Bruins cap picture clearer after Kelly, Campbell signings

607108.jpg

Bruins cap picture clearer after Kelly, Campbell signings

The financial picture is clearing up for the Bruins with two big pieces now in place with price tags of 3 million (Chris Kelly) and (Gregory Campbell) 1.6 million for the next three years.

Its difficult to envision Kelly getting much more than 3 million per season and a term of four years from a group of NHL teams that view him as a third line center on a good playoff team, so the 31-year-old received a good, fair deal from the Bruins. Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli both have an extremely high level of trust in the two-way center, but its also fair to assume he could hit 20 goals and finish high in the plusminus rankings playing with a talented group around him in Boston.

Even if 2011-12 ends up serving as a career year for Kelly, hes invaluable to Boston for his leadership, professionalism and the Bergeron-like skill set that he brings to the table nightly.

Campbell might have earned something a little richer than one might have expected as a fourth line center. But he centered the best fourth line in hockey when the Bruins won the Cup, and Chiarelli is spending 4 million combined for Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton over the next two years.

The salary cap for the 2012-13 season isnt yet known and wont be finalized until the CBA is ratified by the NHL and the NHLPA. But it would have been 70.3 million if the new CBA is modeled after the current agreement that expires in September, and the Bruins are currently at 64.9 million, according to capgeek.com.

The 64.9 million includes the 5 million cap hit for Tim Thomas and the 4.007 million cap hit for Marc Savard, and both could be off the Bs books by the time next season rolls around.

That leaves roughly 5 million in cap space -- or 14 million if they can clear Thomas off the ledger and place Savard on long term injured reserve with his debilitating post-concussion syndrome -- with the Bruins still looking to address restricted free agents Tuukka Rask and Benoit Pouliot as well secure at least one more top-nine forward to the mix. The Bruins also need one more defenseman to fill into the vacant spot left by Joe Corvo, and a 1.494 cap hit for Dougie Hamilton should the 18-year-old prove hes ready to play in Boston next season.

So the Bruins dont appear to be in dire straits from a salary cap perspective in terms of fielding the team that Chiarelli and Julien feel comfortable with. But it also doesnt appear that theres room for an 8 million per year player like Zach Parise or Rick Nash unless some wheeling and dealing goes down this summer.

That goes doubly so for a team that will have Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference all up for new contracts after the 2012-13 hockey season is over.

Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

bruins_ray_bourque_062516.jpg

Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

ANDOVER, Mass. — Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque, who's facing a drunken driving charge, says he accepts the responsibility of his actions.

Bourque was charged Friday night with operating under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He posted bail and was released.

"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory," Bourque said in a statement released Sunday. "I am not happy about the situation I put myself into."

Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said the 55-year-old Bourque was arrested about 11:30 p.m. after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in a construction zone in the city. No injuries were reported.

Bourque is to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Police haven't provided a date.

According to The Boston Globe, Bourque currently owns Tresca, a restaurant on Boston's North End.

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

bruins-jakub-zboril.jpg

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.