Bruins pleased with roster after pair of signings

The Bruins bowed out of the postseason in the first round two

months ago.

It still ”stings.”

Unable to recapture the magic that pushed them all the way to a

Stanley Cup championship in 2011, Boston packed up a little early

this season, after an unexpected first-round loss to seventh-seeded

Washington in seven games.

But general manager Peter Chiarelli has stated numerous times he

is not unhappy with the team’s makeup. After all, just 12 months

ago, the same nucleus won three grueling, seven-game series en

route to the crown.

On Wednesday, after announcing new deals for forwards Gregory

Campbell (three years) and Chris Kelly (four years), Chiarelli

reinforced his stance, especially with free agency set to begin on

July 1.

”I feel really good with our lineup right now,” he said. ”To

add a player still isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It gives

me a lot of flexibility going into the free agency, but this is as

solid of a forward group as you’re going to get. So if we do

nothing, that’s fine. But if something comes across that looks

attractive and we have to look at it, then we’ll look at it.”

For now, though, he likes what he sees, especially after locking

up Campbell and Kelly.

”They’re two really important pieces to our team,” he said,

”and to our effort to try to keep the team together as much as

possible.”

Boston scored 269 goals this season, and finished 49-29-4 with

102 points. They won the Northeast Division and snagged the No. 2

seed in the Eastern Conference before losing to the Capitals in a

tug-of-war series that featured several overtimes.

”When you do win, it really does take a toll on your body, but

more so, I believe, mentally,” Campbell said, thinking back to the

2011 run in which Boston defeated Montreal, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

and Vancouver. Only the Flyers series didn’t go the distance.

”It’s almost like two seasons become one long season. And so,

unfortunately this year was cut short earlier than anyone of us

expected or wanted to. But from our side of things, I think you

have to look at the positives and kind of regroup, and be ready for

next year.”

Campbell played in 78 games this season, posting eight goals and

16 points. But he had just 74 shots on goal, and sported a rating

of minus-3.

”I think the other thing that hits home, too, is seeing another

team lift the Stanley Cup,” said Campbell, who watched Los Angeles

defeat New Jersey on Monday to secure the Cup. ”And it’s like we

considered it ours for a year, and we worked so hard to get it, and

now that it’s not ours anymore. I think that really hits home, and

kind of allows us to get that hunger back, and hopefully strive for

it again this year.”

Kelly, in his first full season with Boston, played in all 82

games, finishing with 20 goals and 39 points. He was one of six

20-goal scorers on the Bruins, including six game-winners. He had

never scored more than 15 before in his nine-year career.

”I watched L.A. raise the Cup the other night, and it almost

makes you kind of get that sick feeling. You know, it stings a

little bit knowing that that was us a year ago and how great that

felt, and you want that taste back,” Kelly said. ”So, it is nice

to have the extended offseason to kind of mentally prepare and heal

whatever bumps and bruises you have. But I think at the end of the

day, if you’re playing into June, you and your team have done

something right, and I think that’s what everyone strives for.

”I think that’s the reason why Gregory and I signed back in

Boston, is for that opportunity to consistently play in the month

of June.”

Chiarelli, who was open and honest about goaltender Tim Thomas’

decision to take a year off in his last conference call with

reporters, addressed the situation again, but did not get into

additional details. The enigmatic Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy

last season as playoff MVP.

”I’ve talked to his agent in the last little bit, and nothing’s

changed,” Chiarelli said. ”If you’re asking me, `Has he clarified

that he’s not playing for the year?’ He’s stated that through his

agent that he’s not playing for the year, so I guess that’s where

that stands. But nothing’s really changed since the last time I

spoke.”

Thomas’ decision has opened the door for Tuukka Rask to be the

anchor in front of the Boston net. Rask was 11-8 this season, with

a 2.05 goals-against average and three shutouts. In 2009, he won 22

games.

”I’m operating under the premise,” Chiarelli said, ”that our

goalies will be Tuukka (Rask) and Anton (Khudobin).”