Chiarelli, Bruins stand pat at trade deadline

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Chiarelli, Bruins stand pat at trade deadline

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

OTTAWA Monday was easily the most inactive trade deadline the Boston Bruins have experienced under the Peter Chiarelli regime.

Yet it might also ultimately be their most successful.

Two deals in the 24 hours leading up to the trade deadline amounted to shuffling cards at the minor-league level.

The Bruins dealt away their backup enforcer, Brian McGrattan, to Anaheim on Sunday night for a pair of minor-league depth players, and traded minor-league blueliner Jeff Penner along with the rights to a Finnish player theyd sent back to Europe in exchange for an AHL goaltender, Anton Khudobin. Khudobin is now slotted behind Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask on Bostons depth chart.

Not exactly deals that will capture even the most ardent hockey fan's imagination.

Bottom line: they didnt do much on NHL trade deadline day, as opposed to years past when players like Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Recchi and Steve Montador waltzed through the Boston dressing-room doors.

There wasnt much activity on our part today, said Chiarelli, with the confident tone of an executive that didnt have a need for activity at the deadline. We talked to a couple of teams. We felt that we did most of our stuff within the last couple of weeks. So today was a quiet day.

Weve done three deals where weve added three good pieces. There has been some subtraction, but we felt the net benefit was very positive. There wasnt anything that, when you look back in hindsight after doing the three deals, that I was saying Wow, that would be a good one to do. No, there wasnt anything like that.

Its perfectly okay for the Bs to just say no, however, on a couple of different levels.

The entire NHL didnt register as many deals as normally expected on a deadline day with only 16 trades ahead of the league-mandated deadline.

Then theres the simple fact Chiarelli got all of his shopping out of the way weeks in advance and was able to observe his new configuration of players perform at high efficiency on a team-bonding romp through the Western Conference.

The big fish was Tomas Kaberle, of course.

The 32-year-old All-Star defenseman has immediately jumped in and played 20-plus minutes a night while calming things down offensively for the Bs.

Chris Kelly and Rick Peverley appear to be solid role players, with Peverley able to easily replace the offense lost with Blake Wheeler.

The two centerwings give coach Claude Julien a multitude of faceoff options when theyre on the ice, and both are heady, speedy penalty killers that immediately give the special teams unit an upgrade as well. None of that is sexy stuff in the hockey world, but it wins games and makes the Bs exceedingly difficult to play against.

Those kinds of things tend to go over big in the playoffs.

The burgeoning offensive chemistry of Kelly and Peverley with Michael Ryder was also getting a bit easier to spot in the win over the Edmonton Oilers.

But there was no mistaking both new guys blocking shots, winning faceoffs and providing the little nuances that breed success in tight third period situations against the Vancouver Canucks.

The most interesting thing about this deadline for the Bruins?

This time around Chiarelli got exactly what he wanted on the trade market. He didnt settle when Marian Hossa or Ilya Kovalchuk slipped through Bostons fingers, and thats allowed his hockey team to take on an undeniably sturdy construction.

Those early deadline moves propped the Black and Gold up with a 5-0-0 road trip headed into Tuesday nights finale against the Ottawa Senators, and have poised the Bs to pass the demoralized Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference points derby.

Weve played a real solid two-way game, said Chiarelli when asked what he liked best from his newly formed unit. Weve maybe not generated all the chances we normally would, but were making really good plays. I feel were cleaner in our own end.

I like our movement better on the power play, so that speaks to confidence, too, and synergy. Goaltending has been good. Were playing Vancouver and Calgary, two tough, big teams, and I just liked our game. We competed. We played a solid game and the synergy we talked about, the four strong lines, eventually you come out ahead if youre playing your game.

The Bs probably could have gone for another depth defensemen given that Andrew Ference is likely to miss a couple of weeks, and is hitting the magic number of games hes managed to endure on average over the last three years. But Chiarelli clearly felt rookie Steve Kampfer and rugged Shane Hnidy would be enough to compliment what Boston already has on the back line.

You just know the players, you know the prices and you know the fits, said Chiarelli. So, I mean, we did the due diligence. We felt that the players we got were the ones we were targeting. I was exhausted; we were all exhausted after flying from Edmonton. So it was nice to not really have to pull a rabbit out of a hat today in the shape were in.

The rabbits of Kaberle, Peverley and Kelly were pulled well in advance of NHL deadline day for the Bruins, and its very different than the way things played out in the past for Chiarellis club.

Now its up to the pieces set in place to perform and stay healthy to see just how prudent it was to take a knee on this deadline day.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats