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Jacobs: Unacceptable, Disappointing Season So Far

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BostonBruins.com - On Tuesday morning, Charlie Jacobs was named Chief Executive Officer of Delaware North's Boston Holdings, which includes the Bruins and TD Garden.

Jacobs was named to the position by Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs. It also places him as CEO of the company's strategic real estate endeavors and ownership stake in NESN.

While the crossover has been an ongoing 18-month process, and 14 years in the works since Charlie moved his family from California to Massachusetts, it falls at a time when the Bruins are midway through a season in which they are barely treading water in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and a point out of a playoff position.

Still, the announcement provided an opportunity for the new CEO to give his thoughts on the current state of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins.

"I’d say, without question, this has been a very disappointing year," Jacobs stated in a press conference at TD Garden on Tuesday. "It’s unacceptable the way this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team. To see it deliver the way it has is unacceptable."

"For us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable," he reiterated later in the presser. "Everybody in the executive offices is fully aware how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process and it’s fluid right now."

"I can’t say at any moment we have a final decision other than to say that it’s been an utter disappointment and a failure, complete failure."

Jacobs has held several meetings within the past 24 hours regarding the team with the senior leadership, and specifically with President Cam Neely and General Manager Peter Chiarelli.

"This point in time, we’re still evaluating where this club is at, where our shortcomings are," said Jacobs. "And that’s back to my consultative process of really trying to figure out amongst the group where we can right this ship."

Jacobs was pointing to the "flat" structure of the organization he discussed in his press conference, noting that while he reserves the right to make a unilateral decision, that's rarely ever the case. The decision making is done mostly by consensus.

"I can just tell you that at the moment, this is a very fluid situation that is being monitored very closely," he said.

"We’re in constant state of evaluation right now. This is a fluid process."

Of note with the organizational announcement is that Charlie's father, Jeremy Jacobs, will be taking a step back from the CEO role, though he will still be the Chairman and be active in decision-making in regards to the team. More of the day-to-day operations will now fall under Charlie's responsibilities.

"More is being asked, and in turn, the expectation is that more will be delivered," said Jacobs. "And I certainly don’t want to disappoint in that regard."

With 40 games gone in the regular season, and 42 to go, the Bruins have time. Their 19-15-6 record is not what they had envisioned. A point out of playoff spot, with Florida on their heels, is not where anyone in the organization anticipated this team would be.

For the coaching staff and players, Jacobs' statements were accepted across the board. For them, the same sentiments have already been resonating within the group.

"Well, to be honest with you, I've always felt like we're under evaluation all the time," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Jacobs' press conference, and after hitting the ice with his team for a practice at TD Garden.

"You don't take this job and think that you're going to go in there and everything's OK. Every year, you're being evaluated on what's happening with the team and everything else and I think that's a fair assessment, that we all should be evaluated."

"I'm OK with that statement and we've made the playoffs seven years in a row with a lot of this group and our coaching staff. You know, at the same time, you look at the situation and you say, well what is the real issue? And how do we deal with it? And that's going to be up to them. So I have no issues."

"My job is always under evaluation. I evaluate myself. I evaluate my coaches, I evaluate the players as well…So maybe for you guys, it's a big statement. For me, it's not."

That mindset extends to the players, too.

"We all know that we're in that position and we put ourselves in that position, so the fact that they're saying it isn't a shock or surprise to anyone," said Brad Marchand. "We understand the situation we're in and what we've put ourselves in, so the main thing right now is we've got to look in here to bring ourselves out of this situation and improve on our record and if we do that, then we'll be OK."

"It's a business and they've got to make sure they can put a winning team on the ice and we know that."

"Obviously management, they put together a team where they expect to win and as a group in here, we expect to win too and it's our job to perform," said Torey Krug. "And when you're not performing up to the expectations, obviously you're at risk of losing your job."

"So everybody in here knows we can be better and we're going to be pulling together as a group and hopefully that brings us together as a group, too."

While the CEO's statements didn't necessarily send a shockwave through the team since they've been trying to work themselves out of this situation, it definitely made them perk up.

"You know, it's coming from the top. I'm sure if your guys' boss said the same thing to you, you'd probably buckle down a little bit more and do that," said Krug. "So we understand what has to be done and it's up to us to do it."

"It doesn't fall on anyone else's shoulders except the individuals in this room, and we take that responsibility and we're going to come together as a group and we're going to tackle this like we should."

The Bruins don't accept their current state as much as the coaches, management and ownership.

"It's frustrating. We don't enjoy being in this position and it's not accepted here, so we're dealing with it every day and trying to find ways to improve and climb out of it," said Marchand. "We're only a point out of playoff spot here, so it's not the end of the world, you know."

"If we get hot and play the way we can, then we're going to put ourselves in a good position, but the goal is right now to start playing that way."

Given the talk about evaluation, and the heightened awareness around the roster in its current state, the players and coaches are remaining focused on the group of individuals they have right now in the locker room.

"You're evaluated all the time and your'e always expected to produce and play your best and if you're not, they've got to make things work," Marchand said. "It's business for them and they've got to do their jobs and to do that, we've got to do ours if we want to stick around, so we all know that that could be coming, so hopefully we all buckle down and make sure that doesn't happen."

"Every day, we're talking as a group and individuals, to work through it and find different areas where we can improve on our game and everyone's trying to help each other out," he added. "We're all in this together, coaching staff and players, and we're working together."

The focus has been on turning around the team-wide frustration.

"My job in the last couple of days has been really to try and get the guys just to relax a little bit and not be so tense and hopefully these comments don't make it any worse," said Julien. "But this is what we have to do, and we'll get through it."

"I've had enough experience in this league, I've been through enough to go out there and take that group of players and make them feel comfortable and understand that they're capable of turning this around."

"I believe in this group, I really do. So that's what the question was asked yesterday, 'Do you believe in this group?' Absolutely. And it's up to us to make it work. Their job is to evaluate, our job is to bring the results, and that's what we're going to try and do."

"It falls on our shoulders, nobody else's," said Krug. "It's definitely a time to come together as a group and start picking away at this - whatever we have to do to get back into the playoff picture."

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