Chiarelli on job July 15

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

It will be the long goodbye for Senators assistant GM Peter Chiarelli.

While the Boston Bruins confirmed yesterday the 41-year-old Chiarelli has agreed to a four-year contact to become the seventh GM in the team's history, he won't officially leave his post with Ottawa until July 15.

In a settlement negotiated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday in New York, the teams agreed to allow Chiarelli to assist with the transition in Ottawa.

"Clearly, it's an encumbrance," Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs told the Boston Globe yesterday. "But we'll have to live with it. And we're okay with it. We're excited about (Chiarelli), very excited. He's a guy who I believe, one day, could advance beyond a general manager's role -- possibly be a team president."

Sources say Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, president Roy Mlakar and GM John Muckler balked at giving up Chiarelli because the club has 15 free agents to deal with this summer and Chiarelli plays a big role in signing players.

The biggest issue facing the Senators in the off-season will be trying to re-sign potential unrestricted free-agent defencemen Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara. However, it's hard to imagine Chiarelli will play much of a role in negotiations -- especially since he's going to one of Ottawa's divisional rivals.

It's expected the Senators will try to find a replacement for Chiarelli quickly.

"I'm happy for Peter as he finally gets his opportunity as a general manager," Muckler said in a statement. "Peter is going to a fine organization with the Boston Bruins. He will do a great job and get the Bruins back on their feet sooner than expected. Peter is an excellent hire and will be missed by our organization."

The Senators will receive a conditional draft from the Bruins for allowing Chiarelli out of the final two years of his contract.

Meanwhile, sources say it was an upset Melnyk who asked Bettman to intervene on the status of Chiarelli.

CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT

"My belief is Eugene Melnyk was really unhappy with this," a league executive said yesterday. "My feeling is he didn't like the idea of a valued employee just walking away and this may have caught Melnyk by surprise."

Asked about the hearing, Jacobs said there was a confidentiality agreement with Bettman.

"It was the meeting from hell," said Jacobs. "There's very little I'm allowed to divulge about the meeting, but it was tough and long ... it lasted all day."

That being said, the Bruins are happy to have Chiarelli. He is going to be given autonomy to run the organization, which means coach Mike Sullivan is likely on his last legs with the club.

The word out of Boston is even though Sullivan has a year left on his contract, it's doubtful he will be back next season. That will be one of the first decisions Chiarelli has to make after he is formally introduced next week.

"I know from my college days the passion and the excitement that the fans (in Boston) have for hockey and the Bruins and I share that excitement," Chiarelli, a former captain of the Harvard hockey team, said in a statement.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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