Spotlight runs in family for Bruins GM

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

BOSTON -- If Boston Bruins' rookie general manager Peter Chiarelli starts feeling the heat for his team's sluggish start, he has no shortage of options to turn to for advice.

On one hand, he could call his uncle, Bob Chiarelli who, up until earlier this week, was the mayor of Ottawa.

Or, he could quickly ring up his father-in-law, George Brancato, the former coaching great of the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders.

Whether it be running a city or a football team, uncle Bob and coach George know how gruelling the spotlight can be.

"Both have been in high-stakes jobs and have been good counsellors for me," Peter said yesterday. "They know what it's like to be under the microscope -- George in sports, Bob in politics."

The personable Chiarelli is aware of how much sports means here in Boston. But with the Red Sox shelling out $51.1 million US just to talk contract with Japanese pitching star Daisuke Matsuzaka, and the three-time NFL champion New England Patriots dominating the sports buzz in The Hub, the Bruins and struggling NBA Celtics are temporarily in the background.

Maybe that's a good thing for a young, talented Bruins team that almost required name tags in training camp because of all the new faces. That group of newcomers included Chiarelli and head coach Dave Lewis.

"There were a lot of introductions and shaking hands at camp," said Chiarelli, who was the point man for contract negotiations with the Ottawa Senators before being wooed by the Bruins.

"Our record is disappointing. But I'm a realist. We knew it might take some time. We've been up and down, and to me, that shows we're not a cohesive unit yet."

With skilled youngsters like Phil Kessel, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes combining with the leadership of Zdeno Chara and Glen Murray, the potential is there. The Achilles heel is between the pipes, where Tim Thomas has struggled and Hannu Toivonen sprained his ankle while on a stint in the AHL.

"I can't just point at the goaltending,"said Chiarelli, whose Bruins host the Maple Leafs tonight. "They've been up and down, just like the entire team."

Chiarelli, a Harvard alumnus, is said to still be kicking tires around the league in search for another goalie.


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