John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
No decision. Nothing final. Not yet.
But when Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli made himself available to the media to discuss a variety of topics early on Monday afternoon, the selection of a new coach for the Black & Gold was omnipresent in everyone's mind.
"I don't want to talk about the candidates," explained Chiarelli, during a session whose original intent, planned last week prior to the reassignment of Dave Lewis, was to discuss the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. "(But) I've got it narrowed down to four (and) I'll be making a decision shortly."
Chiarelli indicated that he had contacted all four coaching candidates and that his intent was to have his new coach in place very soon -- possibly even by this weekend.
"I've spoken to them," said the GM. "Some (of those discussions) have been interviews, some haven't.
"But…I've spoken to them at length," he said.
And everyone understands the clock is ticking.
"I guess in an ideal world (it would happen) before the draft," said Chiarelli. "In a realistic world, it may not happen before the draft."
Asked again, what in particular he was looking for in a head coach, the B's GM said that he hoped to find an individual who "is going make sure that the players execute -- fully -- their tasks on the ice."
Chiarelli further explained that 'execution' meant performing in all aspects of the game.
"That means their systems, defensive and offensive, and specialty teams," expounded Chiarelli, who continued on to say that his ideal coach "is a guy that holds (players) accountable.
"And that's a hard task...there is a balance when you are making someone accountable (because) you still have to go to the rink everyday with them."
Chiarelli stated that the new coach would be charged with playing the style the GM imagined last summer.
"The style that I had mentioned when I came on board," said the Bruins GM. "Puck pursuit, being responsible defensively.
And there are different ways to achieve that particular style.
"Everyone, more or less, in the league plays a collapsing zone," said Chiarelli. "Everyone…except for maybe two teams plays a kind of 1-2-2.
"There are different variations on that (by way of being) aggressive or passive.
"So there are not a lot of different systems, its just getting (the players) to execute," he said.
No matter what system is being employed, however, the players will take to it with gusto.
"I want it to be an aggressive style whether it's in a collapsing zone or whether it's in a 1-2-2," said Chiarelli in summation.
The Bruins Boss was asked if he might be after candidates that might also be in the sights of the Ottawa Senators, who replaced GM John Muckler with Bryan Murray, today.
"Sure," said Chiarelli, a-matter-of-factly. "That could be the case.
Chiarelli added, with a chuckle, that he was "just going to call Bryan and find out what he is doing."
Hold on to your hats folks. It's going to be an interesting week.