While his players are in Vermont for “team building” (probably climbing trees and forming a drum circle), Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a conference call this morning.
Here a couple of the highlights other than his failed attempt to convince anyone that Michael Ryder isn’t on the bubble.
•Chiarelli gives rookies Matt Bartkowski and Steve Kampfer a legit chance to make the team. I’m still not buying it. Keeping a kid straight out of college on the NHL roster goes against everything the Bruins have tried to preach under Chiarelli about developing players, in particular defensemen. Not to mention, who’s going to sit to provide either of those two guys enough ice time? There are six guys on one-way deals, so I’m still pretty certain Bartkowski and Kampfer will start the season skating with a ‘P’ on their chests.
•Blake Wheeler, Zach Hamill, Ryan Spooner and Tyler Seguin are all in the mix to be the fourth center, the GM said. I’ll assume Chiarelli left out Joe Colborne because it was Sunday morning and he was drowsy. To me, moving Wheeler to the middle really weakens the Bruins on the wing, unless you think Jordan Caron is ready to both play and produce points in the NHL. To me it makes the most sense to let Seguin settle into the third-line center role with a consistent pair of wings — maybe five, six games with Wheeler and Ryder — and let him get comfortable in the NHL. I can’t imagine Hamill making this team, and Spooner might get a nine-game look before heading back to junior but I doubt he’s a long-term answer for this season.
•Chiarelli was heartened by Marc Savard working on his sticks yesterday in the locker room. But the Bruins should really be more careful about creating false hope here. Just as it’s irresponsible to declare him out for the season, creating excitement every time he does something that could be construed as a milestone creates the same atmosphere that caused Savard to rush back in the first place. Until he decides to quit on a comeback, or starts to work out without symptoms, Savard should be left to his own devices without any outside expectations influencing him either way.
•Just to re-iterate on the Ryder situation, when Chiarelli answers a question about the player’s current camp and mostly bases his answer on what the guy has done in two dozen playoff games the last two years, he’s reaching like a contortionist trying to scratch the middle of his own back to find a positive. Make no mistake, Ryder is in trouble here.