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Chiarelli Media Availability, 10.25

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS HEAD GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI AT 6:00 P.M.

On how Alternate Captain Chris Kelly is an asset and if he surprised Chiarelli with his level of contribution...
Well he's obviously a good two-way player first and foremost. I wouldn't have characterized his acquisition as an afterthought. He was an important glue guy that we felt was going to play that role for us and be very versatile. He's played very well so far and he's - again he's shown that he can play any position. He gives- I think he gives- Tyler [Seguin] a sense of defensive comfort when he's on his line and I think Tyler's benefited from that and that line actually has played well. But he's like a veteran guy, played the same type of role in Ottawa. He's just a consistent player that does make some right plays, plays that you don't really appreciate until you look back on the game film and you look and you see the real smart defensive plays that he makes and then I mean, obviously he can chip in with a timely goal.  

On how Kelly seems to have a maturity and cool-headedness that is good for the team...
Yeah he's been- in his time in Ottawa, he's been through a Stanley Cup final and he's been through some lean years too so he's experienced that way and he's- as I characterized him at the beginning, he's a glue guy and that's important for us.  

On where he sees the team right now in terms of expectations...
Well, you've heard me talk about addressing, dealing with this 'hangover' and whether it's been self fulfilling or not, I believe it's here in some form and we just, you know, we - I really haven't, I haven't minded our game that much, like I think our compete level is getting a little better, our execution is getting a little better. We, we're still a little sloppy here and there but I have to stress that it's- that it's something that we have to work through and I - the expectations are high, but we also certainly expected this kind of thing and there's no- as we're finding out -there's no easy answer to it and we've done a few things to try and spark the guy. Our coaching staff for example the other day, our coaching staff worked a lot on the offensive chances and scoring and finishing and at the practice, the guys actually looked like they were having fun that practice so those are the types of little things that you have to do and our coaching staff is a creative staff and I know [head coach] Claude [Julien] is meeting this head on.

On if there's a point where the club's patience will wear thin if they're not getting the desired results...
Yeah, well it's my job to monitor this stuff and address it. I don't want to react- we'll see how it goes on a day to day basis. It's not, you know, obviously it's the results that you look at but I look at other things- internally and at practice and behind the scenes so it's a broader picture but at some point if I don't like the way things are going, I have to do something.  

On Tuukka Rask's light workload, despite having said during camp that he would get more starts early on in the season...
You're right. We did say that. It's not - there's kind of a sense-feel way of addressing the goalies, too and in fairness to Tuukka, he probably should have got another start here or there but you see Tim [Thomas] and how he's playing and you want him to recapture some of the stuff that he had from last year. So I'd have to defer that one to Claude. What I see is, and observe is, I would make the same comment. We've had discussions on the goaltender situation. I think you'll see in the end, I think you'll see it go into line with what we originally put out there.

On if the game against Montreal and the other division games that follow will be a period where he will look more closely at things...
Well it certainly is an opportunity to get back to where we want to be on this stretch. I'm always looking at these things closely. From the act and respond category, I give the team a little more slack when we're winning and I see stuff that I don't like. The margin is smaller now. We've set goals for ourselves -where we believe the team should be at certain points, and you look at this section in the schedule and we hope that we can take advantage of it. It's unfortunate that we're going through this with the bulk of our games at home. I mean, our fans, I think our fans deserve better at this point but having said that I mean, our guys, I know our guys are fighting their way through this funk and it's my job to keep a close eye on them.  

On how he measures their performance and where the team's mindset is...
I see it, I hear things from guys and we've got a couple players that I heard that, they felt like they haven't ever stopped playing and it feels really good out there early and that concerns me a little bit because there should be a kind of cooling off period and a reemerging period between seasons. This is a first time thing for a lot of these guys, and myself included. So it's not a matter of me cutting them slack. If they say they're not mentally prepared or might feel a little not mentally prepared, it's just getting it right and we've- to me the common denominator in all this is two things. One, we've had more offensive chances and better quality chances in this first part than we did last year and we're not scoring so that to me is the foundation of getting things back to - like when you score early, you set the tone. The second thing is, just getting the proper mind frame again. I don't know how to do that- I think it may be more of a natural process too and we're working on it and I know the coaching staff's working on it. You asked about metrics or how do I gauge this team and you know, obviously I'm not happy with their performance or where we are in our standings but this is new to us and we have to- I don't want to overreact - and we have to do it, unfortunately we have to do it game by game for now.

On if he looks back at other teams and how they reacted when they had to go through a bumpy start after a Championship season...
Absolutely. I've said this before. I've talked to GM's, coaches, and players who have been through this. They have different stories but they all say there's something that happened that you can't avoid. Malaise is too strong a word, it's just a bit of a cloud right now and I know one team said it took them twenty games before they were back to normal. There's no easy answer and I'm not using it as a crutch. It's something that we expected and then we- in talking to the guys at the start of the year, we just have to deal with it.  

On Marc Savard not attending the ring ceremony or the banner raising...
I guess he just wasn't in the proper frame of mind to come down, you'd have to ask him. I can't answer that. I know he came down for the parade. He's got his issues and his physical and mental problems and if he's not- doesn't feel right to come down, then I respect that.  

On what particular areas he sees the 'Stanley Cup hangover' most...
Well, what I said was, I talked about our chances. We've had more chances and greater chances, we've had better quality chances in the first eight games this year than compared to last year so we're not finishing. To me that's a number of things; it's focus, execution, and compete to stay in, sometimes to get a chance you have to take a hit. To me that's the biggest thing that I'm seeing so it requires adjusting a couple fronts that I have mentioned. I haven't minded our level of compete, I think it could be better and I think once that happens and once the focus comes back I think you're going to see our chances go in. You saw them go in the other night against Toronto but we had a chance in San Jose and our- I thought our level of compete was okay but it wasn't good enough though, because we lost the game. But we did have a chance though so, to me when I see, if I was to see our level of compete with no chances, I'd be a little more worried.  

On if he's seeing any game-in, game-out consistency...
Yeah, well, we've been winning one then losing one and I've seen that and then - but the games have been - I mean, none of the games for me, have been out of hand and to me that says that like we're not far off from getting it back so that's the way I read it.  

On how he feels about the Shawn Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Daniel Paille line and if he's seen improvements throughout the season so far...
We're a team that plays on emotion too and so when I talk about level of compete, to get to the level of compete that will get you wins and will get you the performance that you want, you have to reach that emotional level so we're not there yet. The fourth line is a good example of that. They're a grind line and they rely on emotion and for me, they really haven't shown it up to a certain point. I see it coming around a little bit. The game the other day against San Jose, like I thought we had a chance, and the fourth line, they were okay. I just think we all have to get back to our- the way that we play and I think then it'll come around. On the whole of the last three to four games, I think it's coming, but there are still some ups and downs that are...

On if it has been a challenge for the players to overcome frustration at their performance and if there is a level where the frustration will reach a boiling point...
Yeah, I don't know if I'd call it a boiling point. there is - to go through that quality and those number of chances and not scoring the way we should be, there- obviously there'll be some frustration. And as I've said, you score one of those and the rest of the game is different, you play a different game, there's more momentum so I think it- well if you mean the boiling point we're going to explode, well we had a big night offensively against Toronto but then the next night where we had chances Saturday, I didn't mind our game but we didn't finish. To me , there's still some inconsistency but as I said in a four or five game block, I see us coming around.

On how he feels about Dennis Seidenberg's play, and why he hasn't been paired with Zdeno Chara...
I agree with you. I do feel he's been playing well. I think you've seen and you look in teams you see that pair in back but you can't just have a pair play that number of minutes all year or you won't have them around for quality minutes come playoff time so we have to be- Claude has to be and he has been careful of how he handles those two. But I do agree with you, I believe Seidenberg has been playing well. He's one of those rare D's that can play that off side really well but I haven't minded his game on the left side either.  

On how Joe Corvo is adjusting to the Bruins style of play and his role on the Bruins defense...
Well he's going through a process here, learning our system, so you're asking me when, how patient I am with him, like I feel he's- you look at some of the mistakes that he's made versus some of the real good plays that he's made. To me it's the whole package. I think he'll learn the defensive system. You've heard him talk before about he never really played in zone and it is a tough system to play so I see him making mistakes as a result of that but I've also seen him make some great passes, I've seen him push the puck up well. I think with him is as the confidence comes with the system, the whole package will get better.

On if there is a lack of competition for jobs on the team...
I think the competition for jobs as it applies to us this year, right now, is probably ice time. We've got one extra forward, we have one extra D right now. We've got a Stanley Cup winning team and it's hard to create this competition and I believe that competition is healthy. It's hard to create it. We have roster space, we've got cap space, we can do it. It's hard, intuitively it's hard to meddle and tinker with a Stanley Cup team. I know it requires luck it requires things happening at the right time to win the cup and by no means did we have an incredible regular season last year but I also know what's the make-up of this team so it's just an obstacle that, the main obstacle I think in creating the competition is that you have this team that's won the Stanley Cup. I have to get over that. We do have roster space, we do have the cap space to create competition, we've got some guys pushing in Providence. I'm just not at that point yet.  

On if he thinks the two game stretch with Montreal could be helpful since there's so much motivation to play well against them...
I would hope that that would be the case. Certainly that's come to mind when I look at the schedule. We've got enough games that for whatever reason motivates us, I look at Toronto and you have the whole Kessel thing and what's gone down there and the Chicago they've won the cup before/ We've had some good games that for some reason, there's a reason to be motivated and I would hope that that would be the case against Montreal. They're rivals, we've had some real good games and series with them and all that history last year. There's always a reason to play well against Montreal and I would hope that that happens again in the next two games.

On how he felt the team handled the Max Pacioretty-Chara incident that could have been a huge distraction from the games...
I thought they handled it well. They were both professional and sympathetic to the injury that Pacioretty suffered and they were professional in that they had to deal with it. We had to deal with it in the playoffs and there was a couple of times on and off the ice- and I thought the team did a good job.

On if he thinks Chara is stepping up to take the heat off the team and motivate them...
I actually haven't noticed that but I do see improvements in Zee's play. I haven't seen that, maybe I'm missing it, but I haven't seen kind of a taking the heat off- I haven't really seen much heat for these next two games and maybe it's because there was so much last year and we've got other things, and I've got other things to worry about.  
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