Bruins hoping personnel changes lead to growth
The Boston Bruins finally gave their team the shake-up that management threatened for years. Gone are Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg. Instead, there's Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo and Matt Irwin.
While Bruins GM Don Sweeney did keep some of the team's core players such as Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Sweeney said he hopes he made enough tweaks to the lineup to help the team re-focus on getting back into the playoffs.
"I remember when Billy Guerin a long time ago had told me, you walk into that new locker room for the first time, you're re-energized with people around you," Sweeney told NHL.com. "And I think it can be similar when you have had some change going on, some player personnel change, and hopefully our guys will recognize that as a core leadership group and really, really bring this group together and get back to grow together. They know how it's done. The accountability and structure piece, that's not going anywhere. Our guys know how to win and need to charge that direction."
The Bruins missed the playoffs last season for just the sixth time in 41 years, and both Chara and Krejci missed significant time during the 2014-15 season with injury. But there were concerns throughout the season about the team's desire to win, and coach Claude Julien questioned numerous times why his team was not giving a better effort. The Bruins made it clear that the 2014-15 result was unacceptable, as the team immediately fired former GM Peter Chiarelli after the season ended, and the numerous offseason moves featuring big-name players showed the front office would not accept the status quo from the team's core group.
Questions remain, however -- especially on defense, where Boston has yet to find a replacement for Dougie Hamilton. Considering captain Zdeno Chara's age (38 years old), that's a problem the Bruins will have to solve quickly.