BostonBruins.com -- The Bruins feel as if their core group is capable of another Stanley Cup run and on Tuesday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke about Head Coach Claude Julien's role in Boston's success.
"When we made the commitment to try and keep the core of this team together following our Cup win, we embarked on signing some key players before free agency and we feel that we’ve come a long way to keeping this critical mass together for this team, because I believe it’s a strong team and will continue to be a strong team," said Chiarelli to the gathered press in TD Garden. "One of the core components of this – of this critical mass, is sitting beside me in our coach, Claude Julien.
"As a manager I know when I want to add a player to our mix, I know when I have complete confidence in Claude and his staff in that players will become better," continued Chiarelli, just one day after the B's announced Julien's contract extension. "You can look at the progression of players that we’ve brought into this lineup and has made this team better and it’s a testament to Claude and his staff, so that makes my job a lot easier."
Although Julien has made his bosses' job easier, there's no doubt that being the general manager or head coach of the Boston Bruins is no easy task. But according to Chiarelli, Julien comes to the rink with the right set of tools.
"Over his tenure here he’s shown the ability to adapt," said Chiarelli. "He has a very, very disciplined team – and that’s again a testament to his coaching. Yet at the same time his team is a very tough team, and that’s a very difficult balance to maintain and he’s been able to do that with success.
"Technically he’s one of the best, if not the best coaches in the league," added the B's boss. "A couple years ago we asked him, we needed more team speed. Sometimes it’s hard to just go out and get team speed as a manager and he changed his neutral zone breakout and we had more team speed and that helped us jump start us into winning the Cup.
"I believe we have one of the best breaking out teams in the league - it’s like clockwork and when it’s going it’s a beauty to watch.
"I believe we have one of the best defensive zone coverage’s in the league. And that’s, again, a testament to him," said Chiarelli.
Given the recent free agent signings around the NHL, it's also a testament to Boston's general manager's belief in his club that the B's want to maintain consistency, but not complacency in the B's lineup.
"I want to remind you of one thing," began Chiarelli's explanation of the Bruins patient ways. "We’re keeping this core together. I feel strongly in this core. I feel strongly in Claude. We will continue to improve, and we will continue to look at all facets of our game to improve.
"That’s our mandate, and that’s my mandate and we will continue to do that and we’re happy to have Claude along for the ride.
"I don’t want it to be misconstrued by just keeping the core intact that we’re standing pat," added the GM. "When rivals make moves…I don’t lose sight of that stuff and knowing that these are good teams that are getting better.
"Our foundation, our team right now, is quite good and we got some things that we may do at a later point, we may wait until later this season. We’re not standing still.
"And with the [Shea] Weber thing, the [Rick] Nash thing, those are things that we certainly don’t ignore – we don’t react right away – but we certainly don’t ignore," he said.
Bruins fans certainly can't ignore the other news that Chiarelli brought to the podium - good news.
"Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact and by all accounts from our medical staff will be ready to play when it comes time to play," he said. "Adam McQuaid has been completely cleared.
"[Tyler] Seguin is on his road to recovery in the original time frame and it may be sooner than that. And the same applies for [Anton] Khudobin.
"[Patrice Bergeron] is completely healed," added Chiarelli.
And although the B's remain vigilant, Boston's GM reiterated that his opening night roster will look very familiar.
"There’s a lot of the summer left, there’s a lot of stuff that has to happen on a macro basis too," said Chiarelli. "I guess what I’m saying is, I think anything can happen depending on how things unfold, but there’s a good chance that this will be our roster going into the training camp."