BOSTON -- After Boston Bruins ownership held their season-ending news conference Friday morning at TD Garden, team president Cam Neely explained how the organization would like to extend the contract of general manager Peter Chiarelli.
Chiarelli’s current contract will expire after the 2013-14 season. Under his guidance, the Bruins have reached the postseason in six of seven seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reaching the finals this season. He’s orchestrated trades to acquire goaltender Tuukka Rask and top draft picks that resulted in the selections of Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, and he has built a roster with a solid mix of veterans and youth.
Chiarelli’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed.
“Peter still has term [one year] on his contract, but I’ll be talking with him this offseason. We’ve actually started to talk, so he’s done a fantastic job here since he’s been here,” Neely said. “From when he came until now, there’s been a lot of player/personnel turnover, but we’ve kept the right guys and built from that.”
Even though there’s one season remaining on Chiarelli’s contract, the Bruins would like to lock him up for the long term.
“Ideally, yeah,” Neely said. “He deserves it. He’s done a really good job here. He’s a good GM.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien signed a multiyear extension with the team last summer. However, prior to the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, there was a lot of talk that if the Bruins lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, Julien might lose his job.
But en route to the team’s run to the finals, Chiarelli strongly stood behind his coach, saying that as long as he was the GM in Boston, Julien would be the coach.
Neely was asked about that “package deal” comment by Chiarelli and if the president felt the same way.
“That’s how he felt,” Neely said with a smile. “I think a lot of it had to do with the unfair heat Claude was getting this year. Claude has done a fantastic job. He’s made a lot of adjustments since he’s been here, but the one thing that has been constant is how he wants this team to play, and a lot of times it’s easy for people to say if the team’s not doing well that the coach has to go. But your players need to perform, too.”
When asked again if they're a package deal, Neel said: “I don’t think so. I mean, they’ve both done a great job since they’ve been together here, you can’t deny that -- they’ve done a really good job. You’d probably have to ask Pete that, how he feels about that year to year, if that’s how he feels. I talked to him about that, and he was just saying he was tired of the heat that Claude was getting, and I don’t blame him.”