BOSTON -- Once a skyscraper is completely built and soaring to the sky, the architect gets to kick back and relish what he's accomplished.
That's just how Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli feels now that his club has won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.
"It feels really good," the fifth-year GM said Friday during a news conference at TD Garden. "And you know, everyone talks about a plan. Whenever a manager takes a job, they always have a plan or else they wouldn't be doing their job. And I've talked to other managers and managers-to-be and talked about certain plans. Pretty much everyone has a five-year plan, and so did we. And it's not like it fell exactly into place but we were adding certain elements, certain elements to get to that point.
"And it's happened -- so I'm a genius."
Chiarelli was obviously joking with that last line, as he and those in attendance got a good laugh. That the GM felt comfortable enough to lighten the mood showed both that he's reached some measure of satisfaction -- and that also the stresses of the Bruins' playoff run are finally off his shoulders.
Remember, it took three Game 7 wins -- the last one in the Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver -- for Boston to reach the top for the first time in 39 years. That's enough to make anyone with even a mild interest in the Bruins, let alone their GM, chew their fingernails down to the knuckle.
It must have been even more stressful for Chiarelli considering that the previous three seasons ended with the Bruins losing in a Game 7. The most painful of those was last year, when they blew a 3-0 series lead and couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in the Game 7 in the second round against Philadelphia. Despite the disappointment of that collapse, Chiarelli kept most of the core of that team together, giving that group a chance to redeem itself. He said the pain of that loss yielded benefits this spring.
"I think [the adversity] helped us tremendously -- to go through those experiences firsthand, to see the pain and experience the pain and see the pain on the players," he said. "So I was really confident that we were going to grow on that. I know it's easy to say in hindsight now, but you know there was something that -- with the core that we kept following last year's series loss -- we knew that they would grow on that. And we made sure it was a priority, we addressed it from day one of training camp and in all of our activities. If you go through history, recent history, there's always those teams that end up winning. There's a year, there's an experience that they grow from and we just happened to have two successive years that we were able to springboard off of."
Boston fans waited nearly 40 years for a Bruins title, even as the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics captured multiple championships. Chiarelli credited the fans for sticking by his club. He was looking forward to celebrating the victory with the entire city at Saturday's "rolling rally" parade. (NHL.com and the NHL Network will provide coverage of the celebration, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.)"The fans have made us better. They've made us better by demanding a lot," he said. "They've made us better by their reactions when they are in the building. And you know it's something that is theirs. As much as we say, and I've said this a couple of times since we've won, they can't take this away from us. Well, they can't take it away from the fans either. And I've seen the parades [for the other teams] from TV and they look pretty crazy and by all accounts this one will be similar to those, and they deserve it. And I know the players are excited about it and so am I. It's a real cool feeling and you're able to share it with the players, you are able to share it with the fans. It will be a special day."
The Bruins' coaching staff is signed for multiple seasons beyond this one and the team has only four unrestricted free agents, including retiree Mark Recchi, to deal with this summer. Chiarelli said that only a couple players will require offseason surgery, though he didn't have the specifics.
So it looks like Chiarelli has all the pieces are in place for a repeat.
"Holy cow. You know, my charge is to win. So that's what I have to plan to do," he said. "So we're in a good position, we've got a lot of the team under contract. We're in a good cap situation for once. We've got some young guys, we've got guys that are coming in. My charge is to win, so we have to continue to keep that standard."