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Conference Call with the Season Ticket Holders

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- On Tuesday, March 22, prior to the Boston Bruins game versus the New Jersey Devils, B's General Manager Peter Chiarelli held a private teleconference with nearly 1000 of the team's season ticket holders.


Chiarelli
Former Boston Bruins defenseman Bob Beers, 98.5 The Sports Hub's color analyst for the Black & Gold's radio broadcasts, moderated the informative hour-long fan forum.

The questions from the Bruins season ticket holders' ran the gamut.

For example, Scott, from Boston's Back Bay, asked about Tyler Seguin's development and the young forward's getting some time on the power play.

"The other night in Toronto, he was on that second unit, on the half-wall," said Chiarelli. "He has been on the second unit in the last two practices.

"He’s done a good job these last two days," added the GM. "I agree with you, he’s coming that last little bit.

"He’s been diligent in sticking to the program we’ve given him as far as areas of the game where we want him to get better at.

"You can’t teach his skill. You can’t teach his hands. You can’t teach his shot. So you’ll see him on the second unit, he’s going to get a real good chance," he said.  

Tim, from Weymouth, queried Chiarelli about head shots.

"In the recent general managers meeting, we talked about what is called the three-hundred sixty degree head shot rule. Which is effectively what you’re pointing out there -- no head shots -- on the blindside, east/west, north/south, anywhere.

"I think where we are cautious as a group of managers, and I’m in that group is that shoulder-to-shoulder hit where it glances off the chin. That would fall within your rule of a head shot.

"You like a physical game, right?" asked Chiarelli. "We’re just trying to find a balance here.

"Last week, we put in...what I feel a real significant five-point plan, including a new revised concussion protocol and including an increasing of the standards of the suspension threshold for head shots.

"So I guess what I’m saying is in the ideal world, yes, you get rid of all headshots, but you want to maintain the physical integrity of the game and that’s what we’re trying to do as managers," he said.  

Another season ticket holder, George, asked about the B's possibly putting defenseman Zdeno Chara in front of the net on the power play.

"Yeah, we have had discussions on that," said Chiarelli. "I know you haven’t seen it -- actually I don’t think we’ve done it at all this year -- I know we did it a bit last year.

"He’s got the long range, he can collect those rebounds of off each post. Obviously, we’re struggling with our power play and we have discussed that.

"One of the things that we feel we have to improve on our power play are those plays, kind of those kick out plays down low that are off the post. And we feel that...some of those plays start with a good shot and a rebound.

"So that’s where Zee’s strength is, also is in his shot. But having said that we’re looking at a lot of different possibilities," said Chiarelli.

Other notable moments occurred when Chiarelli updated Kevin, from Newmarket, NH, on injured center Marc Savard and John, from Stoneham, on the status of Shane Hnidy.

"He actually has been in town the last day," said Chiarelli of Savard. "He still has recurring symptoms -- the headaches, a bit of the dizziness.

"I think in general he’s feeling better, but he still has these symptoms on a daily basis. As far as the depression goes, he hasn’t had any symptoms of that.

"So he’s improving, but this is a real slow, and obviously a delicate matter and I can’t give you anything more than that right now," he said.

Of Hnidy, Chiarelli explained, "Right now, I see him as depth.

"He’s going to get some games in the final stretch and we’ll see how he plays.

"He plays a gritty game and we had to get him up to speed as far as his...injury.

"I think we’re going to to end up activating him in the next couple of days," he said.  

Lynn, from Wilmington, Mass. was just one of the season ticket holders who talked about extending player contracts.

"We haven’t entered into any contract extension [discussion] with anyone at this time," said Chiarelli."When we acquired [Tomas] Kaberle, we talked a little bit upon acquiring him, but that’s been it in general."

Finally, in light of the higly publicized Chara hit on Max Pachioretty, Chiarelli talked about Thursday's upcoming match-up with the Montreal Canadiens after a question from Tom of Lynn, Mass.

"I expect a hard game," said Chiarelli. "Obviously, it’s an intense rivalry.

"I think there will be a lot of excitement. I think there will be hitting. I’ve seen the injured player Pacioretty [in interviews where] he said he thinks it was a hockey play and shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted. So I think there’s a lot of water under the bridge there.

"[But] there’s still some water out there to throw on this game, just because of the rivalry. And it looks like we’re tracking to play  these guys one way or the other in the first round," he said.

The fans questions may have been varied, but there was a clear and consistent current of intensity throughout the free flow question and answers session and that passion was recognized by and Chiarelli following the session.

"These are our fans and our season ticket holders, so what they say means a lot to us," he said before he added, "It just goes to show you how knowledgeable the fans are.

"You know, when you're talking about technical aspects of the power play or your neutral zone -- I mean, they're very knowledgeable and I recognize that, so it didn't surprise me to get questions like that."

Chiarelli also acknowledged a certain amount of satisfaction in his ability to speak directly to the fans

"Yeah, I mean I'm not always sure that my answers completely satisfy their questions," he said.  "But, you know, they have to recognize that we see the areas that are deficient and we see the areas that are proficient and we try to address those.

"Hopefully my answers help them see that a little more clearly."

However, there's one thing that is very clear and is reinforced for Chiarelli through events like the conference call.

"Well, the fandom is certainly proficient, let's say that," answered Chiarelli with a chuckle. "And they keep us on our toes and rightfully so."
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Hannah Becker contributed to this report.
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