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Transcript: 09.11 GM Peter Chiarelli and Tyler Seguin Conference Call, Re: Contract Extension

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Quotes


September 11

Peter Chiarelli opening statement…
We’re happy to announce today the signing of Tyler Seguin to a six-year extension, average value of the contract is $5.75 million per year. We’re very happy that we’ve got a commitment from Tyler, we’re obviously prepared to commit to him. He’s a young, exciting player. He’s maturing before our eyes, and I feel that with the hard work that he’s shown us and the willingness to put in that hard work and continue to improve, I think the sky is the limit for Tyler. It’s the second of a couple of deals that we’ve done on extensions. We’re trying to lock up our core. It may fly in the face of the labor situation at this time but we feel very strongly about the core of our team, and part of this business is projecting, and we’re projecting Tyler to be a terrific young player. So very, very happy to have him signed for this period of time, and I’ll let Tyler say a few things.

Tyler Seguin opening statement…
I just want to start by thanking the Jacobs family, Mr. Chiarelli, and the Bruins organization for getting this deal done. I started my career here, I fell in love with my first visit. I’m a Bruin, and I’m happy to be a part of this group of guys, they’re my brothers, and I’m happy I can start a life here.

On if he is concerned about signing core players to extensions close to a possible lockout (Eric Duhatschek)…

Peter Chiarelli
I understand the optics of it. You know, part of my job is to plan for this team within the context, within the parameters of the league, the league rules, the CBA. I just feel that we do have some flexibility with some players coming up. It doesn’t mean that we won’t sign those players later on. But I do feel I place more of an importance on getting some of these guys under contract. I know we talk openly about the second contract problem, and we’re trying to fix it. I try and do my job, I try and move forward that these are core players; I try and lock up the players that we know. But at the end of the day, when people talk about optics, I try and respond by saying these are core players that are going to be a part of our team. I believe in the parameters we’re going to have going forward, I feel that there will be flexibility enough if we have to make some changes and under a new system, and that’s how we’ve decided to go forward with it.

On the potential to earn less money with a new labor agreement (Eric Duhatschek)…
Tyler Seguin
Yeah, I think obviously in the end I’m just happy that I can be here another seven years, including this one coming up if everything works out. I thought it was a fair deal, and right now, that’s what I’m living in, I’m not thinking about too much about losing money in the future. I support Don Fehr and the PA [Players’ Association] and what is going on in the bargaining agreement and hopefully it works out for the best.

On the responsibility of being the highest paid forward on the team and if that changes his responsibility moving forward (DJ Bean)…
Tyler Seguin
I think that, as is, I have high expectations of myself. I like to say I adapt to new situations well and I’m a confident player and I think that a lot more improvement to still come, and I feel like I have a lot more respect I still need to earn from both players and also management. I think that’s what’s going to keep me motivated and keep going, and that’s just my goal plan.

On if he thinks he can be a leader on the Bruins, even as a young player (DJ Bean)…
Tyler Seguin
Yeah, I think that’s where I am right now in my career. Obviously, I feel like I’ve settled in a bit here in Boston over two years. I don’t think my age is a factor. I want to be a leader, even at the age of 20. Getting situated with the boys and learning everybody and getting to know everyone in the organization, I feel I can step into those leadership roles and step into those shoes. And whether it’s new guys or just giving a good example out there on the ice, that’s what I want to do.

On how the team is handling contracts differently now before the current CBA expires, as opposed to the last labor dispute in 2004-05 (Kevin Dupont)…

Peter Chiarelli
That’s certainly, when I came on board, that’s certainly something that was talked about. It’s not the driving force here. What we’ve tried to do here is, and I think if you go back and look at our signings, we’ve tried to maintain a core. I think that’s generally what teams do, so we’re not splitting any atoms here. But we’re trying top lock up our younger players and in the context of a new CBA, I’m taking the approach that - and I believe it will prove out in the end – I’m taking the approach that if we have to shuffle our roster, delete from our roster, to get to a level of salary, then it will be hard from the perspective of trading players. But, I’d rather have the players, I’d rather have them locked up, I’d rather have them committed in what I think is a responsible framework, a working framework in light of where the CBA will go. Then I’d rather try and deal with it, with those players in the mix, players that we know. And I think that’s important, players that we know and that have given us service. It’s an inexact science, these are players, these are personalities that we know. They’ve given us good service. I say this because we just signed [Brad] Marchand and Segs [Tyler Seguin], but we’ve given term to guys before. I know the optics don’t look great, and I hope the two sides come together and get a CBA in place. I have to do my business as usual, and we’ve got some good young players that we’re trying to keep in the mix for a while.

On if this deal is ostensibly buying two years of potential UFA under the current CBA (Kevin Dupont)…
Peter Chiarelii
Under the current CBA. And something else about this deal, because - Tyler, I know he’s humbled because he’s told me -  we’ve structured this deal to start at salaries that don’t make him the highest paid player. His starting salary is $4.5 and the next salary is $5.5, so it was important to me, and Tyler certainly bought into this. He respects the length of service the other players have made and have put into this team, and for him to ease into that. It’s always hard to give a player with two years service a contract like that, like this, in light of the service everyone else has given us. And that’s the crux of the second contract problem. But I want it to be clear that we’ve structured this, and it may be six of one, half a dozen of another, but we’ve structured it so that Tyler eases into that title.

On the figures of the last year of the deal (Kevin Dupont)…

Peter Chiarelli
Yeah, it’s 6.5 [in the last year.]

On how Seguin’s development and maturity factored into making the extension decision (James Murphy)…

Peter Chiarelli
Certainly, to have known Tyler for two years now, plays a role in giving a player an extension of that magnitude. He’s a high-level, skilled player and he’s led our team in scoring, and I feel that — this is I guess, in a sense — we may stray a bit from that path that we talked about with March [Brad Marchand]. A bit because, when I first got here, we signed Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] to a long-term deal after his second year. So two years, I got to know Tyler - I see, we’re projecting, maybe this is more projection than we’re used to doing. March was on his third contract. I just see a player who’s committed to getting better, I see a player who’s already base-lining at such a high level. And Tyler has things to learn and he knows that. He knows the things he has to learn and the things he has to be better at, but I see such a high baseline, that I think it’s the prudent thing to do under the current set of rules. Sometimes we have to make decisions like that and we made this one with Tyler.

On Tyler’s growth in maturity since joining the Bruins (James Murphy)…
Peter Chiarelli
I see a progression that I’m satisfied with. Tyler is a young man, he was a teenager when he came into this mix and he’s still a young man. All of us at the age of 20, we had some growing to do and Tyler is the same thing. He’s the same thing, but I like the progression, I like what I’m seeing.

On how he has learned to be a pro over the past couple of years and if that has translated into his on-ice success (James Murphy)…
Tyler Seguin
Yeah absolutely, I think learning from the older guys especially a guy like Mark Recchi. He’d be a guy who’d sit me down and just talk about - not only on the ice stuff - but just how to conduct yourself off the ice. Obviously I know there is still a lot of a learning process to keep going on and I like to say that, even though Bergy is still young and for the most part, my linemate, he is still a guy I look up to and you could almost say he’s my role model. Obviously, I know I’m not going to get to Bergy’s stage, but it’s definitely somewhere I strive to be. Just the way he conducts himself and again I like to say that’s where I’m going to be.

On how it feels to be referred to as part of the young core of the team (James Murphy)…
Tyler Seguin
Of course it’s a great feeling. Obviously signing a lengthy deal – obviously, it is a lot of money, I know it comes with a lot. But it’s a great feeling that the Bruins and Mr. Chiarelli and the organization have faith and trust in me and just how they think I am going to become and how I am. And that’s probably the best feeling you could really have, not only the years and the money, but just the feeling that the organization has trust in you; of who you can become and who you are. I think that’s the biggest thing I’m taking from this and something I’m not going to turn my back on.

On the Bruins allegedly going from a “thrifty team” to one of the top payrolls in the NHL and if that is a result of the “salary-cap era” (Terry Mercury)…
Peter Chiarelli
If you look closely at our current situation, we’ve got $9 million in what I call inactive money. That’s for this current year, whether it’s between Savard and Thomas. I know there are different ways to look at that, but we feel to a certain degree, there’s some flexibility there in the form of LTI [long-term injury] and/or trades. I might be wrong on the latter part of that, but from this current year and this planning, we feel that we are in a decent position. From adding payroll, where you have to remember that we’re adding, on both these extensions, more specifically Tyler’s, we’re adding after this year. So you have to look at what our projected payroll and projected layout will be after this year. But your point about the frugality of the Jacobs family, I hadn’t been part of that and I don’t know if it really ever existed. I take you for your word that that was the reputation. But I do know that when I came in here, they had - I’d seen past payrolls here and the payroll was fairly high. We want to prudent and we want to be fiscally responsible when we make these decisions. And I think we’ve shown that we generally have been and will continue to try to be, but we also want to win and we want to put the best team on the ice for our fans. So I think before you can characterize us as lofty, lofty spenders, and we’re obviously in the top quartile over the course of my tenure here, it does show commitment on the part of our ownership and a willingness to win. We’re going to continue to do it that way, but in a responsible way, so it’s about making smart decisions.

On if he is worrying about his “good luck run” changing with the possibility of a lockout, since there’s a chance his contract could play out differently (Terry Mercury)…
Tyler Seguin
Well, obviously I think I have been very fortunate and lucky and blessed. I like to say things happen for a reason, so when I came to Boston, it felt like it was meant to be. And I came into a group of brothers, it was the tightest group of guys I’ve ever played with or been really a part of. So to win the Stanley Cup my first year was obviously a dream come true, incredible. But I felt like I had a lucky bounce of getting to see what I did [see] in the Stanley Cup run, being in the stands, not being the top player or the first line guy on the team, which was what I was used to my whole career before that. And then since then, trying to carry it all out and obviously with the CBA stuff, I’m putting trust in the PA and Don Fehr and I’m totally behind them and I think whatever happens, I’m going to support.

On if teams extending long-term [six, seven-year] deals this summer shows a lack of unity between the teams and the NHL, since the league proposed a five-year limit for contracts under a new CBA (Jonathan Bernier)…

Peter Chiarelli
I’m not going to comment specifically about the CBA and what offers were, and what counterproposals were, or what the state of the unification is between the teams. I’m just not going to comment on that. What I can say is that I understand where certain horses are with regard to getting this system in place, and I understand and respect that, and I’m also trying lock up our core players, run our business as usual to the extent that we can and, for me, that entails a term contract like this. And if they’re not allowed in the new system, then so be it. Obviously I respect everything that the league and Mr. Bettman are trying to do and I’ll leave that up to them to try to negotiate a new deal for us.

On the Bruins releasing financial terms of deals (Brian McGonagle)…
Peter Chiarelli
It was more about it was eventually going to leak out and it was just saving everybody the trouble. We started doing this, and Eric Tosi can correct me if I’m wrong, I think it’s been about a year now since we’ve been doing it. But, that’s the main reason, just to let everyone know what it is.

On what aspect of his game he feels he needs to improve on (Brian McGonagle)…

Tyler Seguin
Well I think the big two things for me have been obviously been my d-zone, that was a big thing going into last year, and this offseason, this past summer, it’s been all about my core. I feel like in the last season, I was getting in the corners a bit more than I did my first year. I look at a guy like Bergy, he’s so strong in his core area, he’s good in the corners, he can really battle for pucks, and that is a big thing for me. Just having a bit more of, I guess you could call it man strength, in the corners. Obviously I’m not going to run guys over, but I feel like if I can be strong in the corners, I’m going to come away with more pucks.

On Seguin’s relationship with Coach Julien and how he’s adapted to his system (James Murphy)…

Tyler Seguin
I think it’s definitely been a process. I came into here, I really wanted to respect the Bruins organization and respect Coach Julien. You know, he’s always given me pointers. The first year was all about the d-zone. Second year was more about corners and getting involved in games. But obviously I have complete faith in everything going on, and I think he’s made me the player that I am today. Obviously, putting me in the stands a few games my rookie year, playoffs - I couldn’t have gotten here without him.

On if Seguin’s desire is still to play at center like when he first entered the league or if he no longer has a preference of playing at center versus the wing (Kevin Dupont)…

Tyler Seguin
I think coming into the NHL, it’s almost always, “play me where you want me.” That was my mentality coming in is I wanted to be a diverse player. I wanted to be able to play at both ends of the ice. Be playing center, left, right wing. I think that there’s no long a desire to play center opposed to wing. Obviously I was more familiar with center growing up, but now with two years of NHL hockey on wing, I feel just as familiar there. So I think I’m looking at it was, whatever happens, happens, and, I’m going to do my best at either position.

On where he would like to see Seguin play (Kevin Dupont)…

Peter Chiarelli
I like him where he’s at right now. I think he’s learning the board game. I think he’s got a real lethal shot. His defense is improving. We know that we could put him to center at a certain point if we had to, or if we wanted to. I like the versatility, I like where his development has been going at the wing.

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