Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... the fact that the GM was an in-house promotion -- and I think Don Sweeney is going to be a very good GM -- what's the wait now? What does Sweeney not know about Julien now that he didn’t know for the past eight years Julien has been behind the Bruins bench?
I mean, it’s getting to the point where it’s almost unfair. Make a decision, fire him or keep him, but decide already. It’s not just Julien, he’s got two assistant coaches’ whose fates also hang in the balance.
Let’s go Boston, get on with it.
Stamford, Conn. – May 27, 2015 – NBC Sports Group announced today the launch of NBC Sports Films, a new initiative that will leverage NBC Olympics’ Emmy Award-winning storytelling heritage and personnel to produce sports documentaries that will air across NBC Sports Group’s multiple platforms. NBC Sports Films will annually produce multiple long-form projects to be presented across NBC, NBCSN, NBC Sports Regional Networks and NBC Sports Digital.
NBC Sports Films’ first project, Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson, a one-hour documentary that chronicles the remarkable life of former NHL star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Derek Sanderson, will premiere on NBCSN on Monday, June 8, following Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
“Storytelling has always been a prominent component of NBC Sports’ coverage of signature events. We are excited to expand those efforts and further serve our audience by providing additional long-form content across all NBC Sports Group platforms,” said Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group. “Our debut film, Center of Attention, is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary life of Derek Sanderson, who has lived the highest of highs and the most challenging lows a life in the spotlight can produce.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Bruins have roughly $60.5 million in contracts committed to 15 players for next season, and there’s still a good chance the cap will fall somewhere under $71 based on the NHLPA’s vote on higher escrow and the cap escalator. Last season the players voted against the escalator that chopped $1 million off the salary cap’s upper ceiling, and that same thing could very well happen again this season.
So Sweeney will make phone calls, trade text messages furiously with other GMs and start working toward moving some players around the NHL Draft and opening of free agency on July 1.
A decision on Milan Lucic is at the top of the list for a number of reasons: he can bring the most dynamic assets in return, he carries a $6 million cap hit for this upcoming season before UFA status and much of their offseason strategy would be tailored on whether or not they’ll have No. 17’s intermittently dominant physical presence on the roster.
But other players like Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg and Reilly Smith could, and should, very well be in play for trade talks, and the Bruins would be wise to at least see what’s out there for a 38-year-old Chara. He’s one year removed from being a Norris Trophy finalist and is still a top-pairing defensive stopper, and those players hold value around the NHL as potential game-changing forces . . . even if it’s only for a couple more seasons.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
“All of our players have to understand that the four teams playing this week all have different attributes of skill, size, speed, and grit,” Sweeney said Wednesday at TD Garden. “But they have a sacrifice level that it takes to win in the playoffs. You have to have a blend of that to get there. We have to have more aggression in our game.”
Sweeney also wants cap flexibility. The Bruins have approximately $60 million invested in their 2015-16 roster. Dougie Hamilton, Brett Connolly, and Ryan Spooner require new contracts. The Bruins need a backup goalie.
Milan Lucic is in the last year of a deal that averages $6 million annually. It is a high sum for a player for whom 18 goals and 26 assists was considered a disappointment. Sweeney does not want to play limbo too closely under the ceiling, which is projected to be approximately $70 million next year. Trading the 26-year-old winger with cap relief as an objective would help Sweeney gain breathing room.
“We have some challenges,” Sweeney acknowledged. “We have some flexibility issues that we have to get back out in front of and that we have to address head-on.”
Moving Lucic, however, would mean losing the NHL’s signature power forward. If he and David Krejci stay healthy, Lucic’s presence and production will grow next year. Trading Lucic would not necessarily improve the team in 2015-16.
Determining Lucic’s future is one of Sweeney’s most immediate decisions. It is also one of his hardest.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins have Tuukka Rask, which is a good thing. An ace goalie is precious currency in the NHL, where scoring goals is harder than AP Physics.
They have Patrice Bergeron, the league’s best two-way center. If Zdeno Chara can stay healthy in 2015-16, the 38-year-old should be an elite shutdown defenseman.
They were not enough, in new general manager Don Sweeney’s estimation, to have made the Bruins a realistic Eastern Conference representative instead of the Lightning or Rangers. The Bruins simply couldn’t score enough to make Rask’s margin of error any thicker than a dime.
The Bruins had the NHL’s No. 22 offense (2.55 goals per game). They had a plus-2 goal differential, the ninth-highest in the East, which accurately reflected their ninth-place finish. They scored 56 third-period goals, more than only Buffalo and Arizona.
This comes down to two things: personnel and philosophy. Sweeney is now responsible for improving both.
Claude Julien has the Boston Bruins head coaching job. But there's plenty of question as to how long he'll have that job. So in Don Sweeney's inaugural press conference as the Boston Bruins general manager, he addressed Julien's standing.
"I have some things that I want to sit down with Claude and go through in a very orderly fashion, as to where I think things need to change and what direction we need to change as a group," Sweeney said. "Also, acknowledged to Claude that I think tremendously of him as a coach and as a person, so it's just about lining up philosophical approaches that I believe in, that he believes in and that we can move forward.
"As I said, some of that will involve personnel decisions. Some of that will involved staff member decisions and/or changes. That's to be determined. He's the coach of the Boston Bruins as of today, for sure."
Boston, MA - Boston Bruins President Cam Neely announced today, May 20, that the Boston Bruins have named Don Sweeney the General Manager of the Boston Bruins.
Chief Executive Officer of Delaware North's Boston Holdings Charlie Jacobs, Neely and Sweeney will hold a press conference at TD Garden on Wednesday, May 20 at 1:30 p.m.
"Don Sweeney stood out amongst an incredibly talented group of candidates that we considered for this hire," said Jacobs. "He carries a unique and impressive mix of playing experience, front office experience and business acumen. Don has complete understanding of what it means to be a Bruin and we have full confidence in him to steward the organization back to being Stanley Cup contenders year in and year out."
”Don has excelled in every role he has been in with the Bruins organization and has a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of our hockey operations department," said Neely. "His commitment and drive to bring a championship caliber team to the Boston fans was evident every step of the way through this search process, and I am confident that his leadership of our hockey operations department will lead to success."
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
... But the No. 1 candidate remains Sweeney. He played 1,052 games as a Bruin. He is Neely’s former teammate. He was one of Chiarelli’s first hires in June of 2006, a year before Neely joined the front office. He is familiar with every niche of the organization, from the draft, prospects, personnel, and contract negotiations.
Sweeney is similar to Chiarelli, his ex-Harvard teammate: smart, patient, objective, and thorough in his actions.
John Ferguson, the Bruins’ executive director of player personnel, would take Sweeney’s position. Scott Bradley, the other assistant GM, would keep his title.
If Sweeney lands the promotion, he will have to make a decision on Claude Julien. The coach’s extension activates in 2015-16, and the Bruins would be responsible for Julien’s contract if they let him go.
Bruce Cassidy, Providence’s head coach the last four seasons, would be a candidate to replace Julien. Sweeney holds Cassidy in high regard.
Chances are that Sweeney, with Neely’s input, has already been thinking about Julien’s future, just as he has been studying the roster. This is the luxury of promoting a GM from within. Sweeney is familiar with everything. Daily activities will not change abruptly once he lands the job. The Bruins do not need disruption.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
After decades as the most dominant individual on the Bruins leadership team — as general manager for 28 years and president for 17 — Harry Sinden has faded largely into the background since taking the title of senior advisor to the owner nine years ago.
For media members, it was more likely to see him at a Bruins game against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. — near his second home — than at the Garden.
This was Peter Chiarelli’s team since the day he took over as GM May 26, 2009, and it was commonly assumed Sinden had little or no input on major decisions.
But after the club fired Chiarelli on April 15, the decision-making duties fell to team president Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs — and, of course, whomever they name as the new GM.
And according to a well-informed NHL source, team owner Jeremy Jacobs, concerned that both son Charlie and Neely lack experience running an NHL franchise, also has asked the 82-year-old Sinden to play a larger role than in recent years.
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
Zdeno Chara is not sure what happened. A switch flipped somewhere, and he went from being regarded as one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League to an also-ran with too many years on his birth certificate and too many miles on his skates.
“That’s what struck me — what’s different?” the Bruins captain said Saturday. “One season I’m a Norris Trophy runner-up and the next season I’m too old. One year, all of a sudden you’re too old. It wasn’t fair.”
Injuries had intervened — a torn ligament in his left knee in October cost him 19 games — and he had struggled to return to form in the months following. He was injured again, this time a nondisplaced fracture of his left fibula, at the end of the regular season....
“I don’t understand why all of a sudden my age is an issue just because I got hurt and I missed a lot of games, a big chunk of the season,” said Chara, 38. “I don’t like it. I don’t like when people start to judge you based on age or the amount of games you played.
“I still feel very motivated, very confident that I’m going to be healthy and strong next season. I don’t know. Obviously I am planning to play beyond what maybe people are guessing or expecting. My plans have always been to play in this league at a high level for a long time.
“Age is obviously a number, but some players or some people are meant to play for way beyond that.”
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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