The Boston Bruins are on the verge of becoming the laughing stock of the National Hockey League.
Last week, I wrote about how the Bruins should move on from Claude Julien. Clearly, the club disagreed with me and most fans when they decided to bring back Julien for another season. Julien is an awesome coach, no one will disagree with this, but in sports, and in life, everything comes to an end.
When a team misses the playoffs two straight seasons and flame out in the final two weeks of both seasons, it’s over. Is it all Julien’s fault? No, clearly not. He deserves some of the blame however. How can a team start off so slow and end so poorly in two straight seasons and the coach gets to keep his job?
Beyond the coach, the President and general manager deserve a lot of blame. Cam Neely or Don Sweeney? No one knows who is calling the shots down at TD Garden. Is Charlie Jacobs making decisions? Or, even worse, is Jeremy Jacobs making the decisions? No one has any idea. The roster is old and declining. Chara and Seidenberg are worsening at incredible rates and none of the young defenseman developed last season.
An organization needs to have a direct line from the top to the bottom. Disagreement is fine – even encouraged – within an organization. It’s good to have different opinions on how to build a hockey team. The problem is, there has to be someone who has the final say. Peter Chiarelli used to have the final say and when he got fired in 2014, it is assumed that Cam Neely now has that power.
Neely hired Sweeney to handle the day-to-day work of managing a team but in my opinion, Neely is making the decisions. Which is fine, just don’t go blaming Sweeney for any bad moves if Cam is calling the shots. The Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes trade looks like a disaster through year one. Failing to acquire legitimate defenseman was another short coming from the front office. It seems like the only good moves they made were singing Matt Beleskey and getting a good return for Milan Lucic.
Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs have a belief that Boston can rebuild on the fly. They expect the Bruins to qualify for the playoffs and acquire good young assets at the same time. This is a lot easier said than done. The Red Wings are the shining example of a team who barely make the playoffs and still acquire good young players like Larkin and Nyquist.
Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” When half of the Bruins want to go into a rebuild, and the other half want to make the playoffs, disaster is upon us. I simply do not have enough faith in the front office to get the job done. Buckle up, Bruins fans.