Notes: Bruins like their chances next season

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Notes: Bruins like their chances next season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Even with the Stanley Cup in their possession for the summer, many of the Bruins are starting to think about next season and training camp, which is only a few months away.

With just about 2 12 months to rest, recharge and ramp up, there'll be a lot of challenges for a team that will be the top target for everyone in the NHL. The Bruins will be attempting to avoid the Stanley Cup hangover that undoubtedly hampered the Chicago Blackhawks this season.

Also, the B's were relatively healthy this season. Playing an additional two months, and 25 playoff games, has to take a toll on a players body, and the Bruins will find exactly how much when they regroup in September.

But they're looking forward to the challenge.

This is exciting, said Patrice Bergeron. Its a lot of fun. We won the Cup, but once you have that taste you want it some more. In the room, on the plane and on the ice you want to do it again because its so amazing and surreal. Its almost the same team next year, so its very exciting and the future for us is very bright.

Coach Claude Julien said having the same cast of characters minus perhaps one or two will greatly enhance the Bs chances of defending their championship. Keeping title teams together is a rarity in the NHL salary-cap era; as an example, everyone watched the Blackhawks get decimated by trades and free agency. But that won't be the case in Boston, as most of the team's core is tied up in long-term contracts.

I personally like that as a coach," Julien said of keeping the bulk of the roster intact. "You are getting your team back . . . As a coach, when you win the Cup and you know that a big majority of your team is coming back, you have to be happy.

"If you asked Chicago last year, they would have loved to have kept their team together. They couldnt, but if they could then they would have. When you build a championship team, you like having those guys back.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs spoke prior to the player availability on Sunday, and was asked if he was considering putting out an executive mandate that the Bruins become the first team in nearly 15 years to repeat as Stanley Cup champs again next season.

Its a great idea," he said. "To get this done this year was an incredible, incredible experience. Weve become so proud of the people that represent you, we had a lot of good fortunes and a lot of good luck here. This is an incredibly durable, dedicated group of young men. The leadership that Claude showed them, that general manager Peter Chiarelli, and team president Cam Neely, my son Charlie Jacobs, the team's principal owner played a role, a strong role in this, helping put this group together. It just validates what strong leadership can do in bringing this to fruition.

We had a lot of talent, but without leadership, it wont happen. Im talking about leadership on the ice as well as off the ice, I know we had folks off the ice, but take Chara, who really melded this group around him and around his personality. You really had to love these guys, the durability.

"I made the observation that this was not a sprint. This was a long race, if you think about it started in Prague during the season-opening series, which is one of the most unlikely places for the players, to meld together and create a fellowship. Its unique but my experience, in Prague, was special for me personally. Then 107 games, to wind up in a place like Vancouver, it was very, very special. Its the trip of a lifetime. I would love to repeat it, I would love to repeat it, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten there.

A group of about half the Bruins were going to get tattoos commemorating the Stanley Cup championship won by the team, and defenseman Andrew Ference flew in his tattoo specialist from Calgary to assist the team-wide exercise. Several of the Bruins got tattoos with Stanley Cup Champion, Boston Bruins, 06.05.11. in three lines and Mark Recchi was planning to get all three Stanley Cups won with three different teams in one grand design on his body.

He always wanted to come here and do his thing, so he said if you guys ever win, Ill come down and tat all you guys up, said Ference. Ive seen him every year since and he tells me the same thing every year. So I sent him a quick e-mail after we won and he got on a plane and here he is.

Definitely different things, you know, some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the Spoked B, the Cup and B combo or something like that. I think Rex is getting all of his done, all of his past Stanley Cups.

Nathan Horton said he wont need surgery on his separated shoulder suffered during the Tampa Bay series, and that the concussion symptoms have abated over the last few days. Horton said he was suffering from headaches during Games 6 and 7 of the Cup Finals, but that the noise and action surrounding the rolling rally parade didnt bother him in the least.

Its not fun to be injured, but youre in the Stanley Cup Finals and youre playing the playoffs. Thats what people do in the playoffs, said Horton. They play through injuries and we definitely had a lot of guys on our team with injuries. But being injured again with a concussion, it was tough to watch. It was such a good feeling when we won. I felt like I was on the ice no matter what.

"Even every time we won, we have such great teammates. Injuries happen during the playoffs and its just to be part of it and to be part of a team when youre not playing, I felt like I played Game 7. So its a good feeling.

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

Report: Bruins, Krug agree to four-year, $21 million deal

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Report: Bruins, Krug agree to four-year, $21 million deal

On the heels of buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins and defenseman Torey Krug have agreed to a four-year contract worth an average of $5.25 million a year, TSN’s Aaron Ward reported.

Krug, 25, joins Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, and Adam McQuaid as defensemen currently under contract for the B’s. So, they’ll likely continue to be on the lookout for others as free agency begins Friday.  

Krug scored a career-low four goal last season but had a career-high with 44 points.

More to come...

 

Bruins buying out veteran D-man Dennis Seidenberg

Bruins buying out veteran D-man Dennis Seidenberg

The Bruins placed veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on waivers on Thursday for the purposes of buying the veteran defenseman out of the final two years of his contract.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Seidenberg, who turns 35 July 18, still had two years remaining on a deal that would have paid him $4 million in each of the seasons. The move will save the Black and Gold roughly $4.6 million in cap space over the next two years.

Seidenberg confirmed the contract buyout to CSNNE.com and confirmed one other thing: "I going to miss it."

The extra space should theoretically allow the Bruins to spend big money on Friday when free agency opens, but the Bruins really haven’t been the lead suitors for any of the major available players to this point.

With the way buyouts work, however, the spread over four years means that the Bruins will still be including $1.16 million cap hits from 2018-2020, and are now down another experienced D-man who was a stalwart warrior for them over the years. Seidenberg clearly lost a step after blowing out his knee in the 2013-14 season and was a minus player for the first time in Boston last season with one goal and 12 points in 61 games.

The skating speed was noticeably slower and Seidenberg had trouble keeping up with the pace even as he continued to block shots and throw opponents around in the defensive zone. Seidenberg finishes his seven seasons in Boston with 23 goals and 117 points in 401 games as a rugged top-four defenseman. He will always be cherished in Boston for his marvelous stretch en route to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Claude Julien pairing Seidenberg with Zdeno Chara midway through their first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens changed the tide of that playoff matchup and was the combo used by the B’s for the playoffs when they again made it to the Cup Final in 2013 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The German-born defenseman was a respected and tough veteran leader in the B’s dressing room and will be missed for his toughness and accountability whether it was good times or bad in the room.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was the first to report that Seidenberg was being placed on waivers for the purpose of being bought out of his contract. 

 

 

Haggerty: Bruins on sidelines while top NHL GMs make big moves

Haggerty: Bruins on sidelines while top NHL GMs make big moves

The Bruins were all around the action on Wednesday as the massive hockey trades dropped fast and furiously, but once again they were on the outside with their anticipatory faces pressed up against the glass as the top GMs in the game did their thing.

Instead, the B’s were left to mull an offer sheet to Jacob Trouba that isn’t very likely to drop on Friday and wait for the secondary defenseman market in free agency as it appears the Oilers might have snapped up Jason Demers already.

Some of the bold moves clearly may be mistakes: the Canadiens got older, slower and much more explosive in swapping out P.K. Subban for Shea Weber one-for-one, but also will be tougher to play against in some ways with Weber and Andrew Shaw now added to the mix. Clearly, GM Dave Poile once again was the right manager in the right place at the right time to land the super-talented Subban, who will pack the hockey house in Nashville and help continue a tradition of stud defensemen for the Predators organization.

One keen hockey source cautioned me when I said the Habs got worse on Wednesday: “I don’t think people understand how good Weber really is in the East. Montreal has become a lot harder to play against with him and Shaw.”

This certainly may be true, but the Bruins lost their cherished Habs villain with Subban moving to the Nashville Predators, where he will become a genuine U.S. hockey market superstar. Subban was charismatic and colorful, and played the role with the flops and the phantom embellishment that has become synonymous with Habs hockey over the years.

His personality and elite skill level won him a Norris Trophy a few years back and made him one of the biggest stars in the NHL and his absence now significantly reduces the wattage of the modern Bruins/Canadiens rivalry. That’s another blow to a storied rivalry that was flat as its been in years last season without Milan Lucic. It’s one that might have some rocky roads ahead with the Bruins very clearly in need of some roster help.

Peter Chiarelli became the first GM in NHL history to trade both the first and second overall picks in the same draft after shipping away Tyler Seguin in 2013 and then dealing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday for young, developing D-man Adam Larsson.  Essentially he traded two top-of-the-draft lottery picks for two Swedish mid-first round talents in Loui Eriksson and Larsson. That’s going to leave many questioning his decision-making process until we see the final picture this October in Edmonton.

If things don’t go very right for the Oil this season, with Larsson developing into a prime time top-pairing D-man, the heat could turned up on Chiarelli in the never-ending rebuild in Edmonton.

Once again credit a veteran GM in Ray Shero with getting exactly what his team needed in a dynamic scoring force like Hall and doing it while giving up something that hadn’t been a significant piece over the past few seasons in New Jersey. This may just be the cost of doing business for Chiarelli if Lucic and Demers are indeed on their way to the Oilers as free agents, and if the whispers are true that Edmonton might move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for defensemen help as well.

None of this even begins to mention GM Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay, who calmly and patiently waited out the Steve Stamkos free agency sweepstakes until his star player came back to him for a massive hometown discount. Now, he has the superstar, the young and talented core group and the players from those two second-round picks the B's charitably sent along for right wing bust Brett Connolly. 

The one thing that defies explanation is the Bruins-friendly voices that say inking the 22-year-old Trouba to an offer sheet “makes no sense.” Guess what really makes no sense? That would be going into next season with close to the exact same back-end group that missed the playoff cut over the past two seasons and couldn’t break the puck out of their zone under pressure if their collective lives depended on it.

The Bruins don’t have the trade assets in their organization to match offers of players like Taylor Hall and Matt Duchene, and they were beaten to the punch for top free agent D-men like Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski and perhaps even Demers. That “makes no sense” for a Bruins team that finished 19th in the league in goals allowed and had a blue line group that couldn’t execute simple tape-to-tape passes up the ice.  

Signing Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million contract extension? Signing fringe free agent D-men like John-Michael Liles? Not getting anything done with anybody in the trade or free agency market around draft weekend and July 1? That’s what really “doesn’t make sense” to me if I’m trying to cough out the Black and Gold party line right about now.

Because the NHL management groups with the big stones, the matching respect factor and the real NHL assets are making big, bold moves all across the league right now, and the Bruins are still waiting idly for their numbers to get called at the NHL deli counter.