Bruins to be bust as deadline approaches

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli expects to be very busy between now and the Feb. 28 trade deadline, trying to figure out his best option for filling the void left by the loss of center Marc Savard.

“We built a team that is strong down the middle with our centermen, and obviously there will be a gap now,” said Chiarelli, who will be able to use a prorated portion of Savard’s $4.007 million salary on a deal. “So we’re going to have to look to fill that gap now. We’re going to have to be a little more diligent seeing what’s out there.

“Right now we’re looking at (rookie) Zach Hamill up the middle, and I don’t know if he’s the answer or not. But we want to go far in the playoffs and we want some experience, too. So we’re going to have some flexibility now with replacement players. In the next few weeks before the trade deadline, we’ll be busy.”

Meanwhile, Chiarelli was asked his view of defenseman Andrew Ference’s criticism of teammate Daniel Paille for his hit against Dallas’ Raymond Sawada — comments condemned by some hockey analysts.

“I’m not trying to offend Andy,” Chiarelli said. “I’m just saying, as a manager, before you make comments about stuff, I look at the tape. I talk to the people involved if I can, and I make an assessment. My take is that he probably (was) very sensitive to it, and reactive and emotional.”