BostonBruins.com — On Thursday afternoon, the Bruins bolstered their defensive depth by signing blueliner Chris Breen to a one-year, two-way contract with a cap hit of $600,000, General Manager Don Sweeney announced.
Bruins Executive Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson has been tracking Breen’s game for a long time — in fact, ever since Breen was skating with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL back in 2009.
Even back then, Ferguson could see something special in Breen, and he continues to see it to this day.
“He gives us some real strong organizational depth — size and strength on the blue line,” Ferguson said. “He’s a real character leader for that team down in Providence, and he’s a guy that can really give us depth and can come up and play games.”
BostonBruins.com — In mid-May, when Don Sweeney accepted the position of general manager of the Boston Bruins, he had an inkling that it wouldn’t be a smooth ride from the outset.
A few weeks in, or even a few months in, maybe — but not right at first.
“I told the guys when I got the job — I told every one of our scouts and every one of our people — I said, ‘Buckle up, because I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride to get going,’” Sweeney said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday night. “I didn’t necessarily know how that would play out. I’m not claiming that I did, by any stretch of the imagination, but I sit here today and I’m excited about the course going forward.”
The course of the last week has been bumpy, to say the least. It has been tumultuous and trying, and often, the criticism has far outweighed the praise.
But as Sweeney wrapped up on Wednesday night — as he looked at a 2015-16 roster that featured the new additions of Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes — he was very much at peace with where his team stands.
Not that there was ever any doubt in his mind.
BostonBruins.com — Jimmy Hayes was by no means expecting to be traded on July 1.
But when Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon called him on Wednesday to tell him he had been moved to Boston — to his hometown team — Hayes’ head started to spin a little bit.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Hayes said on Wednesday night, just a few hours after the trade came down. “I grew up a Boston Bruins fan, and having the chance to play for the Boston Bruins is a dream come true.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s probably one of the most exciting moments I’ve had in a while.”
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was clear about one thing when he addressed the media via conference call on Wednesday night, after the acquisitions were finalized: He said that the Bruins entered free agency targeting players who fit the Bruins’ style of play, but also — and perhaps more importantly — players who are passionate about being a part of the Boston Bruins.
“I had just talked with [a] development coach there in Los Angeles, actually, earlier on in the day,” Miller told BostonBruins.com with a laugh. “He was just talking about the future, and then the [trade] call came in there at about 3 o’clock.
“I was pretty surprised.”
Surprised, yes — but excited, too.
“I was just hanging out at home during the draft,” he said. “I wasn’t paying too much attention to it because not much had gone on there yet on Friday, and then actually the person who drafted me [to L.A.] — Mike Futa — gave me a call and just kind of explained that the trade had happened, and that I was going to the Bruins.
“So it was a bit shocking, but obviously very exciting. I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
Miller comes to Boston as part of the package that also included a 2015 first-round draft pick and goaltender Martin Jones, who was flipped to San Jose on Tuesday in exchange for a 2016 first-round draft pick and prospect Sean Kuraly.
BostonBruins.com — Friday was a busy day for the Bruins’ front office.
Saturday was no different.
After making three selections in the first round of the NHL Draft on June 26, Boston’s brain trust woke up the next morning and did it all over again, making a total of seven selections in Rounds 2 through 7.
Three of those selections came bright and early in the second round, during which the Bruins acquired defensemen Brandon Carlo (37th overall) and Jeremy Lauzon (52nd overall), as well as Swedish forward Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.
“[This was] clearly a draft to build, going forward,” said Assistant General Manager John Ferguson Jr. “It’s probably a two-plus year process, but those are assets that can be used as currency and used in other deals.
“There’s a great number of assets we’ve collected these last two days, and a lot of skill at different positions, and frankly, some good future depth, up and down the lineup.”
BostonBruins.com — On Thursday morning, the NHL released its 2015-16 schedule, and for the Bruins, the new campaign begins on Thursday, October 8 at TD Garden against Winnipeg.
Unlike last year, the Bruins will kick off their season with a three-game homestand, also facing Montreal (October 10, 7 PM) and defending Eastern Conference champions Tampa Bay in a Columbus Day matinee on October 12 at 1 PM.
The Canadiens’ visit to TD Garden on October 10 marks their only visit of the season to Boston’s home arena. They will also play Boston at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2016, in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The Bruins, alternately, will make three trips to the Bell Centre in 2015-16: On Saturday, November 7; on Wednesday, December 9; and on Tuesday, January 19.
The other division opponent Boston will face five times this season is Toronto. The Bruins will take on the Maple Leafs at home on Saturday, November 21; on Saturday, January 16; and on Tuesday, February 2. They will visit Toronto on the road on Monday, November 23 and on Saturday, March 26.
BostonBruins.com — Zane McIntyre really wanted to win a national championship with North Dakota.
For two years in a row, he came oh so close. For two years in a row, he took his team to the Frozen Four, but both times, they bowed out in the semifinals.
The thought of what it might feel like to win a national title made his decision about the next step toward his future that much harder. He wanted to become a Bruin; he just struggled with whether he was ready to give up on that one item on his bucket list.
In the end, though, McIntyre decided the time was right. The situation was right. And so this week — nearly five years to the day after they selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft — the Bruins announced that they had agreed to terms with McIntyre on an entry-level contract.
“My goal when I was drafted was to play for them one day, and it’s actually an exciting time in my life where I have a good opportunity here to come into the organization and really just dictate with my play what’s going to happen with myself and everything like that,” McIntyre said. “I couldn’t be happier with an Original Six team like Boston. It’s a really good feeling right now.”
BostonBruins.com — Don Sweeney has been a part of plenty of NHL Drafts. But it goes without saying that this one bodes to be a bit different for him, as it marks his first as General Manager.
“It has been busy,” Sweeney said during a conference call with reporters on Friday morning. “[In terms of] the approach and preparation side, you spend a lot more time on the phone actually having these conversations, as opposed to in my previous situation [as assistant general manager], where things would get run by you. You’re now taking information that you’re gathering and presenting it in different fashions to people so you get their expertise, and blending it together to make what you think is the best decision for the organization.
“So that is very different for me. Do I feel good that I have institutional knowledge of where our players are at, and what we think we can do to improve our group? Yeah, I think that’s a big benefit for me, having been a part of this organization for the past nine years.”
BOSTON — On Thursday afternoon, Charlie Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, announced that if Boston wins the bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, TD Garden will be the site of two of the Games’ marquee events: men’s and women’s basketball as well as gymnastics.
“We are all proud of Boston and the memories in this building — including the Olympic trials here at the TD Garden [in 2014] — and I’m looking forward to the next chapter, as I hope all of you are as well,” Jacobs said during a press conference on the Garden’s parquet floor. “We’re in the process of finishing up a $70 million upgrade here to this building, and we want to make this venue perfect for not only national events, but the international theater of the Olympics itself here in 2024.”
Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chair of the Boston 2024 Olympics Finance Committee, was also on hand for the press conference, as were TD Garden President Amy Latimer, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and Celtics Hall of Famer Jo Jo White.
WILMINGTON — When the Bruins take the ice for their first game of the 2015-16 season, there will be changes.
There may not be glaring changes — there will be no philosophical or systemic overhauls — but there will be changes.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien even objected to the word changes. He preferred to use the word adjustments, and in that way, this offseason is like any other. In each and every offseason, adjustments are made, and this offseason will prove to be no different.
“For people to think we’re going to play a run-and-gun game — that’s not happening,” Julien said on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, addressing the media for the first time since Boston’s official breakup day on April 13. “This game hasn’t changed. You need good defense and good offense. You need both. And we’ve been able to do that for a lot of years. Just because we had a tough year last year doesn’t mean we’re all about defense; we gave up more goals last year than we did the year before. So that should be criticized as much as the goals for.
“It was just a tough year, and when we’ve compared our scoring chances last year to the year before — where we scored a lot — surprisingly enough, the scoring chances are almost identical.”