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Murphy: Are Sweeney And Montgomery Safe?



Boston Bruins

Should Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney’s and head coach Jim Montgomery’s jobs be safe past this season if the Bruins are one and out again in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

The read here is yes, and an NHL source close to the situation told Boston Hockey Now on Saturday morning that the plan, ‘for now’ is to let Sweeney ‘reconstruct the roster’ with the $21.7 in projected salary cap space he’ll have and then see what Montgomery can do with what they hope is a much-improved roster next season. After next season, though, ‘neither is safe’ if there’s not a deep run in the 2025 Stanley Cup playoffs.

That makes sense and falls in line with what former Boston Bruins head coach and defenseman Mike Milbury said about Montgomery on WEEI this past Thursday. Speaking on his weekly segment on WEEI and The Greg Hill Show, Milbury was asked if Sweeney and Montgomery were in danger of losing their jobs should the Bruins fizzle out in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs that begin next Saturday.

“Boy, I don’t see how you could [fire him],” Milbury said of Montgomery. “But then again, I don’t see how you can’t comment on that. If he has that kind of firepower as he did last year, and they’re out in the first round, and clearly, he didn’t handle it as well as he should as his first run-through here. But they had a historic season. This year, boy, did anybody see this coming? The results? I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t see [Charlie] Coyle and [Pavel] Zacha playing one-two at center after replacing [Patrice] Bergeron and [David] Krejci, and they almost seamlessly got to 110, 111 points over the course of the season. It’s been remarkable.

But the whole deal is, you have some fun during the regular season, but you’ve got to make some advancement during the postseason. I don’t know how they change coaches if he loses in the first round again, but it’s gonna certainly put him on thin ice. But I don’t see them doing it.”

While the expectation is that it will be status quo behind the bench and with the top of the hockey operations department for at least another season, there could be changes in the hockey operations department and the coaching staff this offseason. Jim Montgomery still has two assistant coaches that he inherited in Chris Kelly and Joe Sacco. There’s been some chatter amongst NHL insiders that Kelly could wind up returning to the Ottawa Senators as a head or assistant coach. As for Sacco, it’s no secret that he’s interviewed to become a head coach again the last two offseasons and it’s likely that can’t happen here for at least another season. Will the Medford, MA native try for another head coaching gig and leave home again?

On the management side, Assistant General Manager and salary cap guru Evan Gold would be highly coveted around the NHL if the Boston Bruins were to allow him to interview.

As is the case with anything in the NHL, and life for that matter, none of this is etched in stone, but as the Boston Bruins prepare for the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, the only major changes that are expected, win or lose, are on the roster.


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