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Press Conference Transcript with Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely and General Manager Don Sweeney

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS PRESS CONFERENCE

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
BOSTON BRUINS CEO CHARLIE JACOBS PRESS CONFERENCE, BOSTON BRUINS PRESIDENT CAM NEELY, BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY AND BOSTON BRUINS CEO CHARLIE JACOBS PRESS CONFERENCE AT 1:00 P.M.
Opening statements…
Charlie Jacobs: Good afternoon, everybody. Today is a great day, today is really I think a new era for Boston Bruins hockey. I hope our fan base out there, our season ticket holders, everyone in Bruins Nation, if you will, will realize this is a day to celebrate. Today is a culmination of roughly a month-long search to find our next GM. We’ve done a worldwide search, very thorough. I will not get into the candidates that we spoke to, other than to say with great pride we sit here and introduce Don Sweeney as our eighth general manager in Boston Bruins history. With that, I’ll ask Cam.

Cam Neely: So I’ll just walk through the process a little bit. It took longer than expected, a lot of it had to do with schedules, second interviews. We identified four candidates that we felt would be strong candidates to be the next GM of the Boston Bruins. Some with previous GM experience, others without. Ultimately, it boiled down to where we are as an organization, the team that we currently have, feeling like we don’t have to completely change a great deal. And the fact that Don knows the organization from top to bottom played a huge factor in the decision to go with Don Sweeney. He knows the coaching staff, he knows the scouts, he knows the players in Providence, he knows our prospects. He’s done a great job in the eight years that I’ve worked here. I’ve seen Don develop, I’ve seen his work ethic, and I have a good understanding of his commitment to the Boston Bruins. There’s been some reports that Harry Sinden was involved a little bit with the process and I’m gonna tell you he sat in on a few of the interviews; I’ve known Harry for close to 30 years at a professional level. Harry was there just more to advise a little bit, for me to bounce some things off of. I thought that was important, he’s got a lot of institutional knowledge, not just in the organization, obviously, but in the NHL in general. There’s also been some reports out there that because Don and I may have a friendship that’s one of the reasons why he was a strong candidate. I’ve been president of the Bruins since 2010, I have not hired a friend or someone close to me. I certainly wouldn’t hire a friend to be general manager of the Bruins. It’s a very important role in any organization and it’s something that I know Don is gonna do a great job at. First and foremost is we feel that Don will be extremely good at this job. He’s very passionate about the Bruins, he’s passionate about our fan base, and I think our fans will get to know Don a little bit better than they probably do. Having said that, I’m happy to announce Don as our eighth general manager and let Don give a little bit of flavor of what’s in store for this organization.

Don Sweeney: First and foremost, obviously I’m very, very excited, grateful for the opportunity. I’m very cognizant and respectful of the process that has gone on, specifically obviously I want to thank Mr. Jacobs, Charlie, and the entire Jacobs family, Cam. It means a lot to have gone through this process as exhaustive at times as it was, as challenging as it was, and come out the other side knowing they have the confidence in me to take this organization forward. Tremendous amount of great people that I have the opportunity to work with day in, day out, that I have had the chance to get to know over the past eight years in every different capacity. I think that when I came through in the interview process, knowing that I was confident in being able to lead this group where it needs to go to, it was a good feeling to have, as I said earlier, them bestow that confidence in me. It really isn’t about deserving, to be perfectly honest. A lot of people have talked a lot about that and being the sentimental favorite. I didn’t believe that for a second and that’s out of respect for the number of candidates and the difficulty. There are only 30 jobs in the National Hockey League. A lot of candidates, every one of them, were equally, probably as qualified. Obviously the institutional knowledge on my behalf probably tipped a bit in my favor, in some regards. The work ethic piece, knowing that I have the passion to do whatever’s it gonna take to make decisions that at times will not be easy. But I’m gonna make them as to what’s best to the interest of the Boston Bruins and everybody that I have a chance to work with. I know that my family has been a big part of that, a big part of my whole makeup as a person. I have to thank them because there’s a lot of nights that as you go through this you’re not at home and you really should be at times. They’ve made a tremendous amount of sacrifices and there with me in lockstep all the way. I’m excited about the challenge in front of us to get back to where we need to get to. I know what it’s like to be booed in this city, to be cheered in this city, as a player, and I expect at times to take criticism. But that’s part of it. And I think - we finished with 96 points this year, we did not meet expectations, but we’re not as far away as what people may think. We have some challenges, we have some flexibility issues that we have to get back out in front of, that we have to address head on. And we have to get back a little bit the aggressiveness that is lost in our group. And maybe that’s a result of being a little stagnant at times, to get ourselves in situations where we didn’t make adjustments and changes that at times you were comfortable to a degree of some of the success that we had been achieving. The group had won a Stanley Cup and gotten back to the finals, there’s a lot to be said for that. We have a coach in place at this time that has a lot of success and been a big part of that. There will be some changes going forward, personnel changes, there will be staff member changes. When we decide to make those will be in due time, but I’ll make the right decisions based on what’s the best decision for the organization, not necessarily the easiest one, but I’ll make what I think is the best one in conjunction with the great number of people that I have a chance to work with. So with that, I’ll certainly open it up and answer I’m sure what will be a flurry of questions in a bunch of different areas.

On the future of Head Coach Claude Julien…  
Don Sweeney: I’ve spoken with Claude [Julien]. I know it’s been reported that I had spoken to Claude as a prospective general manager candidate; that also is true. I spoke to Claude again this morning, and I spoke to him as a person now in a general manager’s seat. So I have some things that I want to sit down with Claude and go throw in a very orderly fashion as to where I think needs to change and what direction we need to change as a group. I also acknowledged to Claude during this whole process that I think tremendously of him as a coach and as a person, so I think it’s just about lining up philosophical approaches that I believe in, that he believes in, and that we can move the group forward. As I said, some of that will involve personnel decisions. Some of that will involve staff member decisions and or changes. That’s to be determined. He’s the coach of the Boston Bruins as of today; that’s for sure.

On the qualities he will look for in players that will be assets to the Bruins…
Don Sweeney: I think one of the distinct advantages I have is that I’ve been a Boston Bruin. I was a Boston Bruin for 15 years, knocked on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup and then won it as part of the management group. I know what resonates with our fan group. I know that our players have to have the will to want to play with that identity that I think you’re describing. You can have skill in any different fashion. Patrice Bergeron is a tremendously skilled player, but he’s a hard skilled player. All of our players have to understand that the four teams that are playing this week all have different attributes of skill, size, speed, grit — but they have a sacrifice level that it takes to win in the playoffs.  You have to have a blend of that to get there; we have to have more aggression in our game. I looked at a Calgary game this year in February where a team that was as hungry as what we used to be steamrolled us in the third period. We created very, very few scoring chances, if any. They were in our end the whole night. They ended up winning the game on somewhat of a fluky bounce, but they had turned the tide of the game, and there were too many nights where we weren’t able to do that. In years past, we had been able to do that. We need to get back to that mentality, and we certainly have a number of players to lead in that direction and that charge, and if other players aren’t willing to do that, then we’re going to make sure we find and identify the players that are. And I believe in that. The structure, the accountability piece that it takes to win — if you’re part of this organization — has to be in place. Ryan Spooner’s a great example. I know Ryan Spooner as well as anybody in this organization. And people have talked about being impatient, about integrating him into our lineup — there’s a progression that it takes for all players. Some teams call it extra seasoning; other teams just call it, you know, impatience to integrate into a lineup. They have to be ready to do what it’s going to take to play at this level and to win at this level, and sometimes it takes a little more time than other players. And other times, players identify that they’re ready for that challenge. We’re going to be a team that identifies players that are capable and ready to do that, regardless of their age. It’s going to be based on their ability, their impact, that they can make on a nightly basis on our hockey club.

On the timeline for potentially making changes to the coaching staff…
Don Sweeney: I’m going to take the necessary time to evaluate. It will start with Claude [Julien], and we’ll dissect a little bit of the personnel pieces that he feels on teams that he’s had in the past that he’s had success with, and what we currently have, what we need to identify that could be missing — and we’ll go from there. From a staff standpoint, there’s a bit of a shift that needs to come — from our transition game, from our ability to create anxiety in other teams, because I think we, at times, had a retreat mentality. You can be the best defensive team in the National Hockey League, and all four teams playing — as I referenced earlier — are very good teams. They suppress what we call shot value and scoring opportunities very, very well. Their goaltenders are a big part of it. We have a very good goaltender. But if you don’t create anxiety in the other team and have the ability to score goals in a time fashion or generate quality chances, then you’re going to find yourself chasing the game. And this year, we chased the game too much. We were behind in third periods, we didn’t score enough third period goals as to what we normally have in the past, and there are reasons for that. So the staff, to answer your question — it takes some time to evaluate the pieces that we need to get in place that can take the group forward.

On his plans for the immediate future in terms of managing the salary cap…
Don Sweeney: Well, I referenced flexibility as an issue that we need to get back out in front of. There’s a difference between cap compliance and cap management, and I think we need to make sure that we’re very cognizant of the latter rather than the former. Everybody in the league has to deal with cap compliance, but the teams that are in position to have some flexibility to make some changes, being at the deadline — the opportunity to make trades exist when other teams…you have a trading partner. And wanting to explore every personnel option that’s available to us in that regard to find the right people. And a lot of those changes, I can promise — I can sit and do an interview process and promise all these changes are going to occur, but that’s not necessarily the reality. You have to go through the process and talk to other teams and see whether or not there’s an alignment there.

On whether he feels a need to put his stamp on the team as soon as he can…
Don Sweeney: No, there’s nothing about a stamp, per se. I think the timing — sometimes we’ve made trades that have been on other teams’ timeline instead of our own, and it’s put us in a difficult situation. I’d like to reverse that and be in a situation where you have plenty of teams calling you because you know you’re assets are there and you’re in a better position to make the best deal for you as opposed to forcing a deal somewhere else.

On how much Don Sweeney’s familiarity with the Bruins was weighed against the need for fresh eyes…
Cam Neely: Well, Don [Sweeney] has some fresh eyes as well. He’s been in the organization obviously for a while in the management group, but he’s got some fresh eyes. For me, based on where we’re at as a team, and the players that we currently have, and where we think we can go in a shorter period of time, it was very important. I think someone new coming in, after going through the process and interviewing candidates, someone new coming in — that time for them to get the understanding of everybody in the organization would take the bulk of the season, in my opinion.

On how close he thinks the Bruins were to contending for the Stanley Cup in 2014-15…
Don Sweeney: I think it would have taken a lot of things to fall our way for us to have been in a position to challenge this year. And certainly injuries are a factor in that; I mean, you find out after the fact that coming down the stretch, [Zdeno] Chara’s been injured. Those things all have to be in place in order to make a run. We won that challenge a few years ago — we were healthy going through it. The following year, when we got back to the doorstep, we had some challenges and didn’t get through it. So it’s hard to predict. But you sure as hell want to be in that position, year after year. You don’t want to be on the outside looking in. I know that talking to some of our players this morning, that’s the way they feel as well, and that’s what you want to hear as a general manager on the job for the first day. You want to hear from the players that they realize they underperformed to some degree. It’s always going to come back to the players. You can talk about systems and such, but those guys know deep down that they’re the ones that are going to have to go out and implement and perform and the guys that I spoke to today are anxious to get back and move forward with the process. A big part of my makeup is the communication aspect. I’ve spoken to every player that’s ever gone up and down, in terms of to Providence and to Boston. I’ve had a one-on-one conversation with [them]. That’s not going to change in terms of my communication with players and being comfortable in a locker room. That was where I was comfortable for a lot of years, and I’m going to continue to do that, and that way, you have a pulse on things to support a coach and to support a staff, and hopefully have them challenge you back, because that’s what you want. You want people that are going to be willing to challenge or push you to get better.

On whether there is a need to organize a new front office staff…
Don Sweeney: No, we’re very cognizant of the timelines. Whether that factored into the overall decision-making process, obviously Cam [Neely] and Charlie [Jacobs] can speak to that. I’m very respectful of the process and knowing, having gone through it in [an] organization last year, there are ideas and things that certainly Cam and Charlie needed to hear from other teams to make the best decision, and what they felt was the best decision. Our own staff is very good. I feel very comfortable. I’ve spoken to every one of them this morning, in terms of where they’re at right now and their contributions. I’ve asked each and every one of them to identify the impact that they think is where they best serve so they can continue to challenge. Maybe it means we pull them in some other areas if they’re capable; it also might be that we do add another layer. Certainly, duties that have fallen with me that need to be — off-loaded is the wrong word, but certainly delegated in different directions —and again, it’s about other people contributing impact-wise. I feel very comfortable in terms of going through the amateur meetings, and where we’re at. We have the [NHL] Combine coming up, and our qualifying offers — all those things will meet deadlines and such. We have some discussions with some impending UFA’s, and decisions to make, and certainly the RFA side of things, and we’ll do that accordingly. We have to look at whether or not we’re adding because we don’t want to miss and we don’t have a gap in our staff.

On what he has learned about the organization through this search…
Cam Neely: Well, nothing really new. There was a lot of conversation about where we are with our cap, that took a lot of the conversations during our interview process. When you reach out and ask to speak to a candidate and they do their research, every candidate to a T, we started with the cap issues. So that was the bulk of the conversation at the start and then you hear - they don’t really have a good understanding, maybe the complete player payroll, contracts. I think that has a lot to do with CapGeek not being around anymore. But I found it a very interesting process, Fluto [Shinzawa], to be honest with you. I didn’t know what to expect, as I said earlier I wasn’t expecting it to go this long, but we took the time to make sure that after we identified the candidates that we wanted to meet with that we were making the right decision. It could have been very easy for us to say Don’s our guy without talking to anyone else, but that would’ve been the wrong thing to do for the organization.

On how important drafting and development is to the organization…
Don Sweeney: I think it’s paramount. It’s a lifeline to sustaining the level of play that you want to as an organization and not have dips. At times, we had a stretch where we didn’t do it very well. I think we’re pointed back in the right direction. I had a talk this morning with a couple of the guys about that very issue. I think part of it is to make sure that they have a real good understanding of whether or not there are gaps in our development group, be it on the back end, the forward group, the D group. Having that direct communication that allows them to select and identify the players that they want. I’ve asked them to draft players that they want, they have to understand what it takes to have the overall idea of what the organizational philosophy’s going to be. We have to communicate that effectively. We want to draft players that our identified as NHL players first and foremost, that are impact guys up and down our lineup. We have to be able to integrate. I spoke to earlier, when we’ve done it well, when we’ve developed players; be it [Torey] Krug, [Adam] McQuaid, [Johnny] Boychuk, I could go up and down, [Tuukka] Rask, generally we’ve allowed them the proper time it takes to develop into an NHL player. But they’re not ready-made players when they get here. It’s not plug and play system. That’s where the impatience come in at times and we’ve made some mistakes and allowed some players to leave this organization that we might regret. But going forward, I’d like to allow us the opportunity to not have the impatience and the integration peaks, and to work with them and allow them the proper time at the NHL level to get acclimated. You can’t trade anything in this league for experience.

On knowing what it means to be a Boston Bruins and what it takes to play for the organization…
Don Sweeney: I think it’s incredibly important. You spend the amount of time you do with the players in Providence, understand it’s one thing to throw the word culture and identity around, it’s another to live it, breathe it, and teach it, to some degree so that other players are drawn into that. Because we’ve talked about over time of what motivates kids nowadays and being able to communicate effectively with them, it’s not gonna stop when they get here. Somedays it’s easier to send my kids a text than it is to have a conversation. Well, by the time they get here we have to have that ability to continue to extract and have them develop as players, as people. They want to wear that. And then the culture, it sort of sustains itself. We have a tremendous leadership group here that have worn that jersey with a lot of pride. We need to make sure that they’re effectively communicating what that’s like so that it becomes it’s own, the locker room takes care of itself that way. But we have to be foundationally sound in every aspect and it starts right from the draft on forward. It starts with the development camp, it was the whole impetus behind the development camp, was to be able to give these people an idea of what it was going to take. We got to know about them, they got to know about us, and they got to know about each other. That doesn’t change from year to year. Obviously the method to it does, but the onus is on us, the onus is on us to adapt and change these people so we continue to get better.

On if he will meet with the core group of players to discuss where the team is headed…
Don Sweeney: Mike [Loftus], I’m going to take the time to talk with every player, I expect to speak with everyone to tell you the honest truth. Whether I have a face-to-face meeting, whether I have the opportunity depends on schedules, their schedules. But I certainly want to communicate effectively with each and every player, where they feel they’re at, as I would with guys going up to Providence. Like I’ve always said, [Bruins Strength and Conditioning Coach] John Whitesides, coaches, they should have zero surprise as to what’s walking through that door when they get a player. He’s not a finished product, but they should understand what he brings to the table. I think players themselves, it’s not a comfortable business, it’s a performance-based business. I think each and everyone of them should be able to effectively communicate, doesn’t matter if it’s a GM seat, coach’s seat, assistant’s seat, all of our staff members, to feel comfortable in that regard. I think the communication part is paramount.

On if Don Sweeney will have the same amount of autonomy as Peter Chiarelli had and if Cam Neely’s role will change at all…
Cam Neely: Well, from my perspective as president of the team, Don brought up communication, it’s all about communication. For me, Don has ideas and thoughts, things he’d like to do, I’d like to know about it. For me, it’s really about communication. When we went through the process interviewing candidates, that was a strong point of ours was the communication process. As I said after we let Peter go, I’m not a micromanager. Don’s going to be able to do his job but I want to know what’s going on. It’s my - as president of the team, I need to know what’s going on because if I get questions from ownership I need to know the answers. So for me it’s really, Don’s the GM, he’s going to be the GM, he’s going to make the decisions and communication’s going to be there, it has to be there.
   
On who will oversee Providence and if Jay Pandolfo’s duties will increase in that area…
Don Sweeney: Well certainly it’s something I’ve been hesitant to relinquish completely from the development aspect because I think it’s, again, paramount. Doesn’t matter if it’s any one person’s responsibility, we have staff members, scouts, Scotty Bradley, and Adam Creighton. I welcome them to certainly watch at any opportunity. Jay was a big, big addition to our group. I think there was a gap with our forward group, somebody that could identify and communicate effectively with them outside of what a coach is. There’s a coach-player relationship that exists, there’s also a development in the best interest of the individual player, not always about just the team. But it’s within the framework, so you’re able to have conversation back and forth. I think it’s gonna be paramount. Will Jay’s role expand? To be determined in that regard. But it was a big addition. Oversight of the Providence Bruins? Yeah, I think I’ve got enough on my plate that I will likely offload that from a general manager’s standpoint, from a day-to-day, from operational, I have a great relationship with Jeff Fear and Matt Poore in the room, great people, great partners. We have a long development affiliation agreement that we’ve worked in lockstep with each other. I’m protective and proud of that relationship and I’ll continue to spend a lot of time down there necessary to see our players effectively. But I believe at some point, whether that’s we hire somebody else, whether there’s internal candidates that are very, very equipped to be able to do that as well. I suspect I’ll have that conversation accordingly.

On the meaning of ‘playing like a Bruin’ and if there is room for different types of playing styles on the team…
Don Sweeney: No, there’s no one size fit approach. I think Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak are great examples of that. To be a successful team we’re going to have a blend of skill, size, speed, grit, all of the components it takes to win. So we have to be very aware of that. I use Ryan [Spooner] as an example because he has areas of his game that he has to continue to improve that I described as ‘hard skill’. I’ve had conversations with Pete [Chiarelli] and several players and comparing them to other players on other teams. They’re very capable of doing the things, it’s convincing them that they have to go through these experiences and come out the other side and continue to develop. It’s not going to be a one-dimensional player. I love the accountability and structure of our group. Our forward group works extremely hard. At times I think it’s too hard for them to go back on offense because the offense is on them. If we can create anxiety at the blue lines, create some turnovers and go back on offense, philosophically we can make it a little easier to find a way to score some goals and generate offensively at a higher degree and players are willing to do that, that doesn’t absolve them from the responsibilities of back pressure and understanding what it’s going to take defensively and blocking shots. It’s not going to be one stop shopping by any means, but it’s not plug and play either. We have to continue to identify the players that have the will to want to win and that comes in all different shapes and sizes.

On why this is a start of a new Bruins’ era and why do you need a new era after having such recent success…
Charlie Jacobs: let me clarify, I think this—by the way, somebody has a counter up here. I’ve been listening to Donny Sweeney talk and I find it incredibly impressive for him to communicate the way he has about his vision of the Bruins. I have roughly 25 minutes on my ticker that he’s been speaking and I agree with all the points that he’s made. I do find this to be a new era and a transition time for us in that we’re almost an 85 or 86 year old organization and this is our eighth General Manager in our history. This is a significant role. This is not something we take lightly as an organization to find a new leader, a new person to effectively lead the charge for our player personnel. When I say new era I mean that this really is a transition for us from where we were and where we want to go. Where we were last season is a team that didn’t make the playoffs. Where we want to go is a team that’s going to compete for the Cup year-in and-year out and have a consistent winning team. I find that Don [Sweeney] will be the best candidate for that—or is the best candidate for that. I very proudly sit up here with him today on a dais.

On tactically how you think this group can score more goals…
Don Sweeney: Well I referenced a couple things in terms of defensively be able to squash things a little more on the blue line. Again these are things I just peripherally talked to Claude [Julien] about, and the staff.  I’ve had numerous conversations of a lot of these lines with plenty of coaches at different levels and I’ve watched in terms of how different teams transition pucks and the adjustments other teams have made that we need to, and other teams adjusted to how we played, Fluto [Shinzawa], a few years back. There’s always going to be a league, part of that, a component to that where teams are going to adjust. The question is can you get out in front of that and make the adjustments at the right times and implement the personnel. So it’s going to be a blend of all of the above. Why did we score or not score enough goals in the third period. Those are areas that as manager you sit back and have to question, you have to put forth to other people to peel back and figure out why. Why is that the case. You’re generating in the first, you’re generating in the second, your generating some, not as many-maybe it’s a function of the other teams shutting it down-but you’re not scoring enough in the third period. Those are areas that you have to uncover. Our power play is an area that’s vastly improved. That’s probably personnel. That’s probably the ability to move people around and have some willingness to be flexible in the implementation, part of it. So we’re going to have to do that but we cannot be as predictable in those areas. I can sit up here as a career 52 goal scorer and tell you we can score more goals. You’ve got to practice it, you have to reinforce it, it’s a philosophical approach. You’ve got to convince players with smaller build it’s ok to go to the danger areas of the ice. But that’s things you have to engrain every day. It’s one thing you can just go out and say ‘ok the draft is coming up, we’ll go find that player’. Every team is saying the same thing, but there’s only four teams still playing and they’re playing one-goal games. There’s a lot of one goal games each and every night in the playoffs. You have to be able to defend. The structure and accountability pieces are not leaving the Boston Bruins philosophical approach. We do have to play with more aggression. That will be part of the personnel, that will be part of the coaching philosophy, so both.

On attributing bad luck to the lower shooting percentage last year and finding more scoring from within the team or from the outside…
Don Sweeney: I don’t generally attribute much to just luck. I think that goal scoring is an area, a skill where you can continue to get better at. Did we have a perfect scenario, perfect storm where everyone just had a down year shooting percentage-wise? Maybe. And other years did we score more goals that we weren’t expecting to score? Possibly. But let’s be in a position where we’re comfortable. 221 goals was the threshold to make the playoffs this year. We didn’t score that. So right away you’re behind the eight-ball. Understanding that your goal differential – there are teams that dramatically improved their goal differential and they made themselves into the playoffs. Ours was ok, but it wasn’t what it needed to be. We have to be cognizant that it was probably on the offensive side of the ledger more than the defensive side of the ledger. You put a little too much ownership on the goaltender. We have a tremendous goaltender but I think we rely on him a little too much at times this year and that’s dangerous. You look at Tuukka’s [Rask] post-January statistics and they were in a negative trend relative to what he generally does and that puts a little too much pressure to win in that environment. Its ok to have the mentality that you can win in the playoffs one-nothing, two-one but it’s difficult to approach an 82-game schedule if that’s what you just have to do. Again, I’m not deviating from the structure part of the defensive aspect of our organization at all, but we do have to find a way to generate more.

On how does knowing the organization from top to bottom help the transition into the GM role…
Don Sweeney: Well I think it’s a distinct advantage to know people, to be able to work with people and to be honest with you, people being comfortable working with me. I think that I would hope as I’ve talked to everybody that I’m an approachable person that way. I would expect people and I do expect people to continue to challenge me to make the right decision. Everybody’s asked about Peter’s [Chiarelli] relationship and my relationship and such, I’m grateful that I got a chance to learn from Peter. He’s certainly respected around the league, he landed on his feet pretty quickly as a testament to that but I had plenty of opportunities to shut a door and we had some knock downs. And that’s ok too. When the door opens, you didn’t hear about it. Going forward I expect the same type of communication, challenge and that all exists with players. There’s not a player that I haven’t had, when they come up and down, a frank discussion with what it will take them to play in the National Hockey League. Because I think I know what it takes to play in the National Hockey League and help a player get there and that’s really what it’s all about. I say this in development camp each and every year, in a perfect world every one of these kids plays with a Bruins uniform but in their world they want to play in the National hockey League. So I want to identify our guys who want to play for the Bruins and want to win.

On being a defenseman who broke into a team competing in the playoffs every year, what are your thoughts on having so many developing defenseman in the lineup…
Don Sweeney: Well I think Torey [Krug] and those guys stepped in pretty well when we went to the cup finals. Again the impact that players make, they generally dictate that as long as the opportunity is there and they’ll see things line up. You’re always going to have younger players up and down your lineup in this day and age. It’s inconceivable to think that you’re just going to roll out a veteran group because you cant. The salary cap will not allow it. Your seeing players emerge as the season goes along on other teams that are able to gain the experience, go through some growing pains, have the group be patient enough, tolerant to allow some of the growing pains, and you come out the other side generally better off and that’s usually where it comes out in the playoffs. And you’ll have some ebbs and flows to that, but that’s where you have to look to the core of your group. But how do you get to that next level if you don’t go through it? If you’re not given that opportunity when you’re ready to go through it, then how do you gain the experience? You develop them for somebody else? You can’t do that in this business either.
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