There’s no point in fixing something that’s not broken and that’s just what the Bruins are doing.
The team announced they’ve signed general manager Peter Chiarelli to a four-year extension to stay with the organization through the 2017-18 season. He’ll also be the team’s Alternate Governor.
Since Chiarelli took over as GM of the Bruins back in 2006, they’ve made the playoffs in six straight seasons including winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, the team’s first since 1972. Getting a team to the postseason in six of your seven seasons at the helm sounds like a success to me.
He’s spent this summer finding ways to re-work the Bruins roster by shipping out Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley for Loui Eriksson and signing Jarome Iginla. His time in Boston has seen its share of ups (Cup win) and downs (Tim Thomas and Marc Savard for very different reasons) but the Bruins have yet to crumble under the drama. That says a lot for the job both he and coach Claude Julien have done there.
Chiarelli has done well enough in his job with the Bruins to earn a spot on Team Canada’s executive staff to choose the 2014 Olympic team serving under Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
Team Canada has their own orientation camp already underway in Calgary, and the biggest question there has to do with who will start in goal.
Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford, Mike Smith, and Braden Holtby are the five goalies vying for the No. 1 job and the competition is expected to be stiff. Team GM Steve Yzerman says he’s confident things will shake out as Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press shares.
“I think there are some new faces that are very good goaltenders,” he said. “Roberto played on the last team. Corey Crawford is coming to camp. He just finished winning the Stanley Cup.
“Things will work itself out. I’m not going to worry about it here in August.”
There isn’t much point to worrying in August, it’s true. Canada’s camp, like Team USA’s camp, won’t have anyone participating on the ice because of the sky-high cost to insure the players. How those guys start their NHL seasons will do plenty to decide who goes to Sochi and who gets a few weeks off in February.
Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman’s decision to buy out longtime captain and Stanley Cup winner Vincent Lecavalier was a hard one for him to make. It was difficult from a financial standpoint as well as one for building their team.
The Lightning have no problems figuring out who plays on their top line. Steven Stamkos slots in at center and Martin St. Louis on the right wing. Cutting loose Lecavalier left a gaping hole at center on the second line. Enter free agent Valtteri Filppula.
The Lightning signed Filppula away from Detroit to the tune of five years and $25 million. You might be thinking he’s not as good as Lecavalier but over the past few seasons, and you might be right.
Going back to the 2010-11 season, Filppula has 48 goals and 74 assists in 193 games over three seasons. In that same span, Lecavalier has played in 168 games with 57 goals with 78 assists. Fewer games played due to injury but more offense overall.
When you add 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin to the mix, you’re adding a guy who comes with tremendous offensive potential and someone who might slide onto either line. That means more points to go around. At least, that’s what coach Jon Cooper is hoping for.
Having to go through their first season without Lecavalier since 1997-98 is going to be hard for many fans in Tampa. If Filppula can’t pick up where Lecavalier left off and he goes on to thrive in Philadelphia, it won’t be the heat or the humidity making things uncomfortable in Florida.
Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop make up Tampa Bay’s goalie tandem and while they make for the league’s tallest duo, their play last season didn’t make them feared.
Lindback, acquired from Nashville last summer, got the bulk of the starts before going down with an ankle injury and was perfectly average. While he went 10-10-1 he stopped pucks at a .902 clip with a 2.90 goals-against average.
Bishop was acquired later in the season in a deal with Ottawa that saw Cory Conacher go the other way. In his brief audition to show what he’s got, he went 3-4-1 and put up better save numbers (.914 SV%) than Lindback, but the goals kept coming (2.99 GAA).
It was a short season with small sample sizes all over the place for both goalies, but that has to worry folks in Tampa. Part of their struggles have to do with Tampa’s rather putrid defense as well as a mid-season coaching change with Guy Boucher swept out and Jon Cooper ushered in. Their inexperience at the NHL level didn’t help either.
Before last season the two goalies combined for 61 NHL games played with Lindback have just 38 of those he was brought in to be the man. Now they’ll battle it out to see who earns the starting nod. Buckle up Lightning fans, it could be a bumpy ride.
Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Tampa Bay Lightning.
If there’s something you can always give the Lightning credit for it’s having a tremendous offense. Martin St. Louis led the NHL in points last season while Steven Stamkos finished second. Sure, Sidney Crosby’s absence at the end of the season helped make that possible, but it doesn’t take away from how great those two played.
Points aside, Tampa is in flux having missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons. After a slightly tumultuous offseason, they look to regroup and compete with a new division filled with tougher opponents. Coach Jon Cooper will look internally to get the Lightning back to the postseason.
The highlight of Tampa’s summer was seeing them buy out captain Vincent Lecavalier. The Lightning swallowed over $30 million to send Lecavalier away only to see him sign with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The draft saw Tampa draft Jonathan Drouin to be their next major offensive weapon but when it was time for free agency, GM Steve Yzerman stayed relatively quiet. Former Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula was their lone big signing and he should make for an adequate replacement for Lecavalier.
Tampa’s porous defense, meanwhile, was left virtually untouched or unimproved upon. For a team that finished in the bottom five in goals allowed, that’s one area that could’ve used a lot of improvement. Cooper will have to hope one of Ben Bishop or Anders Lindback can stand extra tall in goal to give them a shot at the postseason.
Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series