It’s been a summer of new contracts in Boston with Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask signing massive new deals, and now the one handing them out is getting in on the fun. The Bruins announced yesterday that GM Peter Chiarelli has signed a five year extension that will keep him in the B’s front office until at least 2017-18. While the terms of the extension weren’t disclosed, it is pretty safe to assume the deal is worth Chiarelli’s while, especially since he’s one of three GM’s in Bruins history to construct a Stanley Cup champion.
During his tenure, which began in 2006, Chiarelli has built a strong core of players that have revitalized hockey in Boston after some dark years in the early 2000′s. He’s put together a squad that is “tough to play against” (most of the time) and has made the playoffs the past six seasons straight, including two Stanley Cup Finals appearances. He’s been dedicated to making the Bruins a perennial contender and with the deals he’s made this past offseason, there’s no reason to think that’s going to change in the near future.
So the buzz around the web this afternoon has been the Team USA promo photos that were released (#KesselFace) today. In case you missed them, they’re pretty hilarious. Check them out the best of the best on Puck Daddy. But after I got through those, I moseyed on over to NHL.com to catch up on the news when I was met with this glorious image on the home page:
To which my mind immediately jumped to:
Really Ryan Callahan? Lighten up Francis indeed. You’re here doing PR work for the upcoming Sochi Olympics where you get to represent your country on the world stage. But nope, got to keep up your image. Canada can smell fear. Fear is weakness.
I generally hate borrowing anything from Barstool Sports, but this seemed appropriate:
We’re inside a month before NHL preseason games kick in, so it’s time to start thinking about who your first picks might be in this year’s Fantasy Hockey Draft. If you find yourself with free reign over the draft pool with the first pick, I’d like to make your decision easy. While Alex Ovechkin’s red hot finish or Sidney Crosby’s 56 points in 36 games last season might draw your attention, simply stated, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos should be a clear cut number one pick this year.
While most fantasy hockey leagues are geared appropriately around scoring, there are a few other categories available that if counted, can have a pretty big impact on your squad and its performance. At the top of the list is penalty minutes (PIMs), the logically backwards yet still statistically significant category usually led by enforcers and agitators. While most wouldn’t consider time spent off the ice as a positive skill, most fantasy leagues still keep it around as an option under the approach of the-more-minutes-the- better.
If yours is one of those leagues, you best pay attention to this category. If your league is head-to-head, there’s a point per week on the line. Interestingly, there are number of players who consistently post a solid stat line that contains a healthy dose of time spent in the sin bin. Let’s look at some of the best choices if your league rewards the bangers and bruisers.
TVA Sports and NHL.com are reporting that the Bruins are close to signing veteran goaltender Jose Theodore to a one year contract. The report has the value of the deal between $800k and $1.1 million, meaning he would likely take the backup role for this coming season behind Tuukka Rask. Theodore, winner of the Vezina Trophy back in 2002 with Montreal, had been with the Florida Panthers for past two seasons. He posted a respectable .917 save percentage and 2.46 goals against average in 53 games in 2011-12, but played poorly this past season posting just four wins in 15 starts with an .893 save percentage and 3.29 goals against average (granted, the Panthers were terrible last season).
The move, if accurate, must mean that the Bruins’ brass must not see free agent signee Chad Johnson as a viable back-up option, despite giving him a similar one year, $600k deal last month. The signing is even more of a head-scratcher for other reasons, the main one being that Boston is currently $1.1 million over the salary cap already (according to Cap Geek, which does however include Marc Savard’s $4m hit which likely won’t end up counting). On top of that is the fact that the Bruins let backup Anton Khudobin walk this offseason for just $800k, even after proving himself as a more than adequate number two goaltender. The move does however give the B’s an experienced, veteran goaltender that should keep Rask on his toes after signing a huge contract this offseason.