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Monday, September 11, 2006

Expecting the Best...

At the eve of a new NHL season, I'm excited. Excited by the new rules, by the fact that the cap system is slowly starting to give its fruits and by the fact that, since a very long time now, my favorite team is right on track. The next question could be, how long? In my opinion it could be for a very long time. Here's the 3 reasons why you should expect the best from the B's.

Ownership commitment:

A funny statement, but a true one. While, at the end of the last season, the Jacobs told everybody that he wouldn't be "business as usual", we were doubting that (maybe only our friend Stinger was willing to give a shot at Jacobs Jr... ). Doubting him we were because for 25 years, we saw an owner committed to only one single thing, money. What ever the product on ice; whatever the people in the front office, "Show me the money". This summer things have turned around. Not that Jacobs don't want to make money anymore. No, he will and wants more! But this time, he had to do something huge to make sure that the B's will stay a on too of revenues. You have to give credit where it's due. Jacobs promise an overhaul and he delivered. He basically revamped the whole office by hiring Chiarelli.

The architech was ready to work and Lewis, Habscheid and Benning were hired to restore credibility that this organization lost for many, many years. Don't make any mistake here, those people are qualify for the job and when you want to reach the higher level, you have to hire those peoples who;

1- know what they are doing and
2- have a realistic plan on how to win a championship.

There's no coincidence if, from those signing, you see people coming from winning organizations like Ottawa, and Detroit. Like or not, this kind of overhaul that demanded commitment, and whatever the motivation needed, Jacobs delivered and not only in the front office, but also on the ice. Good marketing strategy? A move to improve public relationship? Sure bet. But this time, like no other years, we will have a quality product on the ice.

The roster:

Readers should look for Matt's excellent column regarding the signing the B's made this summer... One thing for sure, even if Chiarelli and Gorton were credited for those signing (especially Chara and Savard), Jacobs showed his commitment by signing a 5 years to Chara, 4 years to Savard and 5 years for Bergeron. Once again give to credit where it's due. There's no GM on this earth who would sign those players long term without the approval of the boss. The best thing for B's fan is the fact that those signings, basically, have two goals:

1- Improve the team and fill a need
2- Give to the youngs players a path to follow on how to lead and how to win.

When you look at the defensive squad and all the quality prospects who played last year (Alberts, Jurcina, Mark Stuart, Lashoff ), the presence of Chara is worth all the millions he will earn. In a long term persepctive, this signing will be a BIG payoff. Sometimes, as a fan, we overlooked the "psychological" presence of a player and the impact that he can have on his team. In the case of Chara, he will bring experience, leadership and workethic to the young D corp which really needs a mentor to complete their development. If the plan goes exactly as he should be, the B's will have one of the best defensive corps in the league in a year or two.

Sounds great? Well, the best thing is to come because those players except for Chara, Murray and Savard are still very young. Look at it, Bergeron, Boyes, Alberts, Kessel, Lashoff, Mark Stuart etc. etc... This team could be competetive for a very, very longtime. Remember the stretch where Ottawa spoiled their fans with a consistent winning team? Well, the B's have all the ingredients of that receipe with young skilled players, a competent coaching staff to develope them and an owner, for now, who is committed to win and do it the right way.

The focus:

Coming from a one year hiatus and having an owner who promised a contender, everything was set to provoke an explosive situation. Especially with all the doubts surrounding JJ's sincerity regarding those issues. Didn't we get burned for 25 years? The result was predictable and all season long, the team had to battle with issues like O'connell who didn't have a clue on what he was doing, especially in the free agent market. Sullivan who didn't have any answers to solve a team who seems to puzzled him all year long and all the controversy regarding the captaincy and the JT trade. All year, the team, the fans, the media focused on everything but hockey. Each week had his drama (Bruins stupid marketing promo), his piece of incompetence from the front office (Samsonov for Reasonner uh?), his number of player on the shelf (Zham-off) and his number of holdouts. Hockey was evacuated and that's why this team was so mediocre last year. This summer could be resume as "few news, good news". No controversy, no holdout, no malcontent... is this a dream? And guess what, you have an extra guilty pleasure...malcontent are elsewhere (Columbus, Philadelphia).

Yes, there is lots of reason for optimism. This new season seems very promising not because we want to do some wishful thinking, but simply because this time, this organization decided to do the right thing at the right time. They decide to follow footprints from teams who have won championships. Maybe that's an indication that finally, Jacobs and co. have learn. Learned that everything has an end. Jacobs had no choice, despite by fans and media, he had to move. He have to put aside his ego and realize that the B's could turn as his worst nightmare. Finally, he gave fans what they wanted the most, a chance to compete, a chance to contend, a chance to win. Something that every organization should target year after year...and now the Bruins will.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are putting too much into your judgement that the new is better than the old. do you think sinden and mike oconnell liked to lose? do you think jacobs likes to lose? we know he doesnt like to lose money.
now get this straight this years team is credited to jacobs, sinden and mike oc ten times more than chiarelli. chiarelli was left with an partially open canvas that gorton (a sinden and oc guy) painted. if mike oc really thought he was making great signings last summer these people would still be clogging your line up...the lines you are so excited about are all mike and harry's. think about it?

8:01 AM  

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