Kaberle, Ryder to hit free agent market

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Kaberle, Ryder to hit free agent market

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins have met with the agents for both Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder, and its been determined that both unrestricted free agents will be hitting the free market for the July 1 frenzy. Peter Chiarelli confirmed that both could land in greener NHL pastures if another hockey club emerges from the free agent pool and shoves a long term, high-dollar offer in front of them but the Bruins GM didnt shut the door on either player potentially returning to the Black and Gold fold either.With Tomas Kaberle and with Michael Ryder were doing the same thing. We certainly havent parted ways, said Chiarelli during a Thursday conference call with reporters. Im wary of the market, where it stands right now and I said, Look guys, go out there and see whats going on and lets continue to talk. The risk that we run is that they will get a deal then they cant come back to us. I understand that risk. So thats where those two guys stand.It's a wise choice considering that the free agent market has already hit "ludicrous speed" before July 1 even officially arrived.There are a bevy of defensemen comparable to Kaberle that have received hefty offers in the last week including Montreals Andrei Markov and Carolinas Joni Pitkanen, and a 10-year deal for Christian Ehrhoff in Buffalo first reported on Thursday night. Theres a hesitancy from Chiarelli to get locked into a long-term deal with a player in Kaberlethat never truly seemed to fit in Boston, and it's certainly prudent to avoid spending the crazy money around July 1 that is getting tossed around.While its true Kaberle did have three points in the Stanley Cup Final and finished tied with Dennis Seidenberg for the Bs postseason lead among defensemen with 11 points, the 33-year-old also never managed to get beyond the third blueliner pairing during the final two playoff series in Bostons Cup run.Ryder could get a solid two or three year deal in a free agent market largely bereft of wingers, but its difficult to gauge given Ryder's inconsistent track record. The forwards solid playoff run after two straight lackluster regular seasons (less than 20 goals in each campaign) make determining his value more complicated.Its doubtful the Bs are willing to go three years with a winger that played like Tarzan for much of the postseason, but skated a little too much like Jane during the last two regular seasons.Chiarelli said that the Bruins would be cutting ties with 35-year-old defenseman Shane Hnidy after he signed on with the team for the last couple of months of the season and dressed for three games in the playoffs.Weve told Shane that we arent resigning him, said Chiarelli. I think hell be a good addition somewhere else and I told him that. And certainly Id help him along the way for that.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Backes introduces Bruins fans to his 'Athletes for Animals' charity

Backes introduces Bruins fans to his 'Athletes for Animals' charity

JAMAICA PLAIN -- David Backes probably could have opted to have his introductory press conference inside the Bruins dressing room at TD Garden, or maybe even in some finished part of the team's new practice facility in Brighton, which is set to open a couple of months from now.

Instead, the new Bruins forward met face-to-face with the media for the first time while taking a tour of the MSPCA and, in the process, introducing Bruins fans to his “Athletes for Animals” charity, a foundation that promotes rescuing -- and protecting the welfare of -- homeless pets nationwide.

Backes took pictures with a pit bull named Greta that’s been at the MSPCA Adoption Center for the last seven months looking for a “forever home”.

And as he spoke, it became abundantly clear that this is what the 32-year-old former St. Louis Blues captain is all about.

“[Taking a tour of the facility] gives you a warm feeling inside, and makes you feel like you’re already a part of the city while helping give some attention to the great work that they’re doing,” said Backes, the owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty, Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly), who is house-hunting in Boston this week with his wife and 13-month-old daughter.

“Hopefully this will be just the beginning of our connecting with the community, and helping serve the people that are great fans of the Bruins and that will be watching us every night. [Hopefully] they’re watching us go on deep playoff runs year after year.”

Backes’ efforts with rescue animals gained national notoriety when he took time to help with the stray dog situation in Sochi, Russia during the last Winter Olympics. But the roots of his “Athletes for Animals” charity goes back to his college days at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," he said "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

For these reasons alone, Backes is a great fit in Boston. The Bruins donate heavily to the MSPCA and were one of the first NHL organizations to come up with the Pucks ‘N Pups calendar, which each year features Bruins players and their dogs, or strays from the MSPCA, to raise money for the animal welfare organization.

To learn more about Backes’ organization, “Athletes for Animals,” visit http://athletesforanimals.org .

Wednesday, July 27: Boychuk's historic home about to be razed

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Wednesday, July 27: Boychuk's historic home about to be razed

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while amazed that President Bill Clinton has still got “it” after all these years.

-- An odd story about Johnny Boychuk’s historic home on Long Island, which is now set to be razed.

-- The Buffalo Sabres are undoubtedly looking to trade Evander Kane at this point. Here are five possible destinations for a player who's got far too much baggage at his age.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman continues to make firm denials about the link between concussions and CTE in ex-football and ex-hockey players.

-- Some rumors from Spector that include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyson Barrie, and whether either player is on the trade block.

-- The Red Wings have signed Danny DeKeyser to a long-term contract that might be viewed as a bit of an overpay at this point in his career.

-- The annual Hockey News story focusing on three teams that could make the playoffs in 2016-17 after missing last season, and three teams that might fall out of the playoff picture from last season. Once again the Bruins are not counted as one of the teams expected to get back in after missing last season, but the Canadiens are at the top of the list.

-- Former NHL tough guy Jay Rosehill has surfaced in the British Elite League, where he’ll play for the Braehead Clan.

-- Moving piece from Joel Ward about the passing of his father, and his own excellent career at the NHL level.

-- For something completely different: Smash Mouth has made an EDM song. I repeat, Smash Mouth has made an EDM song.