The Boston Bruins named former NHL defenseman Don Sweeney the franchise’s eighth General Manager. Sweeney’s previous position in the organization was assistant GM under former GM Peter Chiarelli who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Sweeney was rumored to be a candidate for the vacant position after Chiarelli was fired on April 15, 2015.
The new GM wasted no time when he signed forward Joonas Kemppainen from Finland. Kemppainen signed a one year, two-way contract. He also shoots right, which is something the Bruins have lacked in recent seasons. The announcement came today, one day after Sweeney was introduced as GM.
Sweeney joined the organization in 2006 as director of player development. Over a year later, he was promoted to director of hockey operations. The retired defenseman joined the Bruins in the 1988-1989 season and left as an unrestricted free agent in 2003 when he signed with the Dallas Stars to finish his sixteen year NHL career. Bruins President Cam Neely was Sweeney’s teammate for eight seasons.
I was a little skeptical about Sweens becoming GM of the Bruins when it was announced yesterday. However, I made it a point to watch the press conference and was impressed that he didn't dance around questions or make generalizations in his answers. Sweeney seems to have a vision for what type of team will take the ice for the 2015-2016 season.
I have to wonder when Sweeney was the assistant GM, if he didn't see eye to eye with some of the decisions and transactions Chiarelli made.
At the moment, Claude Julien remains in his coaching position with the team. I think he will stay there for the upcoming season. I have to believe Sweeney will change some of the on-ice personnel that will help Julien get back to the successful game plan that took the team to the Cup Final twice. It is easy to blame the coach when he doesn't adjust his game plan appropriately, but I feel it is the players who have to successfully execute that game plan.
Chances are the Bruins roster will not be the same as it is today. Players will come and go, but I am excited about the possibilities under a new GM. Whether or not Julien stay, that remains to be seen.
I can only hope never to hear the phrase “we’re in the evaluating process” ever again.