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Peter Chiarelli Doesn’t Look Like He’s Having A Great Time Out There

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Today’s media availability does little to install confidence, quell fears

2017 NHL Awards - Arrivals
Chiarelli suggests that trading for Brandon Manning and Alex Petrovic weren’t knee-jerk reactions.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Peter Chiarelli held a press conference today. Because I am a masochist, I have transcribed some of it and offered some thoughts on what can best be described as one lonely lost general manager trying to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

If you want to sit through thirteen minutes of a man squirming under lights, you can watch the entire show here.

My comments are in italics. Chiarelli’s appear in regular text.

CHIARELLI: Um, so yesterday we made two transactions, we acquired Alex Petrovic from Florida in return for the higher of our thirds, that’s the condition of our pick, and Chris Wideman. The second transaction we traded Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison to Chicago for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell who’s playing in Europe, he’s a defenceman playing in Sweden right now.

These deals weren’t knee jerk reactions. We looked at the last seven or eight games since we’ve lost Klefbom and Russell and we’ve given up..following the Colorado game we’ve given up 31 goals in 7 games, and one win. So, knowing that, seeing how in two of the last three games we’ve given up over 40 shots per game, we felt it was imperative to shore up our defence right now at this critical juncture of the season.

...Understand the feedback that, you know, these aren’t top four defencemen, but they are good, solid defenders but they both defend hard, they both move well, and it’s something we felt we had to do at this point in time. These are two players who are gonna come in and help shore up our D. That was the rationale behind it.

...As far as Manning not playing in Chicago, he was a little bit of a victim of circumstances with respect to the coaching change.

...With regard to the Manning / Connor stuff, I spoke with Connor last year, we were speaking with Philadelphia on acquiring Brandon Manning and I had pulled Connor aside and asked him if he had a problem with this, and he said “no”, he said that he thinks the player would help us. So I wanted to make sure last year, I did not speak with Connor this year, I had told him in advance that we had made the transaction.

I can take some questions now.

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Okay, where to start.

  • Brandon Manning is not a good NHL player, and Chicago leaped at the opportunity to trade him. I’m pretty sure that has something to do as to why he was scratched for the last handful of games, but Chiarelli believes that Manning was a victim of circumstance. Yeah, the circumstance of not being a really effective NHL player.
  • You still traded for the dude who broke Connor McDavid’s collarbone and then talked trash about it. Couldn’t you have found a just-as-ineffective player to take up over two million in cap space? 800 other players have played at least one game in the NHL this year. I’m sure you could’ve done at least something else.
  • This goes without saying, but Chiarelli goes so far as to say that Petrovic and Manning are “good solid players”. I’ve got an hour for Petrovic, but I’ve got no time for Manning at all.
  • Chiarelli goes on to say that these aren’t ‘knee jerk reactions’, but am I really supposed to believe that you were scouting Manning since he was in Philadelphia? Come to think of it, he’s probably not lying, it probably wasn’t a knee jerk reaction.
  • He’s squirming in this interview. He wants it to be over, and he doesn’t want to answer questions, which is what he’s about to do.

Back to the interview.

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JASON GREGOR: When you look at Manning specifically, what do you see that he’s going to do better than what Kevin Gravel does, because if you look at the depth chart, he’s kinda gonna be battling with him on the left side

PETER CHIARELLI: Well that’s where I respectfully disagree with you, he’s an established player in the NHL he’s a good solid defender, he can make some offensive players, but from the offensive perspective you’re gonna see more, he’s played longer in the league, and he’s meaner. Kevin’s done well for us. This is about...this is about bringing in some players that can help our defence now. It doesn’t mean we’re out of looking for a higher-end D...we’ve dipped into our LTI (long-term injured reserve) money, you know, so we’ve went above and beyond right now, we will still continue to look, our owner’s given us the ability to dip into the LTI monies which we have..It’s a fair question, Jason, but he’s got more experience in the league, and he’s shown he can do more at this point. That’s our evaluation on him.

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  • There are probably 120 defencemen in this league that are better than Brandon Manning. What Chiarelli sees in him boggles my mind. Other than he’s a tough customer on a third pair, what is there?

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On Manning and Petrovic...”They’re not sexy players, and neither is Drake. These are bottom-half players that can make a difference.”

On Andrej Sekera: “I’m not going to comment on other than it’s taking a while”

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  • At this point, I’m not expecting to see Andrej Sekera anytime soon.
  • There are other questions from the media asking about where Petrovic and Manning slide into the lineup. Chiarelli says that they’re both third line players, though it’s unclear if they will be third line players while Klefbom, Sekera and Russell are injured.
  • There is no end in sight. Please make peace with your maker.