There was tension around the Bruins camp Tuesday, as General Manager Peter Chiarelli and crew set up camp in “The War Room” for the hours before the 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.
“It was a little weird,” said rookie forward David Krejci
after Boston’s 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. “We tried not to think about it...but everybody knew that anything could happen.”
Even head coach Claude Julien admitted he knew “these are stressful mornings, especially on game days,” and asked permission from Chiarelli to help calm the team down.
“I gave Peter a call and said ‘Look, if it’s quiet, would you mind me going in there and relaxing the guys a little bit?’ he said. “I didn’t want the guys focusing on something they had no control over, [but] I didn’t make any promises, just told them it was pretty quiet on our end.”
While potential trade rumors floated around the Internet, the Bruins remained the same after the deadline had passed, and no one seemed happier -- ecstatic even -- with that news than the players themselves.
“It’s awesome, it’s great,” said Glen Metropolit, explaining very simply.
“It was nice to see that they kept the group together,” said team captain Zdeno Chara
. “We know what we have and we believe in each other, and we know we are capable of doing good things.”
Coach Julien said he could see the players’ excitement when they found out everyone was staying together.
“Everybody was kind of cheering for each other, as far as trying to stay together,” he said, “and I think we had a pretty happy group knowing that no one was leaving.”
Chiarelli, too, believes that the team has excellent potential.
“We spent most of the day on [two] transactions. And they would have bettered our team,” he said in a press conference Tuesday. “But, I went in to today knowing that if I came out of today with nothing, I’m still satisfied.”
He addressed the players prior to last night’s game, as well.
“He said that he believes in us, and that’s why he didn’t really trade,” said Krejci.
The GM is impressed with the team’s chemistry and how they have formed their own identity.
“This year, [the identity of the team] came to me a lot more quickly, what the team was about, how we went out and played, how we came back from deficits, how we competed,” Chiarelli said. “And a large part of that is chemistry.”
The head coach and players agreed that the team has something special and are glad their management recognizes it as well.
“We think we have a good squad here,” said Shawn Thornton
, donning his newly-earned hardhat. “By the management showing that much confidence in us, it makes us have to go out there and prove them right.”
Coach Julien added that keeping players where they feel comfortable is important.
“Although you’re always trying to improve your hockey club, at the same time, I think not being able to [make a trade] keeps those guys where they feel comfortable and being able to accomplish what they’re trying to,” he said.
And while the B’s may have missed out on big-name players (like Marian Hossa, who they’ll face in his new Pittsburgh Penguins uniform Thursday night), they realize they don’t necessarily need them.
“It’s not about what you have on paper, so to speak -- like who has the best players,” said Metropolit. “It’s chemistry…and we all know that, so it’s important.”
The forward, who hooked on with Boston following a professional tryout during training camp, said he enjoys the camaraderie of current Bruins and alumni alike.
He said the group in the Bruins locker room personifies Black & Gold.
“It means the world to be an Original Six [team], there’s a lot of pride,” he said. “You can see the old guys, they come up to you and say ‘great job.’”
In true Bruins style, some players, like all-star goalie Tim Thomas
, jokingly wondered if there were other "messages" to be taken from having no players traded.
“I don’t know, maybe nobody else in the league wants us?” he said, laughing.
And that is the chip-on-the-shoulder-pad which will continue to make this version of the Boston Bruins, a collection of blue collar youngsters and veterans, "harder to play against" through the remainder of the 2007-08 campaign.John Bishop contributed to this report.