Observations from Don Sweeney’s Hiring as Bruins General Manager

On Wednesday, the Bruins named Don Sweeney the 8th General Manager in team history. The news was met with a combination of MEH and, strangely, anger that the Bruins didn’t “think outside the box” or whatever faux outrage generated by something. Who knows, maybe Deflategate just has us angry at anything.

There were also some interesting tidbits that came out of yesterday’s press conference. And with that, here are some observations:

1. Claude Julien didn’t get the strongest endorsement:  Sweeney said that Julien is the coach of the Bruins “as of today, for sure.” If I were Claude I would be updating my resume juuuuuuust in case. Now, Sweeney also said that Julien and the coaching staff will have to make some adjustments, and if he can, then he stays. If Sweeney doesn’t think that Julient can adjust, then he’s gone. But Sweeney should move fast, in order to give Julien a chance to get a new gig if he wants, and for the Bruins to find a new coach with the candidate pool drying up.

2. Sweeney wasn’t a “unanimous” choice: According to one report, there was some push, namely from Charlie Jacobs and Harry Sinden, for Jeff Gorton. Here are the problems with that: 1.  The Bruins couldn’t wait what with several key decisions to make, the draft approaching, etc. and 2. the Rangers reportedly wouldn’t give the Bruins permission. So it was a waste time. And here is the issue I have with bringing Sinden back in to the fold to a certain degree, it’s a case of too many cooks. If Cam Neely is your President, then let him make the call, period. Don’t dust Sinden off (with all due respect) as it cuts into Neely and Jacobs’ pull within the organization.

3. Cam Neely spoke of a lack of communication: One of the more interesting items from the press conference was when Neely spoke of a lack of communication with former GM Peter Chiarelli. “There were times when I felt like I didn’t know exactly what was happening whether it was a confidence in knowing, or not,” admitted Neely. “Communication [in the past] could have been better. I would have liked it to be better.” Well, here is the problem with that, Cam. YOU’RE THE PRESIDENT OF THE TEAM. If you want an answer on something, just ask. Or demand. Did Chiarelli just make these decisions on his own? Did he ignore input from Neely and/or others? If so then he probably deserved to go as you can’t have two people with essentially the same stroke. If not, then what the hell? How did the Reilly Smith extension happen? How did Greg Campbell and Danny Paille get resigned? This, to me, is a serious issue that will hopefully be rectified with Sweeney’s hiring

4. Not sure I get the Bruins media takes: It’s pretty obvious where some in the Bruins media stand with regard to the firing of Peter Chiarelli. And it’s embarrassing. To wit, from the Boston Herald:

“Before his tenure as Bruins general manager ended April 15, Peter Chiarelli, in private moments, let it be known that he did not always welcome the oversight from team president Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs — the questioning and second-guessing that did not make his job any easier. You could hardly blame Chiarelli, who had decades of experience in the business of hockey as a GM, assistant GM and player agent. He made mistakes, yes, but he had a consistent track record of success”

Huh? What? A “track record of success?” That’s either a short track or a short record, as if you look at it overall the misses probably outweigh the hits, particularly with the drafts from 2007-2009, the mistakes with the salary cap, and on and on. And if I hear or read one more “Well, he did draft Joe Colborne so that has to count for something.” No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to count for anything. Oh, and you don’t like YOUR BOSSES questioning your decisions? Too. Freaking. Bad. Welcome to the real world, Peter. Oh, and maybe they should have so Reilly Smith didn’t get $3,5M or Greg Campbell $1.9M or almost trade Ryan Spooner for Chris Stewart, or literally give away Craig Cunningham and Matt Fraser for nothing. You know, things like that. Give me a break.

And then this, also from the Herald:

“Common sense dictates that if the Bruins were going to fire Claude Julien, they would have done it weeks ago. Firing Julien would make no sense, just as firing Chiarelli seemed foolish, unfair and actually somewhat bizarre.”

Explain to me how it was foolish, or unfair, or bizarre? Pretty sure the reasons are clear at this point, from the lack of communication to the drafting to the cap management. So what are we missing? God send him some chocolates if you miss him that much.

There’s more, but I won’t bore you, I’m sure you can find it yourself and scratch your head at the takes on your own time.

5. Let’s not do anymore Twitter Chats: The Bruins did a Twitter chat later in the afternoon using the hashtag #AskGMSweens. Which is just, I mean, c’mon. At any rate, some questions, were funny, as you would expect:











And the responses were, um, less than thrilling.  Sweeney was obviously in an awkward spot, and it certainly could’ve been a lot worse, but let’s just drop these next time, K?







Lifelong Bruins fan whose hockey career peaked in high school. Now a hockey dad.

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