Bruins Try to Cope With Speculation in Stressful Days Leading Up to NHL Trade Deadline


February 20, 2012

Bruins Try to Cope With Speculation in Stressful Days Leading Up to NHL Trade DeadlineThe annual frenzy has already begun, with a handful of NHL deals already starting to trickle in over the past few days.

By the time the trade deadline arrives Monday at 3 p.m., it will be a full deluge of deals.

That makes for a joyous time of year for many fans, as armchair GMs dream of the power forwards and puck-moving defensemen that could be added to their favorite clubs.

For the players in the league, the days and weeks leading up to the deadline can be a little less enjoyable, as the rumors of deals can be tough to escape. But the players have little choice but to deal with the potential of changes coming to their team as the speculation swirls.

"Obviously it's around," Bruins center Chris Kelly said in a recent interview with "It's around everywhere. It's kind of shoved in your face a lot of times. But I think it's how you deal with it. If you start worrying about it or it's taking over your mindset, I think you're going to be in trouble because those are things that are out of your control. All you can do is worry about going out, playing hard and doing your job.

"If a team feels that moving you is best for that team, then that's what they're going to do," Kelly added. "At the end of the day, you don't really have a say unless you've got one of those no-trade clauses. I think as you get older you realize that."

Kelly speaks from experience, having come to Boston from Ottawa before last year's deadline. He proved to be a valuable addition with his performance in Boston's Cup run, and has shown his value again this season with 14-13-27 totals and a selection as one of Boston's alternate captains.

Still, the fear of being dealt is ever present for many. Even those fortunate enough to be out of the rumor mill's spotlight or possessing some semblance of control with a no-trade clause have to fear seeing friends and teammates dealt away.

As important as the moves that brought Kelly, Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle to Boston last season were to the Bruins' championship, it still came at the cost of popular teammates Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler leaving the team.

"We lost a couple of good players last year that was pretty hurtful," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "But to get Kells and Pev was such a reward and you get to meet new guys. We understand that things like that happen, but when guys like that leave it kind of sucks for all of us because we all get along. We all hang out together."

That's no different this season, as the Bruins have remained a tight-knit group that sticks up for one another on the ice and hangs out together off it. But they're also a team in the midst of an ill-timed slump, going 4-7-0 in its last 11 games and being shut out four times in that span.

General manager Peter Chiarelli has stated repeatedly that he doesn't want to mess with the chemistry that helped Boston win the Cup last season, but some moves are likely before the deadline. Ideally, he'll just be making additions to the current roster at the expense of draft picks or prospects, but every Bruin knows it's possible they could see more friends and teammates shipped out. That's the nature of the business, even on a team no one wants to leave.

"I think if you ask everyone in here, everyone enjoys being around one another," Kelly said. "Everyone enjoys being on this team. That's been no secret around here."

The rumors that fly around the league are no secret either. The players know all too well the names that get bandied about, try as they might to ignore the talk.

"Over the years you kind of get used to the fact that there is a deadline," Paille said. "I mean, you look at [Jarome] Iginla, it seems like his name is in the rumors all the time. I couldn't imagine what he goes through. For me, I haven't heard my name in the rumors at all, and if it is, it happens. I'm not too worried about it.

"I like just focusing on hockey," Paille added. "It makes it a lot easier to play my game. If you get worried about that you start thinking too much and you don't play the way you need to play. For me, it's better to just ignore it."

Paille's approach is the one most players attempt, but it's easier said than done at this time of year once the dealing begins and players know the bulk of the moves — and the worries that accompany them — are still to come.

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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