Another update from the GM
Chiralli talks about Ward, Free Agents
Friday, 05.23.2008 / 8:58 AM ET / Bish's Blog
"It was a negotiation that I had the pleasure of taking part in," said Chiarelli. "Aaron is a true warrior.
"The number of times that he played with an injury -- and you wouldn't know about it because we don't disclose those things -- but it's very admirable, like a warrior."
In a day and age where many, many players have left New England and the Boston area teams pursuing the ultimate contract, the Bruins boss believes Ward took a smaller contract to stay home.
"I believe that Aaron took a little less money to stay [here]; money he could have gotten elsewhere," said Chiarelli. "And I am very happy with him for doing that.
"He fits into what we are trying to accomplish here. He's defense first, but can contribute offensively. He plays well within our system and he's a tremendous leader."
Which is exactly why he could have gotten more cash from a team who needed a veteran defenseman.
"I am ecstatic, actually, that he's back and that he decided to stay with us," added Chiarelli.
Queried as to the possibility of Ward's signing allowing some of the younger players to have more development time, Chiarelli noted that while Ward might buy some time for the young blueliners in the B's system it wasn't the biggest part of the signing.
"That may happen by default," explained the GM. "But if someone deserves to play, and can contribute on a full-time basis, I am going to find a way to make sure they can do it because that will improve our team.
"But when you look at signing someone like Aaron -- he's a fixture on the team and he contributes on and off the ice -- we thought it was important to get this deal done."
There were other things on the mind of the reporters who queried the GM, including how Chiarelli judged the demand for a defenseman like Ward on the open market. You see, many in the media are keeping a close eye on the B's salary cap and how each signing effects the space that the Black & Gold will have to work with after July 1.
"There were a number of teams that inquired about Aaron at the trade deadline," said Chiarelli. "That's [one] of the ways I could judge.
"I know what value he brings, as far as what the market would be in the summer.
"Having said that, and Aaron alluded to this also, there is an element of uncertainty when you enter [the free agency] period and as much he didn't want to go there we didn't want to go there, either," he said.
Another reporter asked about Glen Metropolit and his other potential free agents (both restricted and non-restricted).
"We're still progressing on those fronts," said the GM. "But I don't have anything significant to announce [although] I wouldn't announce anything until they were signed.
"But we are still having discussions."
Pressed further, Chiarelli was asked as to the direction the club would take during the free agency period.
"Obviously…we target some players," said Chiarelli. "We have areas that we want to improve in and we'll see what players are available and what their prices are.
"As far as [being] aggressive. How do you define aggressive? Are we definitely going to go after people?
"I think we are going to be very proactive [but] it has to be the right fit and it has to make sense…but we are going to be prudent about it," he answered.
Peter Chiarelli: Off the Record
The Bruins GM also took a turn on TSN's "Off The Record" show earlier this week.
One of the more interesting parts of the discussion centered on the now famous high five between Cam Neely and Chiarelli after Boston's Game Three win in OT against the Habs. Cam, who had stood up to celebrate almost knocked Peter out of his chair, but the GM came right back with a high five of his own.
Asked if he was in any pain after Cam's exuberant celebration slap and why he would venture an attempt at a second high five, the Black & Gold's GM said, "I had to come back at him."
The B's boss also did a segment called Next Question where he had to give rapid-fire responses to some tough queries.
The best question of that segment was: Which trade are you most proud of?
"I like our Kobasew/Ference deal," said Chiarelli. "It was fair deal and it brought us some character."
Also in the running: Are you interested in the Maple Leafs GM job?
"No, I am a Bruin," was Peter's answer.
You can find Chiarelli's segments in the "Off The Record section" of TSN.ca.