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Providence opens training camp

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 03:48 PM

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Providence opened camp today at the Rhode Island Sports Center. Both groups have concluded their on-ice sessions.

“It’s good to see the guys out skating,” said GM Peter Chiarelli. “It’s a little different, a different environment, different setting. But the guys are energetic. We’ll have some scrimmages on the weekend. We’re back at it.”

Some of the top prospects include Jordan Caron, Ryan Spooner, and Jared Knight. They will look to veterans such as Chris Bourque, Christian Hanson, and Trent Whitfield to help them acclimate, especially Spooner and Knight, who are first-year pros.

“The young guys know what the Boston Bruins’ expectations are,” said Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. “They’ve come in here in great shape. Hats off to them. A lot of them are probably a bit disappointed they didn’t get to go to big camp. That’s part of being a pro. You go there, rub elbows with the [Zdeno] Charas and the [Patrice] Bergerons, then come down here and work on your game. They missed that. But they tested real well. The on-ice was more about getting them to feel the puck.”

The rest of the weekend will include scrimmages. The first preseason game is next Wednesday against Springfield at Marlborough’s New England Sports Center.

* Claude Julien and assistants Geoff Ward, Doug Houda, and Doug Jarvis watched practice from the stands. Also in attendance: Chiarelli and assistant GMs Jim Benning and Don Sweeney. Goaltending coach Bob Essensa joined Cassidy and assistant Kevin Dean on the ice.

* Defenseman Kevan Miller was not cleared to skate. During testing, doctors detected a heart murmur. Cassidy didn’t think it was serious, and expected Miller to be cleared.

Amid NHL lockout, Providence ready to start AHL camp

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 27, 2012 04:47 PM

The NHL has canceled the rest of the preseason. The Bruins had three games, including two dates at TD Garden, in October. The regular-season opener is scheduled for Oct. 11.

On Friday, while the big boys remain dark, Providence will open training camp at the Rhode Island Sports Center in North Smithfield, R.I. Camp will begin at 1 p.m.

“The players should understand the challenges of this league,” said assistant GM Don Sweeney. “There are top-heavy players that probably wouldn’t be there at this time of year. They have to realize this league is a very difficult league. It’s a good development league, and they can take another step. I hope the players are looking forward to that. If they’re returning players, there’s a new challenge in front of them with the new players coming in. The competition, internally and externally, is going to be greater.”

Thirty-four players will participate in the AHL camp:

Forwards

Chris Bourque, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Justin Courtnall, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Christian Hanson, Alden Hirschfeld, Jared Knight, Lane MacDermid, Kyle MacKinnon, Matthew Pistilli, Tyler Randell, Bobby Robins, Max Sauvé, Ryan Spooner, Jamie Tardif, Trent Whitfield, Kelsey Wilson.

Defensemen

Matt Bartkowski, Art Bidlevskii, Ryan Button, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Garnet Exelby, Damon Kipp, Torey Krug, Ryan Lowery, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky.

Goalies

Michael Hutchinson, Adam Morrison, Niklas Svedberg.

Here is the schedule:

Friday
Group A practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 1 p.m.
Group B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 2:15 p.m.

Saturday
Group A & B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 10:35 a.m.

Sunday
Group A & B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:55 a.m.

Monday
Group A practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:30 a.m.
Group B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 10:45 a.m.

Tuesday
Group B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:30 a.m.
Group A practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 10:45 a.m.

Wednesday
Non-Game Players practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:30 a.m.
Game Players practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 11:00 a.m.
Preseason Game vs. Springfield, New England Sports Center, 7:05 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 4
Non-Game Players practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:30 a.m.
Game Players practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 11:00 a.m.
Preseason Game vs. Bridgeport, New England Sports Center, 7:05 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 5
Group A practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 9:30 a.m.
Group B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 10:45 a.m.

Saturday, October 6
Group A & B practice, Rhode Island Sports Center, 10:35 a.m.
Preseason Game vs. Springfield, MassMutual Center, 7 p.m.

All practice sessions are free and open to the public.

* Michael Hutchinson is coming off surgery to repair the labrums in both hips. Hutchinson will be ready to start camp.

* Chris Bourque and Lane MacDermid signed AHL contracts, allowing them to play for Providence.

* Claude Julien and assistants Geoff Ward, Doug Houda, and Doug Jarvis will participate in camp. They will evaluate from the stands, not from the ice. Bruce Cassidy and assistant Kevin Dean will be the on-ice coaches.

Tyler Seguin prepares to join Swiss club

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 01:34 PM

With NHL training camps locked out and the league's 2012-'13 season in jeopardy, Bruins phenom Tyler Seguin has decided not to wait around and is finalizing plans to play in Switzerland.

According to Ian Pulver, the agent who just days ago negotiated Seguin's six-year contract extension with Boston, Seguin could be on his way within 48 hours to play for Biel, located northeast of Geneva, in the Swiss Elite League.

"The wheels are in motion, so to speak," said Pulver, reached by telephone in his Ontario office. "There are still details to work out--transfer card, all the usual stuff--but that is the plan. He should be on his way imminently."

Comcast's Joe Haggerty was among the first locally to report Seguin's plans.

Seguin, on the books to earn some $3.5 million this season with the Bruins, undoubtedly will earn far less with Biel. Due approximately $40 million in future earnings with the Bruins over the next seven years, he will need hefty insurance, costing in the range of $25,000-$40,000 per month, to play in Biel. The Swiss club will pay that expense.



If the NHL lockout ends, Seguin, like all NHLers who have joined other pro leagues, will be free to rejoin the Bruins immediately.

Seguin, who will turn 21 in January, led the Bruins' scoring chart last season with 29 goals and 67 points in 81 games.

''Biel was the club that expressed the most interest in Tyler,'' said Pulver, noting that Seguin also drew interest from clubs in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League. ''There are a few other Canadian boys on the team, too. So, all in all, it came down to feeling that Biel was the right fit for him.''

Seguin has played a total of 175 NHL games, all but 20 in the regular season, with the Bruins. Had that number been less than 160, the Bruins would have had the right to assign Seguin to the American Hockey League (Providence) during the lockout. As things stand now, if fans of the WannaBs want to see him, they'll have to book air tickets to Geneva.

NHL cancels all of September's preseason games

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 04:49 PM

The NHL has canceled all of September’s preseason games because of the lockout. The Bruins were scheduled to play four preseason games this month: next Tuesday against the Capitals; next Wednesday against the Sabres; and Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 against Winnipeg. They were all road games, including one match against the Jets in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Bruins are scheduled to have three preseason games in October. The regular-season opener is scheduled for Oct. 11 against Philadelphia.

Training camp was scheduled to start on Friday at Ristuccia Arena.

Bruins players in limbo amid lockout

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 02:35 PM

A group of Bruins has completed an on-ice session at Harvard’s Bright Center. Local non-Bruins, including Ryan Whitney and Keith Yandle, also participated in the skate.

So far, none of the Bruins has signed an overseas contract. Players who could do so in the coming days and weeks include Anton Khudobin (Russia), David Krejci (Czech Republic), and Dennis Seidenberg (Germany).

“I’ve thought about it all along,” Seidenberg said of signing with Mannheim, his younger brother’s German club. “I just don’t want to leave too early. I want to wait it out for a couple more weeks. Then we’ll see where things are at.”

Andrew Ference played for Budejovice in the Czech Republic during the 2004-05 lockout. Ference said a Czech return is possible. Ference’s family would remain in Boston if he went overseas.

“We’ll see how the next week or two shakes out with meetings and negotiations,” Ference said. “I think everybody will have a better sense of exactly what some long-term plans are. There’s always the immediate lockout period. Then it takes a few days for things to sort themselves out and get talking again. We’ll see where it goes from there.”

Two high-profile flights are already in the works. Joe Thornton and Rick Nash are scheduled to suit up for Davos. The two played for the Swiss club in 2004-05.

If more signings take place, there could a run on overseas work. Native players like Seidenberg would not be considered imports. They could wait and sign in Europe at any time. But for North Americans like Ference, there are only so many openings. One player wondered why Thornton and Nash were so quick to bolt.

* Even if the lockout lifted promptly, Ference said he would sign a short-term deal in Europe, just to see game action. Ference believes the players who went to Europe in 2004-05 were better off than those who remained in Canada or the United States and didn’t play. For Ference, who will reach unrestricted free agency next summer, staying in game-sharp is a priority.

* Currently, Gregory Campbell does not have an overseas plan. Campbell said he will return to his offseason home in Ontario sometime next week.

* The players would have peaked physically on Friday, when training camp was originally scheduled to open. They are dialed in to do so for fitness testing. In short order, they will taper their workouts.

* The players are scheduled to skate at the Bright Center for the rest of the week. The sessions are closed to the public.

Milan Lucic inks three-year, $18 million contract extension

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff September 15, 2012 07:37 AM

Hard rock left winger Milan Lucic, with one year remaining on his current contract, has agreed to a three-year, $18 million extension. Lucic is entering the final season of his current deal, which averages $4.083 million annually.

"He's a very good player on our team," GM Peter Chiarelli said during a conference call. "This is a deal that both sides are comfortable with. It gives us, under the current system, two years of UFA, which is huge. It gives Milan the ability to get back to the market in four years, but still gives him an element of security, playing with the team and in the city he loves."

In 2013-14, the first year of Lucic's extension, the power forward will become the second-highest-paid player on the team. Zdeno Chara is the leader at just under $7 million annually.

Lucic, age 24 and already a five-year NHL veteran, would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2014 under the league's current collective bargaining agreement.

Earlier this week, the Bruins inked second-year forward Tyler Seguin to a six-year extension at an average $5.75 million per season. The deal came only days after Brad Marchand, also with a year remaining on his contract, signed a four-year extension worth a total of $18 million.

Meanwhile, with the current CBA to expire this evening, the league and the players' union remain at loggerheads over many key economic issues--including the league's desire to place limitations on the term length of player contracts. Absent an unexpected 11th-hour turnround, Commissioner Gary Bettman will impose the third lockout of his tenure, which began at the start of 1993.

In an eight-day span, the Bruins have committed $70.5 million in total future salary to Lucic, Seguin, and Marchand.

"These are big numbers we've given these guys the past little bit," Chiarelli said. "They're deserving of them. They're all very good players, core guys. It's more about keeping the core together. We don't throw caution to the wind. We do our planning with different scenarios depending on what the system will be going forward. We feel we've got some latitude going forward."

* This will be the Bruins' final transaction prior to midnight. No transactions are expected to take place during a lockout.

Bruins make AHL assignments

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 05:16 PM

The Bruins have assigned 19 players to Providence. They will be eligible for AHL play if a lockout takes place.

Not assigned: Tyler Seguin, Chris Bourque, and Aaron Johnson.

Assigned: Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Michael Hutchinson, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam Morrison, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Ryan
Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman,and David Warsofsky.

Bruins players preparing for lockout

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 01:06 PM

WILMINGTON – The Bruins have concluded what could be their final informal practice for some time. Just about every player from the projected 2012-13 roster (Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand were exceptions) participated in an on-ice morning session at Ristuccia Arena.

Some players left the rink after the skate with their bags and sticks slung over their shoulders. Others remained at Ristuccia for off-ice workouts. There is no skate scheduled for tomorrow.

If the lockout takes place after the collective bargaining agreement’s expiration at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, the players will not be allowed in the Ristuccia doors. The players have yet to determine where they will skate next week.

“I think it’s going to take some time for both sides to think about things,” Zdeno Chara said. “We’ll go from there. It’s one of those things that goes day by day. We’ll see what will be new tomorrow or the day after that. But as of right now, both sides know it’s not going to be the start of training camp. We’ll see where it goes from there.”

* Tyler Seguin believes he will be eligible to play in Providence. Seguin is on his entry-level two-way contract. Seguin has appeared in 155 career NHL games and would require waivers to be assigned. However, Seguin thinks because of his age (20), he would be free to report to Providence. Seguin said he has yet to consider his next move if a lockout takes place.

* Four local non-Bruin players participated in the skate: Ryan Whitney, Keith Yandle, Ryan Bourque, and Alex Berry.

Bruins place four on waivers

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 03:01 PM
The NHL, according to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, has granted its clubs an expanded waivers period. Under this stipulation, the Bruins have placed Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Jamie Tardif, and Trent Whitfield on waivers. TSN first reported the transactions.

Once the players clear waivers, they will be free to report to Providence and dress for AHL games. Providence’s training camp will start on Sept. 28.

Had a normal Bruins camp been anticipated, all four would have skated alongside the big boys. They would have most likely dressed for some preseason games, although they were long shots to break camp on the varsity roster.

However, because of the uncertainty regarding both the preseason and regular season, the NHL has introduced the expanded waivers period. The Bruins are scheduled to open camp on Sept. 21 at Ristuccia Arena.

Seguin, 6 years at $5.75 million, builds on Bruins' core

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 02:17 PM





Slightly more than two years after making him the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft, the Bruins today boldly secured speedy forward Tyler Seguin to their growing cadre of core players with a six-year contract extension that will pay him an average $5.75 million per season.

Seguin, 20, is the second long-term deal written in less than a week by GM Peter Chiarelli, who late last week added four years to Brad Marchand's contract, tying up the rablerousing left winger at a price of $4.5 million per season through 2016-17.

Similar to Marchand's deal, Seguin's new pact will not start until October of the 2013-14 season, ostensibly making him a Boston mainstay through the 2018-19 NHL season.

Part of the factor in Seguin's high-end payout: under current CBA language, he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after his seventh year in the league. Ostensibly, the Bruins "bought" two years of free agency from the player who last season led the club in scoring (81 games, 29-38--67).

Given that the NHL is in CBA negotiations with its players, Chiarelli acknowleged that the optics of Seguin's deal may be difficult for some to accept.

''We've tried to maintain our core--that's generally what teams do,'' said the GM. ''We aren't splitting any atoms here...we are trying to lock up younger players.''

Later during a media conference call that began just after 3 p.m., Chiarelli added, ''I know the optics don't look great (due to CBA negotiations), but I've got to do my business as usual.''

Seguin's new pact will pay $4.5 million the first year, with an increase to $5.5 million in year No. 2. It maxes out at $6.5 million a year.

Out of the last lockout, 2004-05, players under contract were made to take 24 percent pay cuts when play resumed. No mention of such discounts has been made in current CBA talks, but Seguin acknowledged the risk that the deal he signs today could be given a haircut tomorrow.

"It's a fair deal," he said, noting he has trust and faith in the union's negotiating team. "It's what I am living in."

Chiarelli's moves to tie up core players to long-term deals is the polar opposite approach of how the Bruins ran their business ahead of the 2004-05 lockout, when they watched the likes of Sergei Gonchar leave for Pittsburgh, Michael Nylander for the Rangers, and Mike Knuble to the Flyers.

It was management's belief in the summer of '04 that a new CBA would flood the market with free agents, thus lowering asking prices throughout the league. Instead, they saw core members sign elsewhere to long-term deals, and the free-agent market was woefully thin on talent when a new CBA finally was forged after the lost season of 2004-05.

Now, with yet another lockout looming, perhaps as early as this weekend, Chiarelli and team owner Jeremy Jacobs have been proactive in securing the club's nucleus. Team captain Zdeno Chara and versatile veteran Patrice Bergeron both signed long-term extensions ahead of the 2010-11 season.

With two strokes of his pen, Chiarelli tied up Marchand and Seguin for a total of 10 years employment, at a total cost of $52.5 million. The old ways of doing business on Causeway Street are long gone.

It's possible that Chiarelli's next target to tie up long-term will be hard rock left winger Milan Lucic, among the game's boldest fighters. No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask, who signed a one-year extension ($3.5 million) earlier this summer, is eligible to work out a long-term deal as soon as the new calendar year.

At some point, money could get tight, the Bruins already at the high-end of player payroll even before the Seguin signing. If there is a player vulnerable to being traded, it's center David Krejci, who shares the top pivot's role with Bergeron. Seguin is a natural center, though he's never played that role regularly since his arrival. If the Bruins get squeezed on bucks, look for Krejci to go and for Seguin to switch to slot duty.

Chiarell noted during the call that a new CBA or other financial concerns could force him to make trades to remain under the salary cap.

"If we have to shuffle players or delete from the roster," he said, "To get to the [allowed] level of salary, it will be hard to do (from an emotional aspect), but...."

Chiarelli went on to note that he prefers to have players under contract, giving him tangible assets, rather than to be left at the whim of CBA negotiations or changes in market forces.

Tyler Seguin signs six-year contract extension with Bruins

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 11, 2012 10:47 AM

300seguin.jpg


Forward Tyler Seguin has agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Bruins that will keep him in Boston through the 2018-19 season, the team announced on Tuesday.

Seguin, who is entering his third season in the NHL, will average $5.75 million a season over the six years of the new deal.

Seguin led the Bruins with 29 goals in 2011-12, and he also had 38 assists for 67 points. He was chosen for the NHL All-Star Game.

Seguin has played 155 NHL games in his two seasons and had 40 goals and 49 assists. In 20 playoff games, he's scored five goals and made five assists.

It was the second important signing in as many weeks for the Bruins. Last week, Brad Marchand, second to Seguin with 28 goals this season, agreed to a four-year deal.

Seguin tweeted his reaction to the deal:

With CBA set to expire, Bruins uncertain about start of season

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 11:22 AM
BOLTON – Fourteen Bruins players, as well as coach Claude Julien, have gathered at The International for the team’s annual charity golf tournament. Based on the state of negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA, more golf clubs may be in their future.

“It’s pretty tough to be optimistic,” defenseman Andrew Ference said. “I think at the beginning of the summer, there were a lot of great talks. We were hopeful that could continue and we could see some progress. Obviously this next week or two is pretty big.”

The group included Ference, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Bourque, Johnny Boychuk, Anton Khudobin, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Dennis Seidenberg, and Shawn Thornton.

The players plan to continue their informal skates this week. Some of them will attend NHLPA meetings in New York later this week.

As of now, the players are adamant about not giving back money to the owners.

“I didn’t negotiate my contract,” Thornton said, “thinking they’d take 20 percent off the top.”

Brad Marchand signs contract extension

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 7, 2012 12:42 PM
Forward Brad Marchand has signed a four-year, $18 million extension with the Bruins.

Marchand has one season remaining on his current two-year, $5 million deal. Marchand's new contract will start in 2013-14 and conclude in 2016-17.

"He's still 24, in the prime of his career," GM Peter Chiarelli said during a conference call. "It's been an interesting journey to watch him get to this point. I like the whole package. He plays the way we want guys to play, in their own way -- to be aggressive, strong on the puck, enthusiastic."

Marchand scored 28 goals and 27 assists in 76 in 2011-12. Marchand served primarily as Patrice Bergeron's left wing with Tyler Seguin riding on the right side.

Marchand has developed into one of the team’s most important all-around players. Among forwards, Marchand (17:37) trailed only Bergeron (18:34) and David Krejci (18:25) in average ice time per game. With Bergeron as his partner, Marchand averaged 1:23 of penalty-killing time per appearance. Marchand also earned 2:09 of playing time on the power play per game.

Chiarelli said there wasn't necessarily a demand to agree on an extension prior to Sept. 15, when the current collective bargaining agreement will expire.

Seguin, Marchand's linemate, should receive his own extension sometime next week.

Malcolm Subban signs three-year, entry-level contract

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff September 6, 2012 02:52 PM

The Bruins have signed goalie Malcolm Subban to a three-year, entry-level contract. Subban was the team’s first-round pick in the 2012 draft.

The 18-year-old Subban, younger brother of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, is currently participating in training camp with Belleville, his OHL team. Subban will remain with Belleville until the Bruins start training camp, which is currently scheduled for Sept. 21. According to GM Peter Chiarelli, NHL teams will be allowed to extract some, if not all, of their drafted players from their junior clubs to attend camp.

Subban would have participated in a rookie tournament in Florida starting on Sept. 14. The Bruins were scheduled to play in the four-team tournament with Florida, Tampa Bay, and Nashville. That tournament has been canceled.

Regardless of whether he attends Bruins camp, Subban will play for Belleville in 2012-13. Subban is not eligible to play for Providence.

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