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Transcript: 06.29 Peter Chiarelli Press Conference Re: Rask, Khokhlachev

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Quotes - 2012 Develompent Camp

June 29

BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER PETER CHIARELLI AT 12:00 P.M.

Peter Chiarelli opening statement…
The reason for me speaking today is to announce the agreement in principle on terms for Tuukka Rask. And again, the agreement in principle simply means that we can’t register this contract until Sunday., but we’ve agreed to him on terms on a one-year contract worth three and a half million.

On whether or not the Bruins considered a long-term deal…
Not really, I think – and again you’d have to ask Tuukka [Rask] but he wants to prove that he’s the number one goalie for the Bruins for a long time. So this was the easiest way to set the stage for that and Tuukka’s been a really good goalie for us, but for one year he hasn’t been the number one goalie and the stage is set for him and we’ll see where it takes us. But really as far as the negotiation, there was discussions - there were comparable players. And then of course you saw the succession of signings and what not. So it was fairly straight forward.

On if either side considered the Collective Bargaining Agreement…
Not really. I know I saw some reports about that. I think that’s a risk that both sides were willing to take. In the ideal world, this is a contract that we look to extend come January. So if he’s a UFA come next year then we’ll just have to deal with it practically but that really didn’t come into play.

On if he will proactive in dealing with the contracts coming up next year…
I mean there’s seven or eight players every year. I think that’s kind of a healthy cycle to go through and while we have some players on longer terms, I don’t mind having a cluster of players that we have to make decisions on. You saw us this year with – with the [Rich] Peverley’s, the [Johnny] Boychuk’s – they’re all gonna be unrestricted – the Peverley’s the Boychuk’s, [Chris] Kelly’s, [Gregory] Campbell’s, so I mean it’s – you’d like to stagger everyone perfectly, and I think we do a pretty good job of it so we’ll have a bunch of RFA’s to look at and we’ll deal with them appropriately. So it would be nice to know what the new system will be and I think at that point, we will.

On if he is surprised about other contracts being signed in the league, given the labor uncertainty…

Those are two contracts…Ask me that question on Sunday. But you know, as general managers, we all try to be proactive, we all try and project we all try and get ahead of it so that’s what you’re seeing and every year, I’m asked the same question, ‘Am I surprised at the enormity of the numbers?’ It’s just - players get better and they deserve to earn more. Now in the bigger scheme of things, it’s something - obviously we’re at the end of our CBA and that has to be dealt with - but nothing surprises me anymore.

On if would ever take CBA assumptions into account, or if he follows the current CBA…
Well, if you look at our committed contracts, our cap number, I mean, that’s where you would make that assumption, I would understand that. Believe it or not, I’m trying to be cautious and trying to keep the team together. So I like the flexibility we have going forward. Whether it’s these RFA’s, these contracts that are expiring, whether it’s the young guys coming up that may be good replacement players, whether it’s specifically on Tim Thomas’ deal – his deal will be expiring. So I actually like that flexibility but I try and be cautious - I’m trying to operate under that number; I’m a shade under it now. And keeping the team together is a priority and then if for whatever reason the cap goes down a significant number, then we have to deal with it and we feel that we have very good players that if we have to move players around, then we can do that. I would hope that we don’t do that, but short answer is yes, I’m trying to be cautious, stay under that number.

On if he likes the shorter deals and one-year contracts…
You know, I don’t mind having contracts expire. Then we make decisions on players they want to prove to me – to us – that they want to stay. So whether it’s one year deals or two-year deals, I don’t mind shorter deals. We’ve obviously given longer deals too but to Tuukka’s credit too, he wanted this done and he wanted to prove to me - and he told me he wanted to prove to me - and he could have went out and tried to do arb [arbitration] and test the free agency and he’s not. I mean, he wants to be a member of the Boston Bruins for a long time and I like to hear that. I know you hear that often when you sign guys and all that, but having Tuukka throughout when he’s been here, he’s started here and he’s been patient and he’s worked – he’s worked in Providence and he’s worked as a backup – he’s following the steps. And I like that and I like that he wants to prove to me that he’s a number one goalie.

On what his gut tells him about Sunday’s start of free agency…
My gut is telling me that we’ll be quiet, that’s my gut. Now if you look at as to how we’ve built our team over the years - but for my first year - we really maybe – when we signed Ryder – we haven’t really gone out and hit a couple home runs on July 1. And I said this earlier – maybe I look at the trade market after the July 1 – but my gut is I’ll probably be quiet.

On if the Rask signing would discourage Tim Thomas from coming back…
I don’t know.I don’t know where Tim is – he has told me what I’ve told you – and I don’t anticipate that will change.

On if from his perspective, he’s telling Thomas to 'forget coming back”…

No, no - certainly not. But I mean Tim couldn’t have been more clear in conveying to me what his plans were, so I have to operate under those assumptions.

On the two variables that could have come into play for Tuukka after July 1 and if they did come into play…
I don’t think so, I mean, we’ve all been following kind of the goalie carousel here in the last little bit but I don’t think so. I mean, I guess someone could have given him an offer sheet – we would have matched and they would have – there’s certain ways to present an offer sheet. But there’s certainly there was no indication to me - generally you have a sense from other teams if that’s going to happen, but there was absolutely no indication to me that that was on the horizon. So he could have went to free agency – he could have arb’d [went to arbitration] we could have arb’d. But I think what you have to take away from this is that Tuukka wanted to get something in place and he wanted to prove to me that he’s number one and he wanted it done so that’s what I’d take away from it.

On what constituted the proof that Rask “wanted to prove that he’s number one”…
Well, you know, obviously his performance, his durability, and I’ve seen snippets of it – we saw it for a large portion of that one year. He’s coming back earlier to train. You know, I guess the proof is in the pudding at the end of the day. But he’s shown to me that – you know, the 3.5 million isn’t chump change – so he’s shown to me that he’s ready to take that next step.

On how big of a question that durability is…
Well I think you saw it when we went for the run for the Cup, you saw it this last year. I mean there’s a lot of banging and crashing. So you play a large number of games, and I think we’ve shown that we can manage the games for our goaltenders and we will continue to do that. But as you approach the season or the postseason, you have to be relatively fresh and you have to be relatively strong. So you get bounced around in the crease all year and you play a large number of games, you’ve got to have a strong mental and physical makeup, because it’s a grind and of course the pounding can be hard too. So, you know, I saw some fatigue in his game a few years ago in the playoffs and I think Tuukka would admit that. So I mean that’s both experience, conditioning, and just maturing.

On Rask’s mental makeup stepping into the pressure of a number one goalie, especially under a one-year contract…
Well I mean, again it’s a testament to Tuukka that he’s willing to do it for one year. I mean he’s a calm, poised goaltender who you see little bits of the fiery temper here and there, and I don’t mind that, but generally speaking he’s a goalie who is composed, who is technically very good, and athletic at the same time. And I don’t have any reasons to think that he’s not going to emerge as the number one and for years to come. I don’t really have any concerns about it. We tried earlier on, like way earlier on in the year, and it really never reached passed the initial stages about trying to extend him out. And he took the same stance then, which I respect.

Statement on the status of Alexander Khokhlachev…

So, in the same way like the July 1 is a magical day, I guess because we can register his contract on July 1 too. So we’ve come to terms with Khokhlachev also. Because of his injury, he won’t be taking any contact – you saw he hasn’t been participating in any contact drills out here – for another probably seven to eight weeks. He’s on the way to becoming fully healed. And the plan is now for him to play in Russia, and he’ll attend our camp, and then he’ll go back and play for the Russian team his father is the manager there, and then after one year, he’s under our purview and he wants to be an NHL player and he’s making strides towards that.

On whether he’ll have more opportunity for development in the KHL as opposed to another year in Windsor with the Spitfires…

You know, I mean that’s a loaded question and I mean if you have an hour, I can go through all the positives and negatives of both. What we decided with Koko was that it’s a unique set of circumstances with his dad being the manager there, and saying look it’s one year and then back to North America, and he felt it was right for him and at the end of the day, you know, we went along with him on this so we’re going to support him on it.

On when the contract will start…
It would start when he plays over in North America professionally.
On whether Development Camp will affect his free agency plans…
Not really, I mean if you’re alluding to Dougie Hamilton – is that who you’d be alluding to? [Any of the players here.] Well it’s too early for most of these players to really be an integral part of our team. I think I’ve been clear over the last little bit that Dougie Hamilton is really close. So I’m going to get him an opportunity along with some other players – we saw Torey Krug play – and I’m going to give them an opportunity to make the team. But no, generally speaking no, it has no impact on our free agency plans.

On whether the younger guys will be hard pressed to break onto the roster given the amount of older players that will be returning…
That’s accurate if you look at our forwards and, you know, Jordan [Caron] of course is still under a two-way contract but the rest of them either need waivers or are on one-way contracts, so yeah it’s going to be hard for them. What we told them going into this camp is that, you know, you’re going to have an opportunity to make the team. There’s obviously some that are more likely than others to have that opportunity, but you know what we’ve done in the past and what we will do in the future is that if they knock our socks off we will find room for them. But I mean, generally speaking, this group will go back to their respective teams or Providence and, you know, continue to develop.

On which forwards are ahead of the rest…
Well, just based on turning pro and where their contracts sit, I mean you look at – I know I’m going to miss some here – but I mean, [Ryan] Spooner and [Jared] Knight are those that are kind of turning pro and they’re leaving their junior teams and they’ve had some time in Providence and those are the two that I would think would challenge. We’ve got a couple of them – [Justin] Florek signed at the end of the year – but I would say Spooner and Knight are those two that probably stand out right now as far as where they are really just chronologically in their careers.

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