Make no mistake, the Boston Bruins have had a subpar offseason at best and privately, team management, the coaching staff, and the players would likely agree. However, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and given Boston Bruins team owner Jeremy Jacobs is getting pummeled by the pandemic financially and the league is mired in uncertainty like never before, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s seat is the opposite of hot as he continues to handle things exactly the way Jacobs needs. Anything to the contrary, like the column below, is off the mark.
In the humble opinion of this puck scribe, the NHLPA is right and the owners are wrong. So will the NHLPA dig in even more or will they end up giving in and losing more money to the owners?
Murals of Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand and other NHLers are raising money to fight cancer and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe may be looking to the wrong NFL coach for inspiration.
That and more in the latest Boston Hockey Now Puck Links!
Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s offseason moves have been underwhelming, to say the least. …that is unless you’re team owner Jeremy Jacobs. Sweeney has done the bare minimum to keep his team in contention with the signings he’s made but he’s likely saved his owner some much-needed extra flow right now. Team President Cam Neely is on the record as saying Jacobs never set an internal ‘hockey spending’ internal salary cap, but Sweeney was able to sign arguably his second-biggest free agent (restricted or unrestricted) behind Torey Krug to a very team-friendly deal.
Signing RFA winger Jake DeBrusk to a two-year, $7.2 million contract a week ago, and UFA forward Craig Smith earlier in the offseason could be just the type of steals to keep the Bruins in contention for the Stanley Cup if DeBrusk finally finds those second and third gears and becomes a more versatile player. That gives the Bruins that potential scoring depth they could use if DeBrusk comes through and saves having to pay more for say a Mike Hoffman who does not come with a guarantee that he can fill that scoring void in the top six. Amazingly though there are suggestions starting to float that Sweeney will be the one to pay the price if the Bruins don’t compete for the Cup again. (Causeway Crowd)
Sweeney’s frugal ways are also going to help the Boston Bruins considering the uncertainty and an expected 2-3 seasons of a flattened cap. Some of that uncertainty hanging over the NHL right now is, unfortunately, the increasing prospect that there may not be a 2020-21 NHL season if the owners and the NHLPA can’t resolve their dispute that the players should give back more money right now to ensure a season. Founder of NYI Hockey Now Christian Arnold, his cohost Sean Cuthbert and I discussed the rapid divide growing between the two sides on Hockey Night In New York. (NYI Hockey Now)
Another product of some of Sweeney’s salary cap mastery, Brad Marchand, took part in what would’ve been the ninth annual ‘Smashfest’ ping pong tournament fundraiser for cancer. This year, the founder and former Boston Bruins forward Domenic Moore decided to infuse his other passion, art, to slot in for the ping pong matches that can’t be held due to COVID. What resulted was a cool trip into who the likes of Marchand, Calder Trophy winner Cale Makar and Philadelphia Flyers forward and Dorchester, MA native Kevin Hayes are and what makes them tick. All of this was cast out through a street artist’s murals. (NHL.com)
The praise for former Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk continues to roll in after he announced his retirement last week. (NYI Hockey Now)
For a team that habitually chokes, I’d be worried that head coach Sheldon Keefe is drawing inspiration from Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. (TSN)
Who won the Erik Karlsson trade from two years ago? The San Jose Sharks or the Ottawa Senators? (San Jose Hockey Now)
The best NHL head coach ever, Scotty Bowman, thinks that his former team’s current roster has enough team toughness to hang and compete for the Stanley Cup. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
For Murph’s Music Pick Of The Day, we’re sticking with the Irish Punk theme and Canadian bands as well. The Mahones are a great time in person and just a brilliant group of band members, including my mates Sean Ryan and Finny O’Connell. Put them on your list of bands to go check out when we can attend concerts again! (The Mahones)