Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Claude Julien Receives Contract Extension

This eventful offseason for the Boston Bruins could very well have culminated on Tuesday afternoon as General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that they have signed Head Coach Claude Julien to a multi-year contract extension. 

"Technically, Claude is one of, if not, the best coaches in the NHL," said Chiarelli. "We have great plans in the future and we are happy to have him along for the ride."

Although the details of the contract were not released, having some stability behind the bench for the next few years is always a plus. The assistant coaches are likely to fall in line with extensions of their own. 
Julien was named the 28th head coach in Bruins history in 2007 and he led Boston to the club’s first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years in 2011.

In five seasons with Boston, Julien has a record of 228-132-50. Currently, he is in third place in franchise history with 410 games coached and fourth in wins, trailing Art Ross (361), Milt Schmidt (245) and Don Cherry (231). Judging from those numbers, he will likely rise into second place by the end of the 2012-13 season.

Chiarelli also touched upon the statuses of several injured Bruins players during the press conference. He announced that Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact and should be ready for the start of training camp. Adam McQuaid, Tyler Seguin, and Anton Khudobin are all ahead of schedule as well.

The Bruins will likely carry their full compliment of players into training camp, but one should remain optimistic about the Bruins adding another key player by the end of the summer.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bruins Add Depth, But No Big Pieces...Yet


As great as it is to be a fan of the Boston Bruins, it can also be a bit irritating and frustrating. 

The offseason for the B's has been very uneventful thus far. It was expected that they were not going to be realistic options for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (even though the Bruins allegedly made offers to these superstars), but they have only made minor adjustments to the roster within the past week.

It started on Monday when Boston signed center Christian Hanson to a one-year contract. He has spent most of his career in the AHL, most recently for the Hershey Bears. He only played in 42 games at the NHL level, all for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The most attractive part of this player's resume is that his father was Dave Hanson, one of the Hanson brothers from the movie Slap Shot.

On Wednesday, the team announced that they had signed Garnet Exelby and Lane MacDermid. Exelby is a 30-year-old veteran defenseman who has skated in 408 NHL games where he recorded seven goals and 43 assists along with 584 penalty minutes. 

As for MacDermid, the youngster skated in five games for the Bruins last season. He dropped the gloves for his first-career NHL fight in his first game against the New York Rangers. These two players will continue to provide some toughness for the Providence Bruins next season.

Fast forwarding to Thursday, the Bruins re-signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski. He began last season up in Boston with the Bruins. He appeared in three games before being sent to Providence where he had three goals, 19 assists and 38 penalty minutes in 50 games.

All of the above mentioned players were signed to two-way contracts, allowing them to be called up to Boston from Providence. They will all make at least $600,000 if they earn a spot with the big club.

These signings are decent. It is always nice to have some depth at the minor league level. However, there has to be a point in time where Bruins' general manager Peter Chiarelli goes after a player who will help the B's get them back in the Stanley Cup conversation.

The Bruins have a strong core, which should make it an attractive destination for free agents.