Fans of the Boston Bruins have grown accustomed to watching hockey through the winter and into May. This 2014-15 season, however, is a different story. The Boston Bruins have failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Due to the problems that plagued the Bruins all season long, some changes came to the Bruins front office on Wednesday. Most notably, the Bruins fired General Manager Peter Chiarelli. Chiarelli has been with the Bruins for the past nine seasons. Two of Chiarelli’s teams made the Stanley Cup Finals, one was the winner of a Presidents’ Trophy and seven took trips to the playoffs.
While the team is usually one filled with familiar faces and great personalities, it has seemingly struggled with a loss of identity this season following the departure of a few stars during the off-season. The Bruins also were struggling with salary cap issues at the start of the 2014-15 season. The team had multiple players with heavy contracts and almost no younger, lower-priced talent. This season, due to a signing of star player Jarome Iginla, the team had “slightly less than $4.8 million in overages,” the Globe reported.
The elimination of Chiarelli and a few lower-level scouts does not come as a surprise to many Bruins fans. Bruins President Cam Neely made it clear that Chiarelli would be on the chopping block if the season did not turn around.
The Globe’s Boston Bruins beat writer Fluto Shinzawa addressed the reasons for Chiarelli’s firing on Wednesday, stating, “the Bruins couldn’t score because they didn’t have enough players who could play with skill and pace … Out of training camp, their youngsters couldn’t even push to make the fourth line, which was begging for overhaul … These are the GM’s responsibilities.”
The changes in the Bruins front office may not be finished yet. The head coach, Claude Julien, might be following Chiarelli out the door. The decision as to who will take over the head-coaching job has yet to be made. The choice as to whether to keep Julien or send him packing will be up to the new general manager once he or she is hired. Neely, however, does have a lot of say regarding the issue. Neely wanted to fire Julien after the Bruins first started to crumble this season, but he was unable to do so due to the front office’s restrictions of personnel. Therefore, Julien’s job just might be safe.
The candidates for new general manager include Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero and Nashville Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton, as well as a few others. Someone who is already involved in the Bruins organization could also fill the general manager position.
Whoever comes in to lead the Bruins next season will have a lot of work to do. The Bruins have been a beloved fixture of Boston sports for years, and fans will not accept another season like this one. Bruins fans do not like the inability to see the team in the playoffs this season and will be itching for a deep playoff run come next May.