Boston, MA --
The B's 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday may have put an exclamation point on the club's tour of Europe, but the Bruins made a clear statement about their future by re-signing Patrice Bergeron
and Zdeno Chara
to contract extensions during the Black & Gold's visit to Prague.
|Chara & Bergeron |
"You want to try and lock up your core, and that's what we're trying to do here," said Chiarelli on Wednesday morning during Boston's first practice back in Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
"They are two very important players who are now in the mix for a while."
However, it's not just Bergeron and Chara's on-ice performance that makes them linchpin in the B's team structure. Chiarelli explained that it's the intangibles that the two players bring to the locker room that make them invaluable to Boston's continued success.
"Their character and their leadership ability...whenever you sign someone to these amounts, that's in the equation," said the Gm. "Both of those guys play hard -- all the time.
"They are high in character...so, to know that they are going to be around and will tutor and help lead the younger guys and that's a large part of it also."
Their teammates had similar sentiments.
"In many different ways...he's a good example [for us]," said veteran netminder Tim Thomas
of Bergeron. "He really takes care of himself, physically.
"The way he works out and the way he eats he's a good example to the other players.
"He's a quiet leader, but he will step up and say something if he feels the need," he said.
|Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron, right, scores past goalkeeper Tomas Vosvrda, center, and Jiri Moravec, left, both of Bili Tigri Liberec during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game between Boston Bruins and Bili Tygri Liberec in Liberec, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) |
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk
was asked what, in particular, was the most important thing that Chara brought to the Bruins.
"Just his presence in the locker room," said Boychuk. "He's a great guy to have in the dressing room because if things aren't going well [for a player], he'll tell a guy -- not in a bad way, but in a constructive criticism way, and not in front of everybody.
"He'd take him aside and tell him to pick it up. Tell him, 'Maybe try this. Try that.'
"And when things are going well he tells everybody what he thinks and...praises everyone in the locker room. And it's nice to see that.
"He's our captain, he's our leader," added Boychuk. "And it's great to see that he's going to be back here."
That admiration was echoed in Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien's statements from last weekend.
"His professionalism and his enthusiasm for the game just rubs off on a lot of people," said Julien of Bergeron. "He’s earned the respect of the whole organization and especially his teammates by the way he conducts himself.”
Julien also said that the 6'9" Chara had grown into his captaincy.
"I think the guys look up to him," said Julien. "He certainly leads by example.
|Taylor Pyatt, left, of Phoenix Coyotes is challenged by Zdeno Chara, right, of Boston Bruins during their NHL hockey match in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) |
"He wants to be a good captain and what he's learned along the way is you can't do everything by yourself, and he's been able to [find] some good leaders in the dressing room, and he knows how to delegate better.
"His first year was certainly a learning process for him and that's what he told me when I first met him -- but he's been good," said Julien.
The B's head coach added that keeping Bergeron and Chara will help the Black & Gold continue to be "harder to play against."
"I think it's great for everybody," explained Julien of the signings. "There's real stability there.
"We've got [Patrice Bergeron
] one day and [Zdeno Chara
] the next, and the core group of players is taken care of.
"I think it gives the team a solid group to stand on...and now it's up to us to build around that and make ourselves a great team," he said.
And, of course, the hockey abilities that saw both men picked for their country's Olympic squads in 2010 doesn't hurt either.
"They're great two-way players and they're in the tops in their positions in the league," said Chiarelli. "So, it wasn't a very hard decision."