Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, June 16, 2009 in Boston. Chiarelli received a four-year extension to the one year remaining on his original four-year deal after what he and the team said were smooth negotiations. (AP Photo/Eric Shelton)
BOSTON, MA -- "He's a hot commodity," said Peter Chiarelli. "He's a big guy who will take the man. He's got a nice shot, and he's always been a solid defenseman."
No, that wasn’t the B’s newly resigned general manager talking about his next blueline acquisition. It was actually Peter Chiarelli, captain of the Harvard ice hockey team, talking one of his teammates up to the school newspaper during exam break back in 1987.
And it’s a good bet that the collegiate version of Chiarelli might have laughed you out of Pinocchio’s Pizza had you said that twenty years hence he would be in the middle of his first season running the Black & Gold and that two seasons later he would be signing a lengthy extension.
However, that is exactly what happened to the former Crimson forward, on Monday.
“I’m very happy to remain in Boston and to work for the Boston Bruins,” said Chiarelli on Tuesday during the press conference announcing his re-signing. “It’s a happy day for me and my family and once again I’d like to thank Charlie and Mr. Jacobs.”
It’s a happy day for Bruins fans, too. Thanks in large part to Chiarelli and his management team, the Black & Gold faithful are enjoying an ice-bound renaissance.
“It’s a special day for us here at the Boston Bruins as an organization,” said Charlie Jacobs, Bruins Principal, and the man who re-introduced the B’s general manager to the Boston hockey media. “He’s going to be serving the last year of his initial deal, which he signed back three years ago, so in truth he’s got 5 years under employment [in] stewardship of the organization.”
Jacobs ensured the assembled reporters that the negations were not “protracted.”
“These negotiations was very easygoing,” he said. “And I think by in large that was due to the fact that…we wanted Peter to return to his post and hopefully extend his deal.
“But it also spoke to the fact too that the mindset that Peter had -- that this was a place that he and his family would continue to thrive.
“We were in a similar place,” said Jacobs.
“I love the city, and as Charlie said it’s a great place to bring up a family and that’s important to me,” said Chiarelli.
“And the organization is something I want to be part of [and] I don’t want to be jumping around, I mean hockey is a tough [enough] sport.
“You see it amongst players and coaches and now I think you’ll see it probably amongst GM’s that there’s going to be people jumping from job to job and that’s something I don’t want to do,
“Nothing is guaranteed in life but I’m very happy to be here and I want to be here for a long time,” he said.
As for the timing of the signing, Jacobs explained there were two reasons.
“One we didn’t want Peter entering the final year of his contract with that lame duck status,” he explained. “And two,,.knowing that important signings from both the coaching staff and the front office personnel need to be re-upped, and as they were coterminous with Peter’s contract, we wanted to send the right message [from] ownership to that front office staff that we supported them.”
And now, it’s time to get back to work.
“I’m going to sit down with Claude [Julien] and we’ll get something done shortly,” said Chiarelli of his Jack Adams-nominated head coach.
And there are the Bruins restricted and unrestricted free agents to think about, too. As per his usual, Chiarelli did not address any of those options directly (“I don’t comment on negotiations”), but he did talk about how he might go about making the big decisions this summer.
“I think that you throw all those scenarios into a pot and you try and work your way through it,” said the B’s GM. “To think that you want to do X, Y and Z done before you go into free agency -- I think you have to be careful if you want to do that because it doesn’t always work out that way sometimes.
“[I’ve] said I wanted to explore free agency, I think any GM would want to do that to see what other options are out there. So in the course of the off season, I think starting July 1, you have the ability to go 10% over the cap so you’ve got some flexibility there as far as if you want to add something before subtracting.
“So that’s kind of the approach I want to take,” he said.
That’s not all that shocking, as the GM has earned a reputation for being pragmatic and his controlled, almost mathematic approach has served him well.
“I’ve always been patient and I’ve always recognized that to the best of your ability you want to utilize timing in doing things,” he said. “I’ve been better at balancing those two things, because if you think about it timing is the ability to act quickly on the spot and patience is the ability to wait.
“So I think just through experience you’re able to balance those two things better [and] I think those are the two key things that you have to be good at.”
That’s especially so if you are the GM of the Boston Bruins.