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Murph’s Take: With Or Without Bergeron, Sweeney Has One Chance Left

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Boston Bruins

How dependent is Don Sweeney’s future with the Boston Bruins on Patrice Bergeron’s future with the team?

By all accounts, it seems almost a certainty that Sweeney – who confirmed his current contract as general manager of the Boston Bruins is expiring – will return as GM of the Boston Bruins for the 2022-23 season. The current Bruins GM hinted as much to the media in his end of the season press conference Wednesday.

“I’m under contract for right now. I’ve had a discussion earlier in the year in terms of the indication of where my path will be and that will be determined in short order,” Don Sweeney said.

Make no doubt though that that path will be determined and guided by Bergeron’s decision on whether or not to retire after a 18-season, hall of fame career. On Monday, Bergeron confirmed to the media, in his end of the season media scrum, that he will either return to the Boston Bruins for the 2022-23 season (and maybe beyond?), or hang em up as arguably one of the Top 5 players to ever lace them up for the storied Original 6 franchise.

Ever since Bergeron’s former agent, Kent Hughes, became the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens back in January, there have been rampant rumors that if Bergeron were to move on from the Boston Bruins as an unrestricted free agent this July, he would entertain the idea of reuniting with his longtime agent. Bergeron did his best to shut that and all rumors down on Monday.

“No. I’ve been here for my whole career,” Bergeron promptly and bluntly replied when asked if he could envision playing for another NHL team.

Bergeron, who now has 400 goals and 982 career points in 1,216 career NHL games with the Bruins dating back to being the youngest player in the league as an 18-year-old back in the 2003-04 NHL season then reiterated his need to have time to figure things out.

“Obviously, [Boston] is a special place for me. It’s not on my mind right now. I just need to take time and regroup,” he said.

Could the amount of time Bergeron takes to make this life-altering decision have a direct impact on how long it takes for the Boston Bruins to make a final decision?

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According to a team source and another NHL team source on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins from Sweeney up to Cam Neely, and then to Charlie and Jeremy Jacobs, think that with or without Bergeron next season, their window to win a Stanley Cup is still slightly open. The Bruins are already being linked to NHL trade rumor buzz names like Minnesota Wild RFA-to-be Kevin Fiala and even veteran Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (despite a lofty $10.5 million cap hit in 2022-23, the final season of his current contract?).

So it would appear then, Bergeron’s decision and the amount of time he takes has no bearing the current contract talks to keep Sweeney as general manager for at least one more season. The Bruins, with Sweeney at the helm still, are intent on one more kick at the can, hoping that even without Bergeron, they can still bring home Lord Stanley with the likes of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy still on board.

On Wednesday, Sweeney spoke as if he knew was going to have another chance to accomplish the mission the Boston Bruins failed to accomplish in 2019 when they lost Game 7 on home ice to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

“No, I don’t think we did,” Sweeney replied when asked if the Bruins performed to their capabilities in the seven-game first round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. “My message was I believe we’ve left something on the table this year in terms of what we needed to accomplish, what our ultimate goals were to accomplish.”

With the potential loss of his longtime and current No. 1 center looming, Sweeney actually hinted at the potential return of his former and longtime No. 2 center, David Krejci, returning to don the Spoked B again.

“Again, has to line up for a number of reasons,” the Boston Bruins general manager replied when asked again about Krejci, who is currently teammates with longtime Bruins teammate David Pastrnak for Team Czechia at the 2022 World Championships in Finland. “Still looks like he values playing the game and being highly competitive and was highly productive. Seamlessly would probably fall back into knowing what our team is like and what we’re trying to accomplish, but again, it’s hypothetical for me at this point in time. I’ll cross that bridge when it’s presented.”

That doesn’t sound like a GM that’s nervous about losing his job but rather one who knows that with or without the greatest Boston Bruins player since the 2010-11 season, he’s got one more shot to finally do what his predecessor, and the only Bruins GM to win a Stanley Cup since Milt Schmidt in 1972, Peter Chiarelli did that very season. The read here is that Sweeney has a one-year deal in place and if he can’t lead the Bruins to their seventh Stanley Cup, he’s gone next June and the rebuild officially gets underway for the Boston Bruins.

Of course his chances of doing what Chiarelli did before him will be drastically increased if Bergeron doesn’t retire.

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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Keel863

Great, looking backwards at adding old players with big saries…look forward!

Sno Pro

Bruin fans better be patient, it took 39yrs to win a 6th cup and with the drafting that Sweeney and Neely have done over the last 6yrs it doesn’t look good. Last year out in the 2nd round this year out in the 1st round what’s up for next season may very well be no playoffs. If Bergy retires you know Marchy’s game will definitely weaken. If Sweeney stays this team will fall further down the standings. No number 1or 2 centre Hall, Smith, Haula,Grez, Carlo,Freadrick, Coyle, all 3rd or 4th liners. Grez to small for playoff hockey Carlo to… Read more »

William Mahoney

Don’t blame Sweeney for the2021-22 Bruins poor showing! I talk to neighbors in St. Steven N.B. Sweeney’s home town and the locals agree.

Rick W Murray

Sweeney is entirely to blame, the guy has ruined the franchise.

Kevin L

Don’t be an ass.

Art

If Bruins owner and management want to measure if they are succeeding on improving the team they can look at the past and see what so called “improvements” that the team had post season since they made the cup final in 2019! Sorry, but that window to win a Cup was then….and to think that this team can still win a Cup going forward is a pipe dream! Time tp face reality and stop deluding yourselves and your fans!

Orrfan

The idea of a Hall/Krejci/Pastrnak second line is beyond intriguing if they keep the band together, and perhaps could draw No. 46 back into the fold If the Bruins had had any sense, the “intriguing” Hall/Krejci/Pastrnak line should have been what “kept the band together” last season. To say nothing of playing Pasta with Krejci, past few seasons, instead of concentrating the B’s offensive talent on one line, making them a quick exit playoff team, past few seasons. Haggs is putting the cart before the horse, thinking they could draw Krejci back to a team that snubbed him for years,… Read more »

Delphine Delormier

If Don Sweeney seriously thinks that this team, with or without Patrice Bergeron, has a chance to win the Cup…doesn’t that automatically disqualify him as GM? Shouldn’t he be trying to identify and fill holes in the lineup, present and future, rather than spinning delusions about the relative strength of this squad? Carolina was clearly the superior team. And they’re arguably not even the strongest club in the p[layoffs. The Bruins could barely score on Carolina, in Carolina. An unbalanced lineup. that presents one scoring threat, is no threat to a decent defensive team. We’ve seen that for years now.… Read more »

Rick W Murray

The window is closed Sweeney needs to be fired and now! Don’t trust this dud with trying to fix an
unfixable problem he created.

DeanO

If Bruins senior management seriously believes it still has a “window” with or without a Hall of Fame-calibre player of Bergeron’s calibre, with the current roster and in-house minor players, they are well and truly deluded. In addition, it must be insulting to Bergy personally to know that he is so easily and quickly replaced. Though none of us are psychic, the lack of depth and scoring on this team, coupled with almost laughably bad drafting and trades (with minor exceptions), has condemned the Bs to a death spiral while its leadership core has aged, all with seemingly little executive… Read more »

Kevin L

There’s a reason (many apparently) why writers are not GM’s, etc.
This incessant subject in BeanTown is the Same Old.S**t I’ve heard & read since my first game in 1962 at the real Boston Garden. At this point I hear crickets.

I suppose it makes for good filler, though?

Last edited 4 months ago by Kevin L
SnoPro

Sweeney is staying because he’s a puppet for both Neely and Jacobs, the only way to see change is up to the fans if you keep selling out the TD gardens Jacob and Neely are laughing all the way to the bank. Jacobs is more interested in $$ than the fans . Bruins will be a middle of the road team for yrs. After the 2015 drafting fiasco and many more after that any upper management would’ve fired the GM. so this tells you what Jacobs and Neely are thinking, $$$ first fans second unless fans stop filling Jacobs pockets.

Aramist70

Jesus no way he has to go!!THIS TEAM IS NOT BUILT TO WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS!!great regular season team but ass backwards for what it takes to win in the playoffs.Sweeney is responsible for all of this.He should not have signed Grz or Reilly or back when we got John Moore.His team is built to win in Europe not the NHL playoffs.The reason why they have great regular seasons is because of the sheer determination and work ethic some teams just don’t want to play at the same pace as the Bruins night in and night out! But come Play-off… Read more »

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