As the man behind the moves to improve the Bruins following last year’s meltdown against Philadelphia, GM Peter Chiarelli can’t be happier about another crack at the Flyers.
According to Chiarelli, Claude Julien told his players before Game 7 that they had another opportunity to erase some bad memories if they got past Montreal.
“I do, of course,” Chiarelli said when asked if looked forward to a rematch. “The players do. Claude had mentioned it to them at one point prior to the game. ‘Here’s another chance to redeem yourselves.’ ”
In scouting the Flyers, Chiarelli sees a team more like his own than Montreal’s. The Canadiens relied on speed and skill up front. Players like Mike Cammalleri stretched out the Boston defense. On the back end, the Canadiens packed it in. They relied on Carey Price to bail them out.
The Flyers are bigger, tougher, and meaner. They have a blend of skill and brawn. They push the pace. Their primary weakness, as always, is in goal, where Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Michael Leighton got playing time in the first round against Buffalo.
“They’re bigger, first and foremost,” Chiarelli said. “That’s a huge difference. You saw with Montreal, they stretch the ice, they’re always coming at you, and they’re fast. These guys don’t stretch the ice as much. But they go to the weak side a lot in the neutral zone. They’re coming in rushes. They don’t stretch as much. They’re north-south. They’re like us to a certain degree. They’ve got skilled players. They’ve got some heavy players.”
* Chiarelli acknowledged the power play has been, and remains, the organization’s No. 1 concern. The Bruins were 0 for 21 against Montreal. “This is a topic we’ve addressed all year, every day,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve been on them so much to succeed. You reach a point where you’re at diminishing returns as far as trying to make changes. It’s been a frustrating exercise.”
* Chiarelli compared Chris Kelly to P.J. Axelsson — a smart, responsible, two-way player who always has his coaches’ trust.
* Andrew Ference was not suspended for his hit on Jeff Halpern. Ference had a disciplinary hearing this morning with Mike Murphy, senior VP of hockey operations. “I thought it was just incidental contact,” Chiarelli said of his first reaction. “When I took a closer look, I saw where the league’s concerns lie. When you look at the whole play, we turned the puck over at our blue. When that happens, the D is supposed to close off the rim around the wall. [Ference] was moving that way. What Andy said was that he just saw [Halpern] off his shoulder as he was moving. Looking up as he saw the turnover, his motion and the player’s motion ran into each other.”