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Chiarelli Explains Cuts, Talks Roster

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston, MA -- In many ways the 2007-08 season begins on Tuesday when, after almost three weeks of official training camp, the Black & Gold will hit the ice at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena with the template of their team intact.

On Monday, Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli cut the team down to 23, and sent defenseman Matt Hunwick, as well as forwards Petteri Nokelainen and Nate Thompson, to Providence of the AHL. He also put Jeff Hoggan on waivers with the intent of sending him to the P-Bruins.

Opposing teams have until noon, Tuesday, to claim Hoggan, a rugged winger, for themselves.

Speaking to the New England hockey-covering media via conference call, Chiarelli explained his cuts, particularly speaking to the decision to send Hunwick to Rhode Island while keeping Lucic.

"I think Milan started very strongly," said the GM. "He is a big, strong player, strong along the boards -- you've seen him fight.

"He has a little finish and that has been improving.

"He's tailed off a little bit in the last couple of games and practices, (but) we attribute that to fatigue…he's been, pretty much, going non-stop since the beginning of July," Chiarelli said.

Furthermore, Lucic embodies the "harder to play against" mold that the club has been coveting.

"He's got a lot of what we are looking for," said Chiarelli. "And we are going to look at him a little bit further -- we have the luxury of those nine games (pertaining to his contract status) and I think at this point we are going to take advantage of some of those games…(but) he's a big strong kid that we like."

As far as Hunwick, Chiarelli said, "he was really close and I don't think we've seen the end of him.

"He's a mobile defenseman with a couple of things to learn. But he's great at puck retrieval and he's a really good skater -- skating is his greatest asset."

"He turned a lot of heads and he had a very good camp," he said.

Another young player who has turned heads has been center David Krejci.

"We certainly saw the way that he played last year -- especially in the playoffs," said Chiarelli of Krejci, another rookie who stuck with the club. "Part of our job is project where players are going to be (in terms of development) after a period of time.

"We had chances to sign some centermen would play that third line role, but we decided to give David a chance...he's had a very good camp.

"You saw his goal (Sunday) and he's played very well defensively and he's done everything we've asked him to do," he said.

Asked about the other three gentlemen who were heading south on I-95 today, particularly youngsters Nokelainen and Thompson, Chiarelli said they "gave a good account of themselves in camp… we just felt that they weren't ready."

However, it's obvious that all four of the men cut on Monday are highly regarded by the team and could fit into the club's future plans.

"We told this last group (of cuts that) there might be some things that happen so that you might be back in the mix" said Chiarelli. "That's why we wanted that group to come on that team building (in Vermont) with us.

"We feel that they are part of the team."

In any case, there are only three practice days left before the Bruins face the Stars in Dallas on Friday to begin a five game, 10-day road trip.
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