The master chef who has provided Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien the ingredients that have thrust the Bruins to the top of the Eastern Conference is enjoying the view from the upper stratosphere of the NHL.
“It’s obviously better than losing. It’s good,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told thebruinsblog.net today while his 21-5-4 team practiced at the TD Banknorth Garden in front of a generous showing of season-ticket holders. “This is what we strive to do, to win, in this business. It’s good to see the things that we had projected come true and so, at this point of the year it’s good to compile wins and it’s good.”
One of the Bruins’ projections for this season was that they had the requisite amount of depth. Nowhere has that been tested more than on the blue line, with two of the club’s top four (Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward) having missed significant time the last couple of weeks. But the reinforcements from Providence (AHL) — Matt Hunwick, Matt Lashoff and, for one game, Johnny Boychuk — have filled in admirably. While flaunting the skill that was evident when the Bruins brought them aboard in the first place, they’ve all shown the type of poise and maturity that can make it hard to remember they’re rookies in their early 20s.
“They’ve made rookie mistakes before so they’ve had chances through experience from last year,” Chiarelli said. “And part of it is obviously coaching – good coaching at this level, a system where you can plug in parts, and good coaching at the minor-league level. And these guys, they have hockey sense. And that’s important in this game, now with the new rules, you really have to be a smart player.”
Chiarelli admitted that he receives fewer phone calls from his fellow GMs when his team is winning. With the holiday roster freeze approaching Dec. 19, he said there could be a deal or two around the league.
“But the economy, teams close to the cap, it’s still relatively early – all those things put together you’re probably not going to see a lot of deals,” he added.
As for his own team, Chiarelli said the flames aren’t really burning hot for a deal — especially with Ference nearing a return that could serve as a boost to his back line.
“We’re not really looking right now. We’ve got a couple things that we’re looking at, but we’re not proactively looking.”