Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
Anyone who is in the running to become just the eighth general manager in the history of the Bruins would be wise to contemplate the peculiar circumstances under which Peter Chiarelli yesterday was fired.
What did Chiarelli do to earn his pink slip? Well, in the past eight seasons, his B’s teams have averaged 103 points (including a projected total for the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season). Twice they went to the Stanley Cup finals. They won it all in 2010-11.
In 2013-14, Chiarelli and Co. made a calculated decision to try and win another Cup. In doing so, the B’s were left with severe salary-cap problems that led to a non-playoff performance this season.
The B’s had 96 points, the most ever for a team that missed the postseason. They still were in the running for a playoff spot in the final hours of the regular season. They missed out only because the Ottawa Senators engineered an utterly improbable 23-4-4 record in their final 31 games.
Chiarelli went for it all in 2013-14, which any Bruins fan would have wanted him to do, and it ends up costing him his job.
via the Boston Bruins,
Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs and President Cam Neely are holding a press conference at 3pm ET.
Boston, MA - Boston Bruins President Cam Neely announced today, Wednesday, April 15, that Peter Chiarelli has been relieved of his duties as General Manager of the Boston Bruins. An Interim General Manager will not be named at this time and the search for a new hire - which will be led by Bruins Chief Executive Officer Charlie Jacobs and Neely - will begin immediately. The Bruins current Assistant General Managers, Player Personnel Staff and Coaching Staff will remain in place at this time.
Jacobs and Neely will hold a press conference today at 3:00 p.m. ET in the Will McDonough Room at TD Garden.
"We are grateful for Peter's service to the Bruins organization over the last nine seasons," said Neely. "His efforts undoubtedly helped the team achieve great success during his tenure and he helped restore the proud tradition of Boston Bruins hockey. We ultimately feel that this change is necessary in order to ensure sustainable success for the club both in the short term and the long term. Our search for a new General Manager will begin immediately."
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
Call them complacent. Call them stubborn. Call Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien good hockey guys who have simply been on the job too long.
Most important, call them a cab. Get them gone. Bruins fans need this to be the first day of the rest of their hockey lives.
The calm heads of those who are around the team every day remind us to proceed slowly and carefully. Firing the GM and coach might feel good in the moment, but be careful what you wish for. Be fair. Look at the track record. Who are you going to get that is any better?
Sorry, this is not the time for methodical movements and rational thinking. This is about blaming folks who need to be blamed. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. They pushed the Chicago Blackhawks to a six-game Final two years ago. They won the coveted Presidents’ Trophy with the best regular-season record last year. They had made the playoffs every year since 2008 and advanced to at least the second round in five of the last six seasons. They have a lot of satisfied players who’ve been overpaid and granted too much tenure by Chiarelli.
Heads must roll. Not making the playoffs is simply unacceptable for this crew. And the ghastly manner in which the season ended only underscores the obvious need for change.
from Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston,
Now some serious decisions need to be made. Jacobs can’t make those comments and not act on them.
It should start with the roster, not necessarily general manager Peter Chiarelli or Julien. Many will blame the salary cap issues or the fact that Chiarelli traded top-four defenseman Johnny Boychuk at the start of the season. But this one falls on the players. This roster was good enough to win. Most of these players underachieved.
Trades will be made, and many of the team’s five unrestricted free agents -- Carl Soderberg, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Matt Bartkowski -- will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Even core players such as Milan Lucic, who definitely had a subpar season, could be on the trade block.
“Obviously, there are high expectations on this team and on this organization, and when those high expectations aren’t met, changes seem to usually be made,” Lucic said. “As a player, those are things that are out of your control.
“Personally, I want to be back and stay in Boston. You love it here. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization, and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can.”
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
There was exhaustion evident in Peter Chiarelli’s face and tone as he addressed reporters in an empty hotel conference room on Friday.
It was the day after the Bruins had essentially knocked themselves out of the playoffs, after dispiriting losses to Washington and Florida in consecutive days left the Bruins needing significant help to continue playing beyond this weekend.
And while the Bruins’ general manager emphasized – over and over again – that he did not want to do a postmortem on the season that should have been for his team, he essentially did just that.
“We put ourselves in this position,” Chiarelli said. “I consider it a failure. And it’s a failure on everybody’s part. But being a failure doesn’t mean there has to be a complete overhaul of everything.
“Guys fail. Teams fail. And they get back on their horse. Again, I consider it a failure, but you don’t always succeed in this business. You don’t always hit the ball out of the park all the time and you’ve got to get back and do your job and we’ve shown we can do that. But right now it’s pretty disappointing.”
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
There were excuses interlaced with the lamentations. Just minutes after the Bruins left the ice after their most inexcusable loss of the season, a plea for help crept in. The team had arrived in the wee hours of the morning from Washington, and the mental and physical fatigue was evident.
Coach Claude Julien didn’t mince words when asked why this Bruins team hasn’t shown the composure and resiliency of his previous squads.
“I don’t think we have the same team we’ve had in the past,” he said after the Bruins had lost, 4-2, to the Panthers at the BB&T Center on Thursday night, putting them on the brink of elimination from the postseason. “Have a look at the roster. It’s not the same. We can’t live in the past. That’s what we’re trying to do here: work with the guys that we have. We’ve got a lot of young players and we’ve got a lot of players that haven’t played for expectations right now.”
They will have to play for them on Saturday night. Or maybe not.
Because with the loss to Florida, the Bruins could take the ice against the Lightning with nothing to play for, no reason to push themselves. They might already be eliminated from the playoffs. They need help at this point, from either the Senators or Penguins, two teams with no reason to provide any.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
For stretches of Wednesday’s third period, with his team staring at the goaltending equivalent of Mount Everest, Claude Julien considered pulling Tuukka Rask to throw an extra attacker at Braden Holtby.
Julien’s team, however, never gave him any indications that a sixth skater would even the playing field.
“I don’t think our team was doing enough for me to even have hope there with three minutes left to even get ourselves back in the game,” the Bruins coach said after the 3-0 loss. “When you sense it, you do it. When you don’t . . . we couldn’t even get to those loose pucks half the time. Whatever opportunity we had, we weren’t able to get that goal.”
Julien made the ultimate condemnation. He stopped believing in his team. Because of that, Julien chose to concede the result instead of emptying his coaching toolbox.
Julien is in an unusual position. Throughout his career in Boston, he’s been faithful to his players. Where other coaches would pull the trigger on benchings and line changes, Julien has been slow to take an eraser to his lineup.
Now, with only two games remaining in the regular season, Julien doesn’t know who to trust. It’s why he changed his lines before Wednesday’s game — a move that blew up in his face. By the third period, when Julien went back to the lines that had helped him win five straight games, the damage was done.
via Joe Haggerty tweets,
Krejci: "Obviously we talked about coming out playing on our toes & looked like we were playing on our heels. It's not how you want to play"
Patrice Bergeron: "We had some looks to get back into the game. The bottom line is we need to bear down & find a way to score some goals"
Krejci on Holtby: "Who cares? He's a good goalie but right now we have less than 24 hours to get ready for next one. Biggest game of season"
After Boston was defeated 3-0 by the Washington Capitals.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Bruins are still in a wild card playoff spot, and the marching orders are pretty clear after Tuesday night’s Ottawa overtime win over the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins need to win at least two games, and win at least one of those games in regulation or overtime in order to clinch a playoff spot. With the Washington Capitals still waiting to clinch home ice in the first round of the playoffs, there is plenty of reason for both teams to bring their best to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
That could be a challenge as the Bruins are 0-2 and have been outscored 6-0 in two games against the Capitals this season. The B’s should know it’s going to take something a little extra to take down a surging Washington team that’s risen all the way to second place in the Metro Division over the last few weeks. Certainly that’s the warning they are getting from their head coach.
“To this is going to be a man’s game tonight,” said Claude Julien. “If you want to play in that type of game then you’ve got to be willing to put everything on the line.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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