly better as a result.

“Morris has gone backwards,’’ one Eastern Conference executive wrote in an e-mail. “No longer a top-four D. His mobility for a 6-foot guy is surprisingly average at best. Offensively, his game isn’t what it once was and he has trouble defending the rush. Shocked at what they paid him. For close to the money, [Francois] Beauchemin is a way better player. They were better with Ward for my money.’’
Morris, Calgary’s first-round pick in 1996, is joining his fifth organization. Most recently, Morris was traded by Phoenix to the Rangers March 4 for Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, and Dmitri Kalinin.

The Bruins contacted Morris upon the opening of free agency July 1. They indicated their interest while informing Morris that they had to clear cap space.

Earlier this month, Morris traveled to Boston to meet with Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien. Once the Bruins traded Ward and initiated the buyout of Patrick Eaves (the forward cleared waivers yesterday), they finalized their offer to Morris.

“We’d been talking for a little while,’’ said Morris. “Nothing really heated up until the last little bit. It was kind of the way I was leaning to start with. Once I heard of the opportunity to play there, it was a no-brainer.’’

Morris recorded eight assists in 18 games and added two helpers in seven playoff games with the Rangers last season.

In 75 games between Phoenix and New York in 2008-09, Morris had five goals and 15 assists while averaging 20:53 of ice time. It was the lowest point total of Morris’s career.

“I think we’ve seen the tip of the iceberg with Derek the last couple years,’’ Chiarelli said. “He does have a very good skill set. He really makes a nice first pass. He’s got a tremendous shot and a really good offensive skill set. The thing we really liked was his compete level.’’

The Bruins are counting on the 221-pound Morris to be a top-four defenseman and power-play quarterback. Morris has a history of taking on big workloads. In every season except his rookie year in 1997-98, Morris has logged 20 minutes or more of ice time per game. Morris appeared in 82 games each in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Morris’s most recent serious injury took place in 2005-06, when he missed 23 games because of a sprained ankle.

In contrast, Ward, because of his in-your-face style, had made 65 appearances in each of his last two seasons.

“He’s been very durable over the years,’’ Chiarelli said of Morris. “He’s got a nice, thick body. He uses it very well when he plays.’’

Last season, Morris blocked 128 shots. Ward, who excelled at stepping in front of pucks in shooting lanes, recorded 124 blocked shots.

Morris’s offensive production, however, has declined in each year since 2002-03, when he scored 11 goals and 37 assists in 75 games for Colorado.

But where Morris’s game might have suffered the most recently has been his mobility.

“That’s my biggest problem with Morris,’’ wrote the East executive. “He doesn’t have great speed to get back and get the puck.’’

The Bruins have approximately $1.3 million remaining in cap space. Chiarelli said he is done dealing for now.

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