Haggerty: Chiarelli has mastered the tricks of the trade

Haggerty: Chiarelli has mastered the tricks of the trade
March 29, 2012, 12:06 pm

WILMINGTON, Mass. The harmonious chemistry inside a hockey dressing room can be a fragile and complicated concoction.
Oftentimes a team riding high on emotion, overflowing with an old-fashioned work ethic and full of efficient moving pieces, can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Without bona-fide superstars at the forward position or a true sniper Tyler Seguin is Bostons leading goal-scorer and point-getter, but isnt among the top 35 scorers in the NHL the Bruins certainly qualify as a prime example.
The Bs are one of those teams reliant on chemistry, discipline and hard work over sheet star power.
That means newcomers can be incredibly important to the balance of chemistry, and can tip the scales considerably for better or worse.
The NHL trade deadline becomes a challenge to find the perfect fit, both personally and professionally. A bad-apple personality or a player who cant adhere to the Claude Julien system can do all manner of damage. The Bruins saw the latter with Tomas Kaberle last season, but managed to win the Stanley Cup anyway.
All that being said, long-time Bruins have developed an appreciation for the way general manager Peter Chiarelli can pick potential Bs at the deadline.Its hard to talk about GMs as a player, but of course were happy with what hes done, said Andrew Ference. The longer you go on and the more you play in this league, you realize the teams that are able to sustain success are the ones that have the same base group of players year after year.
A certain trait of success is, when you find a group of guys with a certain amount of character and chemistry then you dont mess with it much. Theres been tinkering here and there, but the guys that hes brought in have been personalities that have really fit in well. Guys have different backgrounds and beliefs, but almost everybody in here has the same kind of character. For instance me and Timmy Thomas, we have completely different political and social beliefs, but our character is so similar that were on the same page when it comes to winning and commitment . . . all of the things that make up what sports are. It has to be hard as a GM to seek out those players that will fit especially if you dont know them that well but hes done a tremendous job. I have no idea what the science behind it is, but it works.
Chiarelli and the rest of the front office have become incredibly adept at identifying their teams needs, finding players with the right personality to mesh with the team, and surrendering proper value for those players.
Last season Chiarelli brought in Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley to little fanfare. They didnt produce much through the remainder of the regular season, but both forwards were huge difference-makers in the postseason.
Kelly said the desire to prove Chiarelli right after he arrived from the Senators was one of the driving forces for him during last years playoff run. The Bruins clearly wouldnt have won anything without his scoring binge in the first round against the Canadiens, and it came from a place of high motivation.
I might be a bit biased because Chiarelli brought me in last year, but he does a good job with those trades, said Kelly. Brian Rolston, Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau (this year's deadline pickups) are all good guys and character guys that play hard within the team concept. A lot of times people want GMs to go out and get the big-name player, free agent or whatever. But a lot of times thats not the best circumstance.
I always thought Peter stuck his neck out to bring me here and had faith in me. I wanted to prove people right. I remember feeling sick to my stomach going down two games to Montreal last year because we felt like Peter had brought us in to help them win last year and we werent doing that. Obviously it ended well and I was glad Peter stuck his neck out to bring me in here.
The past success of the Bs complimentary trade deadline moves has been well-documented, of course. There are so many key Bruins players who were once Chiarelli trade deadline deals: Kelly, Peverley, Ference and Mark Recchi among others.
It appears Chiarelli has once again struck the proper chord with the teams needs this season. Thats even more impressive given how little fanfare the deals sparked.
There was plenty of attention paid to the one that got away when the Bruins couldnt find common ground with the Los Angeles Kings on a potential deal for Dustin Brown, but very little to what Boston actually received. Rolston, Zanon and Mottau have given the B's exactly what they didnt even know that they needed.
Rolston managed only nine points in 49 games with the New York Islanders, but hes become a vital veteran cog on the third line with 13 points (3 goals and 10 assists) in 16 games with the Bruins.
With so many injuries on their wing, Rolston stepped in fully once his conditioning was up to snuff following his bad experience on Long Island. Now he looks like an indispensible force along the third line for the playoffs.
Im obviously glad Chiarelli brought me in, said Rolston. I wasnt having a very good year on the Island and it obviously wasnt a very good fit for me. He looked past that and Im happy Im here and contributing.
There are some people in this organization that know what kind of person I am and what kind of player I am, and I hope that went into it. I take pride in that kind of stuff.
Rolston has also brought a Recchi-esque voice of experience inside the dressing room, and that never hurts. All of it adds up to exactly what the Bruins were searching for and Rolston came along with a valuable depth defensemen in Mottau at a bargain basement price.
Zanon struggled at first after coming over from the Wild, but hes become a thoroughly Bruins type of player, extremely reminiscent of Mark Stuart in both skill set and style. He isnt blessed with the highest offensive skill set, but is a shot-blocking beast consistently throwing out at least one bone-jarring body check per game a talent Stuart mastered during his developmental years with the Bruins.
Rolston has merged seamlessly with Kelly and Benoit Pouliot a transition made even easier given the past history between Rolston and Pouliot during their time together in Minnesota and Zanon has allowed the Bruins to push Joe Corvo to the bench.
The trades were also both made without Chiarelli surrendering a first-round pick or the rights to any of his best prospects.
The sheer lack of attention and praise lavished on Chiarelli at the trade deadline was perhaps understandable given the lack of sexy names involved in the deals. But he deserves congratulations for picking up some valuable pieces. Even though he had very few tradable assets he was willing to relinquish, Rolston, Zanon and Mottau are in Boston, and the Bruins are a deeper, more experienced and dangerous team.
Win, lose or draw, Chiarelli has proven once again this season that hes figured out this trade deadline thing without altering the delicate balance of the dressing room.