If you're looking for a major restructuring of the Bruins after their first-round ouster from the Stanley Cup playoffs ? well, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
"From the makeover perspective, certainly we're not going to do anything to make over this team," general manager Peter Chiarelli on the team's break-up day. "You've heard me talk about parity in this league. A first-round loss this year (for the Bruins), and there could be another Stanley Cup final next year. It's that close."
Asked what he'd like to pick up to make this team better, Chiarelli said, "I'd like to maybe look at a forward to bolster our top-nine. That doesn't mean we're not going to look at re-signing (free agent Benoit) Pouliot or putting (Jordan) Caron up there (on a top line). But we're going to look at the trade and free agent markets.
"But in the major change front, I'm not looking to do anything like that. I'd like to add some pieces."
One of the pieces could be major, with Columbus' Rick Nash available on the trade market and New Jersey's Zach Parise a potential unrestricted free agent. And one of the pieces leaving could be one of the goalies: Tim Thomas is entering the final year of his contract and loses his no-trade clause and either he or Tuukka Rask, a potential restricted free agent, could be dealt.
Chiarelli says he wants to keep both goalies. He also says he wants to build strength at the back end of his lineup of forwards.
But all that is down the road. For the time being, the after-effects of the quick elimination were still being felt, dissected and analyzed. Was it injuries? Was it the power play? Was it the year-after Cup hangover?
Perhaps it was as simple as this: last year Thomas basically stole the Cup for his team, and he was good, not great, this season, in the regular season and into the playoffs.
"We lost in the first round, after having won the Cup last year, (but) to me we can go after the Cup again next year," said Chiarelli. "I have every confidence we can do that."
After a 3-7 start that had people wondering if last year's run to the Stanley Cup was a bit of a fluke, the Bruins went on a 24-5-1 run where everything went right and people started dreaming of this team becoming the first repeat champion since 1998.
In late January, Nathan Horton, knocked out of last year's finals with a concussion suffered in Game 3 against the Canucks, was felled by another one, this one on a non-penalized hit by Tom Sestito of the Flyers. It was first called "a mild concussion," but Horton never made it back. It was also around this time that goalie Tim Thomas snubbed the president and didn't accompany the team to the White House. If you believe in karma ?
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