Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“I feel like I’ve turned the corner in the last week or week-and-a-half, so that’s a positive. But I’m still working to get it up to 100 percent,” said Lucic, who had a hard cast on his left arm from elbow to hand for the majority of the summer. "I’m just exciting to be back with everyone, and to get things going. You don’t want to do anything to have any setbacks, so you have to be smart about it. It’s turned the corner for the better as far as rehab has gone.
“I’m just working to get the strength back in it. It’s been a good last two weeks, and hopefully it still gets strong as the month goes along. Every time you have surgery it never really goes all the way back to 100 percent, but you hope you get back to a point where you’re feeling as good as you did before the surgery.”
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Winger Reilly Smith and defenseman Torey Krug are still both unsigned. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he hoped they’d be in camp, but he would not comment on negotiations. And while that situation plays itself out, there’s the likelihood of a trade happening. Chiarelli all but said he’ll be moving one of his nine defensemen.
“I’ve always tried to get the team together signed and get them in place and give them a level of security. I always feel that with that, they will perform,” Chiarelli said between periods of a rookie tournament game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Of course, I’ve got to see the performance to get to that point. They’ve seen that we’ve tried to keep this team together as much as we can; we’ve had a lot of success with this group of guys.
“Around the fringes, guys have to go . . . I think they understand that we always want to ice a Cup-winning team, and with that comes some casualties. This year, I’m looking forward to it, to a certain degree; there’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of spots, including — you don’t wish one of these (defensemen) to be traded, but we just have too many. At some point, I’m going to have to do it, and all the teams in the league, most of the teams in the league would like one.
“And I know everyone’s waiting, ‘What move will (he) make? What move will (he) make?’ Well, I have to see what’s going to happen, see who fits well with whom, but the uncertainty is something this year that is a byproduct of the cap and a successful team and locking up those guys, and eventually there’s other guys that are just going to get too expensive. I don’t cast any aspersions on them for being at that level, but that’s what it’s at.”
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE answered a few questions from the fans....
What does your gut tell you about Boychuk? He staying or going?
JH: My head tells me that he’s going, and my gut tells me that he’s staying with the Bruins. Make of that what you will, but I’ve maintained for a while now that trading away Boychuk makes them worse in the short term when they have legitimate Cup aspirations headed into the season.
Bruins staff watch Patriots O-Line w/out Veteran presence, Mankins? Don't trade a reliable Vet. Boychuck.
JH: This was my favorite tweet of the day on Wednesday. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Logan Mankins/Johnny Boychuk parallel over the last couple of days, and it was pretty stark watching the Patriots offensive line flounder in Miami last weekend. Making tough decisions with veteran players is always part of reality in a cap situation, and oftentimes you don’t truly miss – or value -- something until it’s gone.
It’s hard to say what would happen to the Bruins if they traded away Boychuk, but a top four defensemen group of Zdeno Chara/Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg/Johnny Boychuk is a pretty good place to start. Teams with legit championship aspirations sometimes have to simply watch a valuable guy play out his contract, and then watch him walk away when they can’t afford him.
You simply can’t cast off key veteran players when you’re the prohibitive favorite in a still weak Eastern Conference, or at least you can’t do it unless you’re getting likeminded value in return. If there’s a young, affordable stud forward (Yakupov, Jurco, Silfverberg) coming back in exchange for Boychuk then that’s something the Bruins might have to think long and hard about.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Zdeno Chara is famous for always looking for ways to improve his game, even after 1,132 games, even after 17 years in the league and even after reaching the pinnacle with a seemingly annual honor as a finalist for the Norris Trophy. It’s perhaps become a bit easier to search for improvement in recent years, though, as Father Time is catching up to the 6-foot-9 defenseman just a bit.
As the NHL gets faster and sleeker as an overall style of play, Chara needs to work that much harder to keep up as the largest individual in the league. The Bruins are doing their part by dropping his ice time: it’s gone down nearly a full minute over the course of four seasons from 25:26 in 2010-11 to a 24:39 mark last season that stood as his lowest ice time total in his Bruins career.
Chara is also doing his part to work on his speed and agility during his notoriously rigorous offseason training, and keep up with players in the league that are now literally half his age.
“I’m a huge fan. I’m in there probably 70 percent of the time watching games. When you have an organization like the Bruins that’s contending every single year, that makes it exciting. You have high hopes and high expectations. Obviously last year was a little disappointing with an early exit against Montreal.
“But the thing that they have in place with the core of the team is exciting for fans, and for management too. They’re always looked at as one of the teams that should be contending. I remember around this time year you’d be getting excited for camp, and there’s only a few weeks left. You get back into that work mode, and this time of year always kind of brings me back to that.”
-Ray Bourque on the Boston Bruins. More from Bourque by Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
“I think they have a very strong nucleus,” Park told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. “I think they’ll probably lose some offensive power with Iginla not coming back. I don’t think they have somebody capable of scoring, on a regular basis, 25-to-30 goals. Offensively, that hurts them.”
The Bruins, who recently signed key performer David Krejci to a six-year deal worth $43.5 million, have approximately $69.8 million committed for next season (the cap has been set at $69 million), according to Capgeek.com, and that is with restricted free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug still unsigned.
Considering the obstacle that faces general manager Peter Chiarelli, many believe the Bruins will have to trade one of their defensemen. Boston currently has a glut of blueliners as they head into training camp later this month.
Park thinks the Bruins’ back end is particularly solid, and should be a strength for the club, especially if they can stay healthy.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Nobody wants to see Boychuk traded from this current group of Bruins, and dealing away the hard-nosed, hard-hitting D-man with the booming shot will weaken their team in the short term. His inclusive personality would be missed. His intensity in the playoffs would be missed. His willingness to endure a puck to the face to win a game would be severely missed.
Winning it all this season would be aided by having No. 55 in uniform for the Black and Gold.
But Boychuk would net the biggest savings if his $3.36 million cap hit was dealt to a team in need of his services, and he’d also yield the best player in return to a Bruins team that could use a right wing. Could he be packaged with other items to rescue a gem like Nail Yakupov from the Edmonton Oilers, or Jakob Silfverberg, or Tomas Tatar?
There’s also the cold, hard fact that the Bruins won’t be able to afford Boychuk after this season when he hits unrestricted free agency. He will easily command $5-6 million per season based on the ludicrous contract given to Brooks Orpik by the Washington Capitals, and the Bruins would be hard-pressed to go that high with a second-pairing defenseman on the wrong side of 30.
It comes down to signing players like Soderberg, Hamilton, Krug, Smith and others to deals while absorbing the $7.25 million Krejci cap hit after this season, and Boychuk seems like an ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle piece from a cap perspective.
from Nicholas Goss of NESN,
...the Bruins still need to re-sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
The best-case scenario is to finalize these contracts before training camp begins Sept. 18. “I want them to be part of this team and I want them to have a full camp,” Chiarelli said when asked about Krug and Smith. “In my tenure here we’ve never had anyone not attend. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t.”
The B’s are $809,143 over the salary cap ceiling, per CapGeek, which might force Chiarelli to make a move or two before Krug and Smith are re-signed. The team also has the option of putting Marc Savard’s contract on long-term injury reserve to free up $4,027,143 in cap space.
Chiarelli was asked about Milan Lucic’s future, too. The veteran power forward is another valuable member of the team’s core, and he has two more years left on his contract.
“He’s another guy we like,obviously I consider him a backbone of this franchise,” Chiarelli said. “Eventually we’ll get around to that. We’ve got a lot of things we have to do, that’s the business of hockey. … We’ll get him done when his time comes around.”
more from Chiarelli on the signing of Krejci...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
According to a report out of the Czech Republic, David Krejci has agreed to a six year contract extension with the Bruins that will pay him in the neighborhood of $43 million. Hokej.cz is reporting through Krejci’s management group that the playmaking center and the Bruins have agreed to terms on a six year extension that would pay him $7.16 million per season.
The $7.16 million cap hit would put him slightly above the pay scale of Patrice Bergeron ($6.5 million), Zdeno Chara ($6.9 million) and Tuukka Rask ($7 million) to make him the highest paid Bruins player on an average annual value basis. The salary number isn’t a surprise given the rising salary cap and the big money extensions handed out to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews earlier this season, and guarantees that the Bruins will keep together a roster built around their top two frontline centers for the majority of the next decade.
Both the B’s organization and Krejci haven’t yet confirmed the contract extension to CSNNE.com, but it was fully expected that the B’s would work something out with their top line pivot prior to the season.
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