Saturday, June 30, 2007

Salary cap news and free agents

The NHL salary cap for next season will be $50.3 million. Last season the salary cap was at $44 million. Each team must spend at least $34.3 million. Douglas Flynn on his blog on BostonHerald.com says that the Bruins have "roughly $41 million committed" which leaves some room ($9.3 million) for GM Peter Chiarelli to sign a few players.

While some players have already re-signed with their teams, looking at the unrestricted free agent list on ESPN.com, here are some players I would like the Bruins to think about signing:

-Shawn Thornton, RW, played 48 games last season for the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, scored 2 goals with 88 PIMs, and he played in the playoffs. My thoughts: he showed that he could be trusted in the playoffs, play physical and stand up for teammates. The Bruins definitely need a player like Thornton, especially if they lose Jeremy Reich to another team.

-Scott Walker, RW, played 81 games last season for the Carolina Hurricanes, and scored 21 goals. My thoughts: he has always been one of my favorites and if you remember him playing against the Bruins this past season and taking on Andrew Alberts then you know why any team would like to have him. I think the Hurricanes might have recently re-signed him but if the Bruins would have any chance of signing Walker, get him now!

-Denis Arkhipov, Center, played 79 games last season for the bad Chicago Blackhawks, and scored 10 goals. My thoughts: he's 28 years old and I think hasn't played on a top line. I think if he played with better players I think he could put up better numbers. Or being 28, this may just be what he is, an average player.

-Raitis Ivanans, LW, played 66 games last season for the Los Angeles Kings, and scored 4 goals. My thoughts: he's not known for scoring but for his punch. He's a true enforcer with his size (6-3, 263 lbs.) and the Bruins need a player like Ivanans.

-Sheldon Brookbank, defenseman, played in only 3 games last season for the Nashville Predators. My thoughts: he's a young defenseman with a lot of potential as he was an AHL All-Star last year but I have a feeling that the Predators will lock him up. He seems to have some offensive touch, but he's known for his physical play and dropping the gloves as his brother, former Bruin Wade Brookbank.

-Tom Preissing, defenseman, played in 80 games last season for the Ottawa Senators. My thoughts: he had a good year with the Senators last season but I have a feeling that the Senators will re-sign Preissing. He would be a good pickup though.

-Scott Hannan, defenseman, played in 79 games last season for the San Jose Sharks. My thoughts: I think the Sharks will re-sign him and he'll probably want a big contract. But he is a solid defenseman that the Bruins would love to have. Hannan is an offensive style defenseman but also is solid defensively.

-Cory Sarich, defenseman, played in 82 games last season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. My thoughts: I also think that the Lightning will re-sign Sarich because he is a big part of their defense. Sarich is a physical defenseman that the Bruins need.

Of course I would like the Bruins to sign a player like Chris Drury, or Daniel Briere, or Scott Gomez but I think that is a slim possibility because of the salary cap. Plus I don't think any of those three players would want to sign with Boston, they all probably want to go to a winning team and not one that is trying to rebuild.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bruins fire Gorton and Dore

The Boston Bruins have fired assistant general manager Jeff Gorton and veteran scout Daniel Dore. GM Peter Chiarelli continues to clean the Bruins management staff and looking to bring in new people. Hopefully this works out the best for the Bruins, otherwise Bruins nation is going to go crazy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bruins hire Claude Julien as coach

TSN has confirmed that the Boston Bruins have hired Claude Julien as their next head coach. Julien was fired during the season from the New Jersey Devils this past season even though the Devils were leading the Atlantic Division. Julien coached the Montreal Canadiens for 3 years before coaching the Devils.

I don't know about this move. Does anyone else think that this was too soon? Maybe look at more candidates to see if there is something better out there. I'm worried about this hiring, not just about timing, but about why the Devils fired him while they were leading their division last season. I remember reading that Lou Lamorello fired Julien because he wasn't happy with the direction that the team was going in before the playoffs. Doesn't this tell something about his coaching? Or does Lamorello expect too much for coaches? I guess we'll see what happens.

Bruins sign Bochenski to extension

The Boston Bruins and winger Brandon Bochenski have agreed to a one-year contract extension. You can read more about this on BostonBruins.com. It's good to see them sign Bochenski who surprised me in how good he played for the Bruins right after they acquired him. I would have liked to have him signed to a two or three year contract with low money instead of the one-year deal. We'll see if he can continue his good play next season. The Bruins will need it.

Petr Tenkrat signs with Swedish team

Winger Petr Tenkrat, who played for the Boston Bruins last season, signed with the SC Bern of the Swiss National League. Read more on TSN.ca. He played in 64 games last season and scored 9 goals and had 14 points. I don't see this as a major loss at all for the Bruins as Tenkrat didn't provide much for the Bruins.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bruins relieve coach Dave Lewis

The Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli today announced that they have relieved coach Dave Lewis and associate coach Marc Habscheid of their coaching duties. They will be reassigned to other positions within the Bruins' organization.

Chiarelli said (from a BostonBruins.com article):

"Since the season has ended I have completed a thorough review of the team and the coaching staff, and I have determined that Dave Lewis and Marc Habscheid are not the proper fit for the Bruins at this time. I have a short list of candidates in mind, and I hope to have a new Head Coach in place in the near future."

I am very happy about this move and I'm hoping the Bruins bring in someone like: Terry O'Reilly, or Ray Bourque, or Cam Neely to coach the Bruins. I don't know who else is out there for the Bruins to maybe bring in for the coaching position. Hopefully Chiarelli looks at this years' Stanley Cup winners (the Anaheim Ducks) and their physical style of play and brings in someone who will install a physical system/game for the Bruins to play.

Bruins' Phil Kessel wins Masterton Trophy

Yesterday the NHL announced that Bruins' rookie Phil Kessel won the Bill Masterton Trophy. I thought Kessel should win this trophy because of his fight with cancer during the season and his fast return to hockey and he played better in the second half of the season than the first half.

From BostonBruins.com:

"The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who 'best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey' by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The Trophy was first presented by the PHWA in 1968 to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars, who died on January 15, 1968 after sustaining an injury on the ice."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bruins sign Alberts to extension

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced yesterday that the Boston Bruins have signed young hard-hitting defenseman Andrew Alberts to a contract extension. Chiarelli had this to say about Alberts:

"Andrew is a young player with a lot of upside, and it was a priority of ours to get him signed to a multi-year deal this off-season. He is a big, tough and physical player who we think is only going to get better as he continues to develop as a NHL defenseman."

Last season Alberts led the Bruins in penalty minutes with 124 and looked to be one of the few bright spots the Bruins had last season in my opinion. It's good to see them sign a good young player that should grow into a better player in the coming seasons.