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Bear Essentials: Looking Ahead

GM Peter Chiarelli looks to shore up his free agents in the short term

Friday, 05.16.2008 / 4:13 PM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Bear Essentials: Looking Ahead
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Earlier this week, during his teleconference, Peter Chiarelli weighed in on his decision to re-sign Chuck Kobasew.

"We've signed Chuck Kobasew to a multi year deal, a three year deal, and we're happy to have done so," he told media members via phone. "Chuck had a very good year and showed us what we had expected of him.

"He's scored timely goals and plays hard all the time.

"He's a very good forechecker and a very good team person and we're happy to have had the opportunity to sign him," he said.

Chiarelli implied that Kobasew fit perfectly into a system that made the B's much harder to play against during the 2007-08 campaign.

"The way that he plays and the way that he competes fits into our plan and into how we continue to build this team," said the GM of Kobasew. "Again, we are happy to have him for three more years."

Moving forward, Chiarelli has already started to speak with his other free agents -- restricted or otherwise.

"We've had discussions…substantive discussions with Dennis Wideman's representative, Aaron Ward's and Glen Metropolit's agent, and preliminary discussions with Mark Stuart," explained Chiarelli. "And we are going to get to Petteri Nokelainen shortly.
 
"I would think nothing is imminent, but we continue to have discussions and ideally I'd like to have them done before July 1st.

"We are not far apart," he said.

Asked more specific questions, Chiarelli elaborated on the negotiation process.

"Stuwie and Petteri don't [have arbitration rights] and Dennis does," stated Chiarelli. "And I think I speak for the player…[they] don't want to go to an arbitration, and neither do I.

"But you want to do what's right for the organization and you want to do right for the player.

"So you don't try to avoid it, but you certainly try to do [the negotiations] in a timely manner…while at the same being fair and business-like about it," he said.

And what about the timetable?

"Probably, when we getting through with Dennis, we'll start talking with Stuart and Nokelainen in a little more detail," explained the GM.

One reporter asked if the B's were thinking toward July 1st, and the free agency period, while negotiating with their current players.

"Certainly, any deal we would do wouldn't get done without us looking at the cap consequences," he said. "And we are still in a good position."

It should be an interesting few weeks, true believers. Keep it here!

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