Peter Chiarelli Opening statement… Obviously we would like to announce the signing of Dan [Paille] to a three-year contract. The contract is worth 1.3 million dollars in each year. Since we acquired Dan in a trade I really feel our penalty killing and our team speed has improved, and Dan played a large part in helping those areas. He’s a terrific penalty killer. He’s a smart player when he kills penalties. He’s a tremendous skater and he uses that to be a real good penalty kill specialist. But having said that, he also can play up the lineup. I think we haven’t seen that yet. In my mind he’s still a young player, and I think he’s still learning things. We’ve seen some players learn in their later 20s, and I believe Dan is that type of player. So he’ll be with us at the next three years, at the very least. He’s 28-years-old, and I still feel he’s a young player and he’s been part of that group that won a Stanley Cup and I’m excited to have him back.
Daniel Paille Opening statement… I mean obviously I want to start off by saying thank you to Peter [Chiarelli], and the Jacobs family, and the Bruins organization for giving me the opportunity to play at least three more seasons with the Bruins. You know, I felt that I’ve learned a lot in the last three seasons prior. And you know, I think what Peter and the coaching staff allow me to do is grow as a player and show a lot of positive things for myself as a player to improve on, so I can play not just for myself and the team but for them as well. They make it a lot easier for us as players to work hard for them every night.
On the B’s habit of acquiring players with a lot of upside, and on Paille’s abilities taking him beyond his current role... Peter Chiarelli Well I think at the very least – at the very very least – we’re going to get what we’ve been getting and I’d be very happy with that. I talked about those areas of his game. But I think he can play up the lineup, and he knows this organization he knows the coaching staff well enough to know what needs to be done, but he’s got the speed and he’s got the other elements of his game that would allow him to play up the lineup. And to know that he can do that on an intermittent basis is great, but I think I’ve seen guys improve and hit a certain point in their game later in their career. And to me if you’re 28, really you’ve still got a lot of good years left. If it happens it’s great and I think Dan wants to make it happen, but if at the very least he’s doing what he’s doing I’d be very excited with that also.
On Chris Bourque’s ability to help the Bruins prospects in Providence get the playoff experience that they missed this past season… Peter Chiarelli I think that wasn’t the real intention of getting Chris. I told him today that I think he’s got a good chance of making our team. I told him basically that he’s just not there to go to Providence. Now, if he does go to Providence that would be great. But I think the fact that we gave him a one-way deal and the second year of that deal speaks to how we feel about Chris. So, he’s got a couple of areas to work on. I talked to him today about it and he’s very keen and I’m happy to have him in the organization. Obviously, his dad was huge for our organization, but Chris has got his real positive traits and parts of his game that we’ll all be happy to see in a Bruins uniform.
On Bourque’s ability to play on the B’s top lines when he does break the Boston lineup… Peter Chiarelli Well he does have those attributes – he does have the ability to shoot to find seams, but he also has a great element to his game where that if he has to play lower down the line that he can do that. I told him, that among other things, that he’ll need like another quarter step to maintain it at this level, and if he gets that – and I think he will, again he’s another guy who’s relatively young, that he’ll be able to play at this level on a regular basis.
On what improvements to his game Paille looks to make during the term of new current contract… Daniel Paille For me, you know, I think it’s definitely coupled with what Peter said for me, and as a player we tend to want to improve every year and I mean that’s my goal. For me there’s certain aspects of my game that I need to work on, and you know I plan on doing that. But the big picture, obviously, I feel that I have a big role here, but I definitely want to try to make a bigger role. Whether it’s playing on the same line where I am now, or moving up, either way I’m happy. But I definitely feel that I have a lot more to give and I feel like I’m coming into my prime, and I think that’s a big confidence booster for me going into the future.
On which players had the same late development path in their careers… Peter Chiarelli We have four of them on our team. We’ve got [Johnny] Boychuk, [Rich] Peverley, [Dennis] Seidenberg, and [Tim] Thomas and I may have missed some. All those guys, maybe Johnny a little earlier than Dan, but you know I’ve thought have really brought their game on a level; raised their game to a level where the experience and the way that they play have made them better at a later age.
On the whether there’s any progress with the other Bruins free agents... Peter Chiarelli Again, I don’t comment on negotiations, but as I’ve said before we’re trying to sign the bulk of them and will continue to do that. But I’m not going to comment specifically.
On how the Bruins approach negotiations given the uncertainty of the expiring CBA… Peter Chiarelli Well, you have to have an element of caution to your moves, just because there is uncertainty after this deal expires. What the cap will be for this summer really doesn’t play a whole heck of a lot into how we make our decisions. You pretty much can read the tea leaves as to what the cap would have been, so it’s no surprise where it’s at. So proceeding with caution, and having said that, if something falls into our lap and we have to get to a point where we’re past that [garbled] point then we’ll look at it. But we are generally proceeding with caution.
On the reports of Tim Thomas possibly sitting out next season… Peter Chiarelli Yeah. Tim has came to me towards the beginning, middle of May through his agent and has said that he is seriously considering taking the year off. The reasons why, I’m not exactly sure, but he did give some reasons regarding the family, which obviously I respect; his family - spend more time with his family. So as of right now I’m operating under the premise that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be taking the year off and we’d have to go about our business without Tim Thomas for the year. Now, what I can tell you about some of the logistics and the details surrounding what would happen if, come the start of the year, if he wasn’t playing I would have to suspend him. His cap number would still be on the cap. I read something today that it wouldn’t be - it would still be on the cap. We would have relief through [Marc] Savard being on the cap, so it would be almost a wash that way, but he would still be on the cap. And that’s the way we’d proceed with the year. I know there’s been some players who’ve had long stretches in their careers, and then including some long playoff years – and when they come to the end of their deals -- and I think of [Scott] Niedermayer, I think of [Nicklas] Lidstrom over the years, [Teemu] Selanne -- where they take some time to decide if they want to play again. Even Niedermayer, I believe, was still under contract. These things come up and these things happen and this is what’s happening with Tim right now. And we have to deal with it and we will.
On whether Thomas has given him any indication on when he’ll make a final decision… Peter Chiarelli No. I almost have to operate under the premise as if he isn’t coming back. I’ve had some discussions with Tim and he’s told me that he wants to play in the Olympics the following year, so I’ll have some more discussions with him later on. We’ve got two very capable goalies in Tuukka [Rask] and [Anton] Khudobin. So I’d be more than satisfied if that’s who we have to go with.
On whether Thomas has said anything about the future after next season… Peter Chiarelli Besides the Olympics, no. He did say; what I can tell you is that he’s not going to comment on it. He may post something at some point on his Facebook. Beyond that – that’s what I can tell you.
On if the Bruins are considering looking for a veteran goalie outside of the organization… Peter Chiarelli No, as I said in my previous comment, I’d be more than satisfied with Tuukka and Khudobin as our goaltenders.
On Niklas Svedberg and Adam Morrison and where they fit in next season… Peter Chiarelli Svedberg is a goalie who is 23. He played for Brynas [IF Gavle of the Swedish Elite League] and they won the championship. He’s a real good prospect. If Tim isn’t in the mix you’ve got three gold goalies down there between [Michael] Hutchinson, Svedberg, and Morrison that are going to be battling. Svedberg – I was pretty happy to sign him, as I was with Adam Morrison. But Svedberg’s a little bit older and accomplished a little bit more. They’re all big bodies, which is nice to have in a goaltending pipeline. That’s kind of what your depth chart would look like going into next year.
On whether Svedberg is coming over and will be at development camp… Peter Chiarelli Oh yeah. He’s definitely coming over, and the plan is for him to be at development camp.
On if Tim Thomas’ no movement clause expires after July 1st are there any transactions that the Bruins would consider… Peter Chiarelli That would be something we’d look at. Sure, that would be something we’d look at. You do have that flexibility and there is the element of teams trying to reach the floor - salary floor- and I don’t know what that will be in the next deal, so there’s a little bit of uncertainty there, too. So, yeah that would be something that we would look at.
On when Chiarelli learned about Tim Thomas taking a season off and if he was surprised… Peter Chiarelli Yeah – yeah there was. But, I respect what he’s trying to do and if he wants to spend more time with his family, I respect that too. But I was surprised originally.
On whether the Thomas situation is coincidental with his trade clause expiring July 1st… Daniel Paille I’m not quite sure what Timmy’s plans are, but I mean to my knowledge, I think he’s thinking about his family and I think that’s more important for him to think about than I’d say the political aspect of it. For me, I think he cared deeply about his family and that’s what he’s focusing more I think above everything else.
Peter Chiarelli I don’t think so. I remember one of the things that he told me after the year before when we met, that he was really tired. We exit meetings after we won the Cup and he was really tired, and that was another thing he had said to me after this exit meetings, that he definitely was worn down a bit. I just think with all the stuff that’s gone on in the last couple years with playing and all the other appearances and kind of the fame that goes with winning, I think he’s a little worn down. So, I don’t think that would be the case then that it’s coincidental with the deadline, because he says he still wants to play after that, he wants to be in the Olympics.
On how this effects Thomas’ trade value… Peter Chiarelli I don’t know. Obviously, it diminishes any leverage that you have or some leverage that you have, but I’ll tell you what, he’s a world-class goalie, so he’d help somebody in a big way if he decided to play.
On if Chiarelli has thought through the logistics of a possible Thomas suspension… Peter Chiarelli Yeah I have, and there’s probably the ability for me to do it for the whole year right from the get-go. I don’t know if I would do that or not, but based on an arbitration I went through with [Alexei] Yashin and then some other precedents, I would probably be able to do that from the get-go. I don’t know if I would do it. You’d certainly want some certainty when you’re making decisions, so that’d be why I would do it. In addition, I would be able to toll the contract, which would mean I would acquire the same terms of service in the subsequent year. Again, these are just things that I’m able to do.
On whether the team would still own the rights to Thomas if his contract is tolled… Peter Chiarelli That’s what tolling means. When I say, ‘I can toll it’ that means that I would have that ability to decide if I wanted the contract to expire or if it to go for another year.
On whether Thomas’ cap number stays on for the 2012-13 season… Peter Chiarelli Yes.
On whether Thomas’ cap number stays on for 2013-14 season… Peter Chiarelli Yes. It would be the same terms. It would be the same contract for another year. So I have the ability to do that and when I choose to do it - up for debate a little bit, but I could do it at the eleventh hour. Again, these are just tools that I can use - I’m not saying I would do that. It’s just; these are things that I can do.
On whether Thomas is seeking a contract extension… Peter Chiarelli No. And I asked [agent] Bill [Zito] that question and no, no. That’s to an earlier point about if it’s coincidental about the trade deadline. No, I don’t think there’s anything mischievous from his point about this. I really felt that it was what he said. Again, I’ve seen this stuff happen with players who may be not as definitive as Tim. But after a long couple years at this particular point in their career, they’re like, ‘I’ve got to take some time before I decide I’m coming back.’ Tim has pretty much said that he’s not, but people change their minds also.
On whether Chiarelli has made decisions on any of the Bruins free agents, in terms of not pursuing them… Peter Chiarelli Yes. Joe Corvo. Besides that, with kind of the three guys we acquired at the deadline, I’ve said, ‘Let’s go into the free agency and see where it goes.’ Really, there hasn’t been any commitment or anything, but I haven’t dismissed it I guess is my point.
Peter Chiarelli On whether Corvo is the only player dismissed by the B’s thus far… Yes.
On Chiarelli’s thinking regarding not re-signing Corvo… Peter Chiarelli That we’ve got some young players coming and there may be another player that we feel could fill that spot better. A number of different things.
On if he expects a final decision from Thomas concerning coming back… Peter Chiarelli I haven’t had that discussion with Tim yet. The approach that I’ve been taking is that he’s told me this. When someone says, ‘seriously considering’ it’s like ‘whoa, he’s probably going to do it.’ Looking at the circumstances of his last couple years and what he’s told me about [being] tired and his family, give him some time and maybe touch base with him at some point just before July 1. We’re not seriously cramped from the cap perspective. As I said, we’ve got Marc Savard on LTI (Long-term injured reserve), so he’s at four, Tim’s at five so do the math, maybe you’re a million short, so we’re not seriously disabled there. So, it’s something that I’ll approach delicately with Tim.
On the effect a year off would have on Tim Thomas’ play… Peter Chiarelli Well, I mean it depends on the person. We had, if you look at my experience, we had Yashin miss a year. He was obviously younger than Tim, in Ottawa. We had [Dominik] Hasek - I believe Hasek missed a year and he might have been the same age as Tim. So, I mean, it depends on the athlete. I would think just at first blush it would be hard for a 38-year-old to not play and to come back. I would think that.
On if Chiarelli, despite respecting Thomas’ decision, felt disappointment at the prospect of a goaltender in the prime of his career, taking the season off given the cap and the Bruins strength in goal… Peter Chiarelli Yeah, a little disappointed. A little more than a little, I’m disappointed. But these things happen and you have to roll with them and you have to deal with them. When someone talks about their family and stuff, you have to respect that. That’s really all I can say on it. You have to deal with it. I don’t think we’re too disabled, if any, on the cap side. Sure, that was a strength of our team and this happens as years progress. Players take over certain roles and that’s what would happen here.