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Category: Boston-Bruins

To Keep Or Trade Milan Lucic

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.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: milan+lucic

It’s Don Sweeney’s Job To Improve The Boston Bruins

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.

continued

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If You Are Claude Julien, How Do You Feel Today?

via CSNNE,

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."

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: claude+julien

Don Sweeney The New GM For The Boston Bruins

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."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+sweeney

The GM Search For The Boston Bruins

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.

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Harry Sinden Back In The Picture In Boston?

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.

continued

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  Tags: harry+sinden

Zdeno Chara On His Age

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.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zdeno+chara

The Boston Bruins Are In Wait Mode Regarding Claude Julien

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

If the Bruins fired Claude Julien now, they’d give their coach more options to find his next job. Assuming he finds work, it would relieve the Bruins of part of their salary obligations. But the chatter around the league revolves around two reasons the Bruins have yet to let Julien go: protection and perception.

They don’t want to strengthen a rival such as the Flyers, who are looking for a coach to replace Craig Berube. They also want to assure their customers that the next GM would make the call, just as CEO Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely promised during their news conference explaining the decision to fire Peter Chiarelli.

Julien’s eventual ouster will be hastened once Mike Babcock chooses his destination, whether it’s Detroit, Toronto, or Buffalo. But by then, the teams that miss on Babcock will execute their backup options. This could leave Julien on the outside. The Bruins would be responsible for his full freight.

more hockey topics...

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Would You Like To See Mike Milbury Coaching The Boston Bruins?

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE answers some questions from the fans...

Elliotte Friedman is saying Mike Milbury is being discussed as the next coach of the Bruins. We need you on this and putting this rumour to rest. It may cause a panic on the causeway and also the ozone layer after millions of Bruins jerseys are burnt inprotest.

JH: I very much respect Elliotte and his sources, and will also admit I have heard in hockey circles that Milbury is seriously being discussed/considered as a possible coaching candidate for the Bruins should they make a move with Claude Julien. But I’m still viewing my sources with skepticism when they tell me that Milbury is in the mix.

The only way I can see that as a possibility is if Cam Neely really wants to give this Bruins team a kick in the ass after getting very comfortable under Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien. It would also certainly be good for the TV ratings if Milbury was sitting behind the bench on a nightly basis, and left to wonder what he’d have to say after each and every game.

Personally I like and respect Milbury very much, and have gotten to know him a little bit doing TV stuff with him at CSNNE. I’m just not ready to say I think this is a serious possibility quite yet seeing as Milbury hasn’t coached in the NHL since 1999, and the league has changed significantly since then in just about every way possible.

more Boston Q & A...

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Win Or Else In Boston

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

On Wednesday, during his news conference to explain the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli, Jacobs positioned the bar as high as it gets.

“I said that for us not to make the playoffs would have been a failure,” Jacobs said, referring to his January declaration. “So here we are, out. I want to clarify my comment about the playoffs. The expectation is for us not only to get into the playoffs, but to play and compete for the Stanley Cup, not just to get in.”

In some ways, Jacobs could say nothing else. These are the big words of every executive in his position. The Cup is a yearly pursuit, and rightfully so. If any organization targets lesser goals, it is doing its customers and business partners a disservice.

The tone of Jacobs’s words, however, did something besides defining the organizational standard. By identifying his target with such defiance and emotion, Jacobs declared that anything short of their goal would be judged swiftly and critically. Chiarelli paid for this shortcoming with his job.

Jacobs and team president Cam Neely have chosen this leadership style. They demand results. When results are not met, they make their displeasure known and hold employees accountable. Jacobs and Neely showed on Wednesday that they are in charge. The people below them on the masthead are expected to fall in line.

It is a hard and joyless management approach. It is also a thing of the past.

more plus other hockey topics...

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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