Five questions with Peter Chiarelli

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:36 PM ET

Chiarelli is in his fifth season as general manager of the Boston Bruins, taking them from 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2005-06, the year before he took over, to Stanley Cup finalist in five years (there was a 40-point improvement in his first three years). He played four years of hockey at Harvard University (degree in Economics), got his law degree at the University of Ottawa and was a player agent for six years before joining the Ottawa Senators front office for seven years, the last two as assistant general manager. He joined the Bruins in May, 2006.

1. Have you even been able to enjoy this ride?

"Two or three managers who had been to the final called me and told me to make sure you enjoy it. They never did. In hindsight, they look back and wish they had enjoyed it more. It's hard to truly enjoy it when you want to win. You're really anxious because you're so close and it's been such a long grind to get to this spot. I can remember when we were jumping on a plane to go to Belfast and Prague. It's been quite a junket this year."

2. What do you value in your coach and players?

"It's a blue-collar town and as much as I knew that coming to Boston, you get an appreciation of it being there, feeling the history of the team, seeing how the fans respond, how the media responds. Every manager wants to inject hard work into the character of their team. We felt having Chara and Thomas and bringing (coach) Claude (Julien) in, who's defensively grounded, we could build from the back out and be proud of our defensive posture. We took knocks on it. I didn't go into the first day wanting a defensive team."

3. In what areas do you think you've improved as a general manager?

"I've been patient. Part of it comes with my makeup in general. Part of it comes from my time in Ottawa, where you have to be patient with the players you're developing. I've managed to maintain that level of patience and at the same time, recognize that you have to be very timely in making your deals. I'm trying to balance both having patience with significant matters and recognizing you have to make hay when the sun shines with certain deals. That's just experience."

4. How did losing four straight to Philly last spring after leading 3-0 affect the franchsie?

"We knew we needed scoring, right? That was the (Nathan) Horton deal. None of it was the exact byproduct of losing that series the way we lost it. We knew we'd grow from that. We also knew we needed to make some changes."

5. Where you feeling the heat when the playoffs started? Talk was both you and Julien could be gone if you lost to Montreal in the first round.

"I never felt it from my owner. The dynamic in an organization that expects to win is incredibly different from a team that just expects to be competitive. With that comes these pressures. You have a couple of bad games and you become the topic of all the talk shows. You just get used to it. What I can say is you put almost every waking moment into making decisions, examining, assessing the team and if that was my fate, I would have been able to walk away knowing I put everything into this team to try and make it a winner."

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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