Between a Rock and a Hard Place

No, I am not an NHL General Manager, but hey, neither are you although I suspect there is one person in upper management that is reading this.

So, what to do with the Boston Bruins? I have no idea but it does appear the internet is filled with armchair owners who know exactly what to do to fix what ails this team. There are many that believe this team needs a change starting right at the top with President Cam Neely, right on down to the depth players.

There’s another large group that believe this is all on General Manager Don Sweeney and that this is the team that he assembled and is solely responsible for its makeup and failures.

Finally, there is another large group that puts the blame entirely on Coach Bruce Cassidy and that he’s lost the room and he is incapable of getting more out of his players.

Let me start with Neely. As President, he is responsible for everyone under and his responsibilities include making sure that they are acting in the team’s best interest. If not, he needs to make the changes. Is he involved in the day-to-day running of the franchise? Does he have to rubber stamp everything?

When it comes to Sweeney, you can definitely raise an eyebrow (or even two) at some of the signings he has made, not just this past off season but in his run as General Manager. I’m not going to dissect every single signing or trade; you can do that.

Finally, there is Cassidy who it’s said, fails to make adjustments until it’s to late. It’s also said he can’t bring along young players and that they rot under his coaching. I’m not here to defend him (or Sweeney and Neely for that matter) but if that’s the case, why have Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen been better in their most recent NHL tours than they ever were in the AHL?

What worries me most is that this franchise is going to trade their first-round pick in an attempt “to make a run.” Unless they are getting a young center with an ability to be a future first line center or a young left shot defender who can play on the top pair, it’s a scary proposition from where I sit. And even if they were able to make such a trade come to fruition, how far will it get them?

There is plenty of blame to go around but the ardent defenders of Neely, Sweeney and Cassidy fail to acknowledge that there is enough blame to go around and that includes the players.

As we’ve seen in Vancouver and Edmonton, all a coaching change does is buy you some time. The team will get a lift for sure. Even Montreal seems to be working harder under Martin St Louis. You could bring in a prime Scotty Bowman and that may fix things for the time being, but he’s not going to fix your prospect pool nor is he going to fill the holes in your roster.  You could bring in a prime Sam Pollock but he wouldn’t have the assets to trade his way out of this, although he’s been known to burn a GM or two.

As much as it pains me to say it, I think this team needs to stand pat and re-evaluate in the offseason. I hesitate in saying that because when they are on, they can be a good team. The problem is, when was the last time you seen a solid 60-minute effort from them?

In talking with some fans that want a total overhaul, then Charlie Jacobs has to do that re-evaluating. And I’m not holding my breath too long for that one.

Yup. Between a rock and a hard place.

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

2 thoughts on “Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  1. This is just the beginning of the mess. We need something similar to what Montreal is doing, as soon. It’s a shame that Sweeney has wasted the last 6 years of Bergeron’s career. He created a mess and Neely rubber-stamped it along the way. Neely too is at fault too. Bruce Cassidy’s time has run out and if I were in charge I would
    pick an assistant coach to take over his duties and as you say wait out the rest of the season. Culture change is needed here.
    In the meantime, an outside evaluation company should be hired to figure out what changes need to be made, who should make them etc. The fish rots at the head, and it’s very apparent when they take the ice as to how poorly this team has been built. Bruce Cassidy won’t be without employment long and it would be a favor to him in firing him.


    1. I would like to add that I have NEVER seen a softer, more confused on-ice product. Not only is the team soft, but they can’t put the puck in the ocean. Smart teams have copied the 2011 Boston Bruins and added toughness for their playoff runs. Sweeney seems to think that physicality and toughness and players standing up for each other
      is repugnant. He belongs in the NBA as a GM. I’m very disappointed in the job that he’s done.


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