Bruins

Neely: Marchand was spoken to about 'putting a negative focus' on himself and B's

Neely: Marchand was spoken to about 'putting a negative focus' on himself and B's

BOSTON – Bruins ownership and upper management made it pretty clear on Wednesday morning that the bosses’ patience has run out with some of Brad Marchand’s antics after the licking incidents in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Marchand was never penalized or hit with supplemental discipline after opting to lick both Leo Komarov and Ryan Callahan, but the Bruins left winger was put on notice by the NHL in the second round of the playoffs that things wouldn’t be so consequence-free the next time.

BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS

Marchand made some heartfelt comments that he needs to “cut that [expletive] out” in his end-of-season chat with the media last week. On Wednesday, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and team president Cam Neely took it one step further in their end-of-the-season press conference. Jacobs said that Marchand has basically used up all of his wiggle room with the Bruins and that should be enough to get No. 63 on the straight-and-narrow with his behavior.

“I saw humor in it [at first], and then I thought it was, as it went along, it got pretty silly and not productive towards the team,” said Jacobs. “This is a player [in Marchand] that, I can only think of 30 other teams that would love to have him, so there’s a margin that you give him. But I think he used up that margin.”

Well, that’s a pretty definitive statement from the guy that signs the checks for the Black and Gold and probably speaks to a level of seriousness that the actions took on when they continued in the series Tampa Bay. Neely backed up his owner’s comments and also acknowledged that Marchand is one of the best players in the world who really doesn’t need to do that kind of stuff anymore.

“Brad should be contrite. He was spoken to." Neely said. "I don’t want to go into the details, but he understands how he put a negative focus on him, his family, the organization, his teammates, and the coaching staff. The thing that people don’t understand [is that] Brad is a really good guy. If you don’t know him, and you see this other stuff, then you really don’t think highly of him. He’s a tremendous hockey player. He’s got to the point now where his game on the ice, without the antics, should speak for itself.”

There’s no doubting that the NHL and Bruins organization have made their feelings known and Marchand himself has voiced his desire to change his game for the better. Now, it’s on all parties involved to make sure that happens while at the same time also allowing No. 63 the leeway to continue being an elite NHL left winger. It might not be easy and it will be a shame if it becomes a situation where Marchand’s fun personality is bottled up on the ice, so it remains a work in progress for the organization and player.

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Charlie McAvoy had a heartfelt reaction to Zdeno Chara extension news

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USA TODAY Sports

Charlie McAvoy had a heartfelt reaction to Zdeno Chara extension news

Zdeno Chara is sticking around for at least one more season, and his young apprentice couldn't be happier.

Hours after the Boston Bruins signed Chara to a one-year extension Saturday, fellow defenseman Charlie McAvoy shared just how important the 42-year-old veteran has been to his NHL development.

"It’s really hard to put into words," McAvoy told reporters. "It’s kind of indescribable just how much he’s helped me grow into myself.

" ... Having someone like him who's just the consummate pro; just everything he does is the perfect example for how everyone on our team should act. I'm very lucky. I don’t take it for granted to be able to play with a guy like that."

McAvoy, who's exactly half Chara's age at 21, has blossomed into a top-pairing defenseman thanks in part to learning from the six-time All-Star. The biggest thing the mentee has picked up from the mentor? Hard work pays off.

"You don't know what hard work is really until you've seen him work," McAvoy said of Chara. "Whether it's on the ice, off the ice, diet or whatever it may be, everything is in the best interest of his career, and you can really learn a lot from a guy like that."

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney echoed McAvoy's sentiments Saturday, calling Chara a "machine." And Sweeney ensured that machine will keep running in Boston through the 2019-20 season.

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Bruins sign Zdeno Chara to a one-year, team-friendly extension

Bruins sign Zdeno Chara to a one-year, team-friendly extension

Zdeno Chara continues to get the Tim Wakefield treatment by the Boston Bruins, which means a string of one-year deals in perpetuity until the 42-year-old B’s captain decides to hang it up one of these days.

The Bruins announced on Saturday morning that they have signed the 42-year-old Chara to a one-year extension for next season worth $2 million in base salary along with another $1.75 million in reachable incentives.

Chara is in his 21st NHL season and 13th with Boston, and has appeared in 55 games this season while posting four goals and seven assists along with a plus-16 rating as a shutdown defenseman for the Black and Gold. While Chara is still effective as a shutdown D-man and is arguably still the best penalty killer going in the NHL, it’s also clear this season that age is beginning to slow him down a little bit at 42 years old. The 20:59 of ice time per game for Chara this season is the lowest of his career as the Bruins have focused on reducing his workload, and adding more to the plate of 21-year-old workhorse defenseman Charlie McAvoy.  

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The $2 million contract is excellent value for an aging, still-effective player in Chara that’s still a legit top-4 NHL defenseman at the NHL level, even if his Norris Trophy days and bigger offensive producer days are also now in the rearview mirror. The $2 million deal also gives the Bruins plenty of salary cap flexibility in helping them sign both McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, a couple of young RFA’s that are due for big raises on their second contracts this summer.  The lowered salary and cap hit for Chara more than makes up for any reductions to Chara’s game as he continues to play into his mid-40’s with a goal of lacing them up until at least the age of 45 years old. Besides, one can’t really put a price tag on the leadership, work ethic, toughness and intimidation level that Chara brings to the table as a 6-foot-9 defenseman that’s seen and done just about everything at the NHL level over the last two decades. It will be interesting to see if both Chara and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can reach those career mile-posts for themselves as they largely put off any big effects to their games from Father Time.

The 42-year-old defenseman has led the Bruins to a postseason berth in nine of his 12 completed seasons with the team, including a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010-11. He ranks sixth in franchise history in games played (948), and fourth in points by a defenseman (452) behind Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Bobby Orr (888), and Dit Clapper (474).

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