Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli will report to his Causeway Street office early today, in hopes of resuming talks to land a player or two - ideally a forward and a defenseman - before the close of the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m.
In a perfect world, Chiarelli said yesterday after working the phones, he already would have made those additions. But in a trade market that has been slow to develop, he remained optimistic that the frantic rush to the cashier (special now on forwards, aisle 9!) this afternoon will be as rewarding as it was in March 2009 when he landed Mark Recchi.
“I don’t look forward to all the rushing around,’’ said Chiarelli. “I don’t think any GM does. But we’ll do it, and we’ve done it before, and we came out of it with a great addition in Recchi.’’
Recchi, among the keys to the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup last June, came aboard at the last minute when Chiarelli surrendered prospects Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff to Tampa Bay. He would like to make a similar deal today - not that there are loads of spare Hall-of-Fame Recchis on the shelves - and he has told other GMs that he’d like to get the deal done with draft picks and/or prospects.
“I’ve been clear in telling people I’ve talked to that I don’t want to move anyone off our roster,’’ Chiarelli said.
Recchi, 41 when he arrived in the Hub of Hockey, ended up playing in 49 playoff games with the Bruins over three springs. He delivered 14 goals and 30 points, including a line of 5-9-14 last season when the Bruins ended a 39-year drought with the franchise’s sixth Stanley Cup.
The Bruins, who concluded a six-game road trip (3-2-1) Saturday night in Ottawa with a 5-3 win over the Senators, have been riddled by injury of late. Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) remain on the sideline, possibly to be joined by valuable defenseman Johnny Boychuk. With less than three minutes gone in the third period at Scotiabank Place Saturday night, Senators forward Chris Neil caught Boychuk with his head down and drilled him with a clean, punishing check to the chest that knocked Boychuk out of the game.
According to Chiarelli, Boychuk yesterday was experiencing headaches, an indication that he could have suffered a concussion - a suspicion that led to trainers and doctors following league protocol to hold him out for the remainder of the third period Saturday. It’s likely that Boychuk will be evaluated by the medical staff today, and if a concussion is confirmed, he would have to be scratched for at least this week’s games against the Senators (tomorrow night), the Devils (Thursday), and the Islanders (Saturday).
The mounting injuries, noted Chiarelli, are partly the reason he has been diligently pursuing trade options the last couple of weeks.
“My motivating factors are, first of all, depth,’’ said Chiarelli, when asked his target areas for making a deal. “And then injury, especially to our forwards. Both Nathan and Rich remain out, and though we expect both are going to be back, you have to make sure you are covered.’’
Peverley is a virtual certainty to return by the start of April. Chiarelli said last week that, unlike some pessimists, he believes Horton will be back this season, though he acknowledged yesterday that no one can accurately predict when/if players will recover from brain injuries.
The Bruins learned the vagaries of brain injuries with Marc Savard, their No. 1 center and playmaker, who remains home in Ontario and is not expected to resume his career.
Per league rules, Chiarelli cannot discuss players currently with other clubs. One solid candidate could be Sami Pahlsson, the versatile ex-Bruin forward now with Columbus, and veteran defenseman Jaro Spacek, currently wasting away with the Hurricanes.
Pahlsson, 34, can play center and wing, versatility valued by Chiarelli and his executive staff. The ability to play all forward positions was a factor in the acquisitions last spring of both Chris Kelly and Peverley. Pahlsson is also a very accomplished penalty killer, a role that the injured Peverley normally embraces. The durable Swede was only 23, yet to make his NHL debut, when he was flipped here from Colorado in March 2000 as part of the Ray Bourque deal. He played only 17 games for Boston that season and then was dealt the following season to Anaheim for do-nothing Patrick Traverse and nothing-doing Andrei Nazarov.
Unlike Boychuk, the 38-year-old Spacek, who has never won a Cup since his NHL debut with Florida in ’98, is a lefthanded shot. He still has a low, accurate blast off the point, making him a potential asset for Boston’s No. 2 power-play unit, and he is also known for his engaging sense of humor, something every locker room can use. He doesn’t have Recchi’s leadership ability, but in a room that is living with the expectations inherent in having won the Cup, his levity might be as critical as his game.
Corvo is OK
Joe Corvo, smacked in the head when boarded by Kyle Turris in the third period Saturday night, was OK yesterday. “He tested fine,’’ said Chiarelli. Turris received no further discipline from the league for the hit. If Chiarelli can find another defenseman, Corvo likely would be the one to be sidelined. But history shows Cup-contending teams never can have too many blue liners, which is why Chiarelli grabbed Shane Hnidy off the scrap heap for last year’s run . . . According to Chiarelli, he expects to call up two players today from AHL Providence. Both Andrew Bodnarchuk and Josh Hennessy were demoted yesterday. “One or both could be back tomorrow,’’ said Chiarelli. “Or maybe it will be two others. We’re still deciding.’’ . . . The Bruins practice at 10:30 this morning in Wilmington . . . Chiarelli said he had extensive talks with one club about acquiring a forward, but the deal broke down when the potential trade partner started to win games and return to the postseason hunt.