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Press Conference with Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs, Principal Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely, General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Head Coach Claude Julien

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BOSTON BRUINS MEDIA DAY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH BRUINS OWNER JEREMY JACOBS, PRINCIPAL CHARLIE JACOBS, PRESIDENT CAM NEELY, GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI AND HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN
Opening statement…
C. JACOBS: Good Morning everybody. Thank you for coming this morning. We’ll segway into some hockey discussions in a few minutes but I did want to speak a little about what we’ve done and accomplished this summer here at the TD Garden. If you haven’t had a chance to walk around level four and look at what we’ve done here what I’ll term here as phase one of our redevelopment. We’re quite proud of it. We expect it to be an industry standard here—setting the industry standard, if you will, for building all of professional sports. So if you have a moment after this scrum to take a walk around—maybe don’t get too close to the walls because some of the paint might be a little wet still but it all should be complete by tomorrow, tomorrow night. With that I’ll hand it back to Matt [Chmura].

On roster updates…
CHIARELLI: Well we have until five p.m. today, Joe, to submit as final roster. We’ve already done one transaction. We sent David Pastrnak to the American Hockey League, to Providence. What I was talking about before, we’ll have a little more time to watch him and assess him. I spoke with him this morning before practice so he’ll go down and join Providence. That was one. What I can tell you with certainty right now is that both [Ryan] Spooner and [Bobby] Robins are in our group going into the season. We still have some decisions to make. Like I said we have until five. I don’t know what roster comes out through CR [Central Registry] or they may control our website rosters, so the roster you see at five p.m. won’t necessarily be the roster you see tomorrow. We’ve got some—when you’re into the long-term injury exception you have to do some roster manipulation to properly invoke it and maximize it. I can tell you that Spooner and Robins are in the mix now. The other fellas Jordan [Caron] and Cunny [Craig Cunningham] they may be we just have to have a couple more meetings this afternoon.

On Fraser…
CHIARELLI: Oh yes and Fraser.

On Loui Eriksson on the first line…
JULIEN: Well I don’t think we’ve made that decision yet. We haven’t made that decision yet so there still some things we have to look at. Certainly he’s one of the guys we think can be a fit. I think right now we have to give him that opportunity too to get acquainted. It may take some time and we may change our mind. Basically were gonna look at and keep and eye on it closely and see if its worth pursuing or whether we want to move things around, so that decision hasn’t been necessarily made yet.

On Krejci’s injury…
JULIEN: He’s still considered I think minor. We were told originally that it was really a minor injury and we didn’t think much of it. It hasn’t healed as well as we thought it would. As far as tomorrow well have to see how he feels so it’s one of those injuries that could be a questionable one. We’ll have to reassess with our trainers. Again I got off the ice and came right here so I don’t have more details than what I had before our morning skate.

On relationship with the Providence Bruins…
CHIARELLI: I’ll start here. That’s partially the reason we have Butch [Bruce Cassidy]. We’ve instructed Butch and he does it well coach how we have Claude’s system is. The transition is relatively seamless when players come up, forward and or D. It’s just a good working relationship. It’s close which really helps because Butch can come up, players can come up and watch us play. They never think that were too far away and that helps with development. As I said he does a good job with his staff, him and Kevin Dean and Jay Pandolfo is going to help out in a development capacity. They do a good job and you’ve seen our guys come up over the last two, three, four years and become permanent players or just contribute in a meaningful way.
JULIEN: Yeah I think the biggest thing for me is he understands what we’re trying to do here and what’s important is he believes in it. It’s not being forced on him. He likes it and he believes in it. What that does for us is the minute somebody comes up, were not having to spend an hour with him trying to explain the difference between the Providence Bruins and the Boston Bruins. So it’s a seamless transition which really helps us a lot.

On expectations for the upcoming season…
NEELY: Well I usually have high expectations. We had a successful regular season last year as we all know, we fell short of what we wanted to accomplish in the playoffs. I know the guys are hungry. We have a lot of returning players that want to improve upon what we did last year. Based on what I’ve seen and the way they’re talking I think they’re excited about getting the season going but the expectations are high.

On after seeing the preseason, thoughts on the team heading into the regular season…
J. JACOBS: We’re looking at a team that’s not too dissimilar to the one that won the Presidents Cup last year. Expectations are high obviously and I think performance—the fabric of this team has not changed dramatically from last year.

On embracing analytics becoming a league trend and evaluating talent…
CHIARELLI: From the league perspective I know that they’re looking closely at a couple of groups that they want to line themselves with—they may have actually entered an agreement with a group where whether its GPS technology or something they’re gonna have a whole new bucket, sort of speak, or stats and metrics. They’re moving in what I consider the right direction so we’ll have players motion, players location and all that stuff in certain situations. We’ve, this summer, memorialized our stats or analytics department. We’ve always used it, from a hockey ops perspective I know the coaching staff has a pretty good set of metrics that they use after each game and after a number of segments. We’re digging even deeper. I think that there’s a role for it. It’s a piece of information that’s useful. We’ve got a staff that looks at it, we meet every week. We have an exhaust of analytics support following every game and following every two week segment. We feel strongly about it. We’re not hanging our hat on it. It’s an important piece of information. At the end of the day you still have to evaluate, you still have to see the player and look at all the intangibles.

On status on Simon Gagne…
CHIARELLI: He’s gonna stick around and he’s gonna continue to skate with us and travel with us. He’s getting better and we’ll see where it goes in a short period of time. I don’t want to give you everything Amalie. He likes what he’s seeing and certainly a player that if he can get close to what he was before he’ll be a helpful player.

On expectations to rotate bottom defensemen for evaluation…
JULIEN: Well I don’t think I have to experiment. I think all seven of our D’s are D’s that can play. So as far as I’m concerned right now were gonna start with six of them and there is gonna be somebody who’s gonna be a scratch tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes. A lot of the time it’s based on performance so if a guy isn’t going well we’ve got seven guys that we feel can really play on our team on a regular basis; we’ll just have to move them around.

On this season being a last hoorah since the team can’t all be grouped together next year…
CHIARELLI: No, I think that’s—the way I look at it Matt, there’s a number of players entering into the last year of their contract. Maybe it’s a little more than you collectively are accustomed to seeing. For me it gives us an ability to evaluate and make decisions on the fly during the year, but I wouldn’t say it’s the last hoorah. We try to keep, I call the critical mass, of this team together and we will continue, at the same time, trying to pick some of the younger up and coming players in. I don’t think a player likes to be in the last year of their contract but that’s the reality of this right now.

On relationship between number of good players and how much you spend…
CHIARELLI: Yeah I think generally speaking you always have your Kansas City Royals, but I think generally speaking those that spend wisely are gonna be better performers but you could probably go through CapGeek for example and see that halfway through the year and the end of the year that you may have fifteen teams that are at or close to the upper limit and eight of them may be playoff teams. This is the ultimate parody and we see it unfold before us. It’s how you spend your money, why and when. Not my money, Mr. Jacobs and Charlie’s money [laughter].

On importance of keeping this group of strong players together…
J. JACOBS: I think the core that I attempt are the guys on the left and right of me here and it’s their job to keep the players. That’s how I see it. We’ve got a good brain trust that’s leading this team. They’re professional in every way. That’s the important participation at my level. To talk about individual players you’d have to talk to them.

On David Pastrnak’s injury and transition into the American style influence his placement in the AHL…
CHIARELLI: Those were really the two reasons, and he’s 170 [pounds] soaking wet and he’s eighteen [years old]. I thought he played well as the camp went—and when he recovered from his injury and once he got going. He’s got to get better but it’s more about giving him time that he didn’t have for evaluation in camp based on his injury and acclimatized to that North American pro style. It’s an ability we have and an opportunity we have to do it. We thought that we’d put him down there for a bit and see how he does and assess later on.

On assessing Pastrnak meaning moving up to Boston or back to Sweden…
CHIARELLI: Yeah those are two options, third is maybe keep him there.

On team recovery after Boychuk trade and excitement for the season…
JULIEN: Well I think the players are excited to start the season. I think those things at first they sting and then day by day it gets a little bit better. Johnny’s [Boychuk] getting settled in at the other end so he’s gonna be basically getting closer to his new teammates. I guess the separation has been made but our guys have moved on—it doesn’t mean you forget about a friend but we’ve moved on. We know we have a job to do and we have business that’s more important ahead of us so that’s how we feel and I’m the same way. I’m excited about our season to begin. Saw some good things in training camp. A lot of players auditioned for those open spots and were still kind of finalizing that. It was some great competition and again we have an opportunity to have a real exciting and competitive team. What coach wouldn’t be excited about that?

On William Nylander’s move influencing the decision on Pastrnak…
CHIARELLI: The [William] Nylander thing had no bearing on it. It was more a discussion with David a discussion with his agents and what Dan had ask earlier about us not having that full assessment period. That was really that’s the driving force behind it. I don’t want you guys to read too much into it but we liked to see him down there and play some games. It’s a good opportunity to have him on our soil and close by to watch him. In two or three weeks we will look at him and make a decision as to what the next step is. The eighteen year old European player in the American League is not historically—more for acclimatization reasons, it’s hard. It’s hard to say that word [laughter]. Long story short we’ll have a look at him in a short period of time then we’ll have a decision

On the league Pastrnak is coming from…
CHIARELLI: Yeah and he’s in the first division, there’s an elite division. Carl played a lot in that division. It’s a good intermediate step that I have no problem him playing. It’s really just the opportunity to further assess him, that’s what it is.

On Bobby Robins fit on the team…
JULIEN: Well I think there’s a couple things here. I don’t think the fact that the game is evolving and fighting has necessarily disappeared and we know he can handle himself well. But more than that, he’s a guy that in preseason games has given our team some energy. He’s shown that he can still play. He made some good plays. His hands aren’t bad and he finishes all his checks. We talk about being a team that’s hard to play against and want to be a bit more of a physical team, I think he fits that mold really well. I don’t want people thinking the only reason he’s here is that he’s not afraid to drop the gloves. I think there’s a lot more to him and the part I haven’t talked about either is the fact that’s he’s a great individual that’s very well liked already in our dressing room. He’s fit in well.

CHIARELLI: He’s a great story. I don’t know if you’ve spent any time talking to him and the stuff that he does. He’s a real good story. In Providence he was a great fore checker. As Claude said he finished all his checks, he’s a hard player. Third line player there so he’s got some skill. As far as the trend that fighting is disappearing, I know I made a comment at the end of the year about that trend and the speed of that trend or when that actually happens, I don’t know it may be past my time. It’s a hard game to play and you need those players that can finish checks and fend for themselves. He’s—all month right through this camp he’s shown that he’s belonged and it’s a great story.

On recent sports business transactions impacting the value of the franchise, and extension of TV rights…
J. JACOBS: They’re both good signs and if you’re in the mood to sell its meaningful. It doesn’t affect us at that point. This is a very healthy franchise in a terrific city.  It’s always been very valuable to me and I think it will continue to be. The TV rights is important because it shows how the sport is being respected, how it’s being watched in this country and in Canada being a big part of what you mentioned. I think all of our fellow owners are happy to see it, and I know our players are happy to see it because they get half of it. Its evolutionary I think right now. I see what happened in L.A. as being an anomaly not necessarily being something that you can anticipate can happen over and over again. But we just saw the Buffalo Bills selling for a record amount so you see people seem to like the sports from an investment standpoint.

On opportunity for defensemen in the new open spot…
JULIEN: To be honest, not really. I don’t think I have to do that. I think they’re smart enough to see that there’s one less guy in the lineup, or on defense. There are seven guys and all of them are NHL regulars so basically it’s a matter of them getting into that lineup and hanging onto it. I don’t think there much I have to explain to them. Most of them are at least in their second or more seasons with our hockey club so it’s not like it’s something new for the players. They’ve all been regulars with injuries to [Dennis] Seidenberg last year and [Adam] McQuaid those guys are regulars. So right now all it does is give that, what I call every time, healthy competition. There’s seven guys that we feel that extremely confident during the lineup that were in good shape.

On Chara’s minutes as he goes into later seasons in his career…
JULIEN: We’ll see. I know certainly I’m not going to say anything about minutes because, you’re right, you guys got carried away with it and wouldn’t let go of it. I didn’t say anything this year purposely and like I said seven guys that are experienced defensemen, we’re just gonna see where it goes and how much we need him. There’s some pretty good defensemen in our hockey club besides Zdeno Chara so it’s an opportunity for us to make sure we manage the ice time of every defenseman properly so I’ll leave it at that so you can run with that one.

On how Spooner responded to messages throughout camp…
JULIEN: I think he’s responded well and it’s not just messages, it’s what we’ve tried to get him to improve in certain areas. I think he did a great job this summer of coming into camp in really good shape. I think that the biggest thing was he didn’t have a great camp and he’s one of a few guys that they weren’t bad but they didn’t have the camp we thought they would have with those open opportunities. But he did come back and played those last two games and played well. That’s why we have him on our team. We like him a lot. I don’t want people to get confused with him being in Providence thinking “they have no time for him” we like him a lot. He’s an exciting player, he’s got good speed and he’s got a lot of things but we all know that in this league if you’re a liability it’s hard for any coach in this league to be able to have confidence in putting him on the ice. Sometimes you have to learn your trade in the minors when you don’t get it. Right now I think he’s got it. How much he can have of it and if he can hold onto it, were gonna have a great player. He has great potential but again, there comes a time where it’s in his court and he’s gotta take advantage of it and we’re giving him that opportunity right now.

On what Claude Julien has meant to this team…
J. JACOBS: He’s been—how many years back? Eight years. He’s new here [laughter]. He’s been the best – it’s been the best experience I’ve seen from the Bruins. I think he’s a terrific coach and we totally support him. He’s been here and he’ll be around for quite a while. I think he’s the maximum confidence I can show. Again, that’s Peter’s role. I don’t want to undermine him.
JULIEN: I’d like you guys to run with that one [laughter].

On this year’s roster compared to the 2010-11 Cup winning team…
CHIARELLI: All these rosters blend into one. Four years ago we made a couple trades in the summer prior to that year so there were some new players. We made a couple of trades in February of that year. So going in we lost to Philadelphia—there was optimism Kevin, there was like we had a certain chance to win. It was like ‘were a good team I hope we get through what we just got through the previous spring’. We’ve got some good players. Our goalie’s coming into his own, meaning Tuukka [Rask] was coming into his own and Tim [Thomas] was there still, I’m mixing up my rosters here. General optimism this year is this year we’ve got some younger players that are not knocking at the door. There’s been some roster unraveling a little bit. We still have the core. I would say the same—like I don’t want to say guarded optimism, there’s optimism. We’ve got a chance to win. We got a really good goalie. I try to look a month ahead so for a month I feel pretty good.

#10/07/14#
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