By now, most Bruins fans have heard that Joe Sacco, a native of Medford, MA was added to the Boston Bruins coaching staff. David Warsofsky an UFA defenseman with the P-Bruins was re-signed to a one year two-way contract. This leaves the Bruins with three RFA's still unsigned and I expect progress on at least two if not all three to be completed by next Friday. Left unsigned at this point are Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser. The salary cap is ever tightening and some creative negotiations will take place with Smith and Krug. I expect probably 1-2 year deals with each player in the $1-1.7 million range for each and expect Fraser to get a 1-2 year, two-way contract.
Joe Sacco was released after last season as an assistant with the Sabres and had previously been the Head Coach with the Avalanche the previous 4 seasons. Joe was a journeyman forward with five different NHL teams during a 13 year career. As a coach he is well known for his ability to have impact on special teams skills. It is reported through other sources that he lobbied hard for the job with Claude Jullien and met with him several times, winning the Coach over in the Team's search for a new assistant. Many were expecting Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to get the job and he may well be disappointed. However this was a wise decision to keep a darn fine coach where he needs to be to help the organization and Sacco brings the coaching set of a forward behind the bench who is long on experience and respect as a coach and former player.
Traditionally since GM Peter Chiarelli has taken over, he tries to complete team roster business before August 1st and gives his staff 10-14 days off before preparing for the start of training camp. This time is always well needed by the staff and traditionally ends the business of the last year. When they again come back to the office, it is the start of the new season and the players are invited to camp, travel is arranged and accommodations for housing for the incoming coaches and players is started. The tweaking begins with the rosters and coaches meetings. New contracts for the following year start to be discussed and formed for players who may become UFA's and RFA's that are higher profile. These affairs will carry through camp so that it's all hockey once the season starts on October 8th.
About August 20th, expect to hear stories of players filtering back into the area for some charity events and the team Captains, ( Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci), will probably organize some informal skates of team members prior to pre-season camp opening on or about September 18th. It is hoped and expected that Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid will have all recovered from their off-season surgeries and be able to pass fitness tests to start the season.
My next post will be about the Goalies and Defensemen from last season and where they fit coming into the new year. However, it is possible that breaking news could interrupt that sequence.
Until Next Time !