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Ward, Chiarelli comment on extension

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  May 21, 2008 04:04 PM

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Aaron Ward and GM Peter Chiarelli spoke this afternoon about the two-year, $5 million extension the defenseman signed yesterday.

"I believe Aaron took a little less money to stay here than he could have gotten elsewhere," Chiarelli said. "I'm very happy with Aaron for doing that. He fits into what we're trying to accomplish here. He's defense first but he can contribute offensively. He played well within our system. He's a tremendous leader. I'm ecstatic that he's back and decided to stay with us. I'm very happy to have him for the next little bit."

Ward reiterated that he preferred not to test free agency, having gone through the process in 2006 when he signed a two-year contract with the Rangers.

"I didn't want to endure the stress of free agency knowing that the Boston Bruins, as an organization, are going in the right direction, and I want to be part of it," Ward said. "Now my family can sit back, relax, and have some direction and consistency in our life. I want to be a member of the Boston Bruins for a while here. I'm looking forward to getting the season started, even though it's only May."

* Chiarelli didn't offer any developments in negotiations with UFA Glen Metropolit and RFAs Dennis Wideman, Mark Stuart, and Petteri Nokelainen. "We're still progressing on those fronts," Chiarelli said. "I don't have anything significant. We're still having discussions for the most part."

* Chiarelli said he gauged interest in Ward around the league by the number of inquires he received at the trade deadline.

* Even though Boston's 2008-09 cap hit will rise by an additional $2.5 million because of Ward's extension, Chiarelli said he plans to be in the hunt for help come July 1. "I think we're going to be very proactive," Chiarelli said. "But it has to be the right fit and it has to make sense. We'll be proactive but also prudent about it."

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