WILMINGTON, Mass. — As the media scrum around him in the Bruins dressing room at Ristuccia Arena scattered away, Chris Kelly looked up and smiled.
“Guess I am the flavor of the week, eh?” Kelly joked.
But after another performance in which he showed that he is more than just a third-line checking forward by scoring two goals in the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, Kelly is now second on his team in goals with nine and many are hoping he becomes a long-term flavor and re-signs with Boston before becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2012.
Kelly, who was dealt to Boston from Ottawa just before the trade deadline last February, told ESPNBoston.com on Tuesday that there have been no talks yet to extend his stay with the Bruins but that both parties are interested in getting a deal done.
“I want to stay but honestly we as players can’t let ourselves think about that stuff,” said Kelly, who is in the final season of a four-year deal signed with Ottawa that pays him $2.1 million per season. “That’s why we have agents and they take care of that. But honestly, I’ve let it be known how much I love it here and I know Peter [Chiarelli] is going to do what he believes is best for this team and I think his track record in that regard speaks for itself. He wants to do what’s best for the organization and he’ll do that.”
Kelly became a key cog on the ice in the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup last spring and also became an important piece in the Bruins’ leadership core as witnessed by the team voting him to be an alternate captain this season. He said he loves playing for the Bruins and living in Boston.
“Boston is everything you could ask for — especially coming from Ottawa to another hockey market in a huge U.S. city — I get to experience city living and come into a great locker room full of great guys,” Kelly said. “I get to come to a great team and city and win a championship and feel part of it, not just, ‘Oh yeah, we picked up a guy at the trade deadline who came along for the ride,’ but they made me feel welcome right from the start. I think Rich [Peverley] would say the same and Tomas [Kaberle]. This is a great place to play.”