BostonBruins.com - May 20, 2015 will serve as the date that Don Sweeney was named General Manager of the Boston Bruins, the eighth in the franchise's history.
There was much work that went into the month leading up to his introduction as GM -- a month-long interview process full of knowledge vetting and intense discussions -- and there will be much work moving forward, as Sweeney and the Bruins' management team look to get the organization back to being a Stanley Cup contender every year.
With that, let's take a walk through Sweeney's first day.
After all, this has only happened seven other times in team history, and marks just the fourth time since 1972. Sweeney joins a list that includes 'Ultimate Bruin' Milt Schmidt and Art Ross, the franchise's first coach and GM.
So, what has the past month been like for Sweeney, who was operating in his previous position as Assistant GM (and GM of the Providence Bruins), while also going through the exhaustive interview process?
BostonBruins.com — On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after being introduced as the eighth General Manager in Boston Bruins history, Don Sweeney gave Bruins Nation a chance to get to know him a little better.
Sweeney conducted a Twitter chat after his introductory press conferences, taking questions from fans about his vision for the future of the team, his management style, the importance of incorporating youth, speed and skill into Boston’s lineup, and even his nerves as he prepared to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park later that night.
In case you missed it, below is a compilation of Sweeney’s Q&A session in its entirety.
BOSTON — Charlie Jacobs and Cam Neely conducted an exhaustive, worldwide search that lasted over a month. They searched far and wide for the best candidate to lead the Bruins as the eighth general manager in club history.
When the search had concluded, the best candidate was someone who is already quite familiar with what it takes to succeed in Black & Gold.
That familiarity and that implicit understanding, said new GM Don Sweeney, is obviously not the only reason he was hired. But in his eyes, it is a significant part of why he will succeed.
“I think one of the distinct advantages I have is that I’ve been a Boston Bruin,” said Sweeney, who was introduced as general manager of the Bruins on Wednesday afternoon at TD Garden. “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 [in 2011].
“I know what resonates with our fan group. I know that our players have to have the will to want to play with that [Bruins] identity.”
A charity ping pong event, put on by Ninkovich, defensive end and linebacker for the New England Patriots.
Ninko's Ping Pong Challenge took place on Tuesday night at Game On! near Fenway Park, bringing together Boston's pro athletes from the Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, New England Revolution and the UFC.
Still in Boston, Lucic, Bergeorn, Rask and Seidenberg went to show their support.
"It's pretty cool we get to do events like this and we can come support a good cause like this and it's nice that we can get together on a lighter note and just kind of hang out and have some fun," Lucic said, of the camaraderie amongst the New England sports teams. "And obviously raise some money for a good cause."
BostonBruins.com - Torey Krug is coming back to Boston with new hardware from his first stint in the Red, White and Blue with Team USA.
Krug and the U.S. captured the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF Men's World Championship on Sunday (May 17) with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.
The game took place at O2 Arena in Prague, with a home crowd backing the Czechs.
The win gave the U.S. its second medal in the last three world championships (bronze in 2013), marking the first time that feat had been achieved by the country since 1952.
Krug logged 19:58 in ice time en route to the victory and posted a plus-1 rating. His lone shot on goal came on the power play off a one-timer stopped by Czech goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. While the U.S. didn't score on the man-advantage, its momentum triggered a goal from Mass. native Charlie Coyle with just 49.8 remaining in the second period that provided an important three-goal cushion.
BostonBruins.com — In all of the years Brad Marchand has donned the Spoked-B — all six of them — he had never been forced to pack up his locker so early.
He had never missed the playoffs — not until he looked up at the out-of-town scoreboard with a few minutes remaining in the Bruins’ final regular-season game at Tampa Bay on April 11 and saw that the Pittsburgh Penguins had beaten the Buffalo Sabres.
“It’s obviously very disappointing,” Marchand said on April 13, during Boston’s season-ending media availability. “It’s tough to describe. You have such high hopes coming into the year, and obviously, with this team, we’re expected to not just make the playoffs, but win the whole thing.”
There were still few minutes remaining in that final game at Tampa on April 11 when the Bruins learned their fate. They were left with little to play for in the waning minutes of what had officially become their last game of the 2014-15 season.
Krug and the United States will continue on to the semifinal round after defeating Switzerland 3-1, while Eriksson and Sweden's tournament came to an end with a 5-3 loss to Russia.
Both games took place in Ostrava, Czech Republic at CEZ Arena.
Team USA will next face Russia on Saturday (May 16), shifting to Prague for semifinal action. Game time is set for 1:15 p.m. ET (streamed live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
Krug logged 22:11 in the U.S. win, hopping on the ice for 30 shifts. Through eight games, the defenseman has five points off two power play goals and three assists, with a plus-4 rating. He has been paired with Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Justin Faulk, seeing ample minutes against the opponents' top lines, along with power play and penalty killing duties.
BostonBruins.com - Torey Krug and Loui Eriksson have wrapped up preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Men's World Championship in the Czech Republic, with both Bruins advancing to the quarterfinal round on Thursday, May 14.
Krug and the U.S. capped off their round-robin play with a 5-4 overtime win against Slovakia on Tuesday to clinch the top spot in their group (Group B). Boston University's Jack Eichel had the OT winner.
Team USA posted a 5-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record through seven games, with a plus-8 goal differential (22 goals for, 14 against). Russia, Finland and Belarus round out the other three teams from Group B who advanced to the quarterfinal.
Krug recorded two power play goals and three assists for five points through seven games with a plus-4 rating and a team-high 16 shots on goal. The defenseman averaged 22:05 in ice time per game, behind only fellow blueliners Justin Faulk (23:22) and Seth Jones (22:54).
BostonBruins.com - "Chiiiiiieeeeeef." It's a familiar refrain still heard at TD Garden, with the Hall of Famer bringing out cheers from fans every time he is shown on the video board during Bruins' games, usually holding court in the arena's "Garden Greats" suite.
For nearly 60 years, Johnny "The Chief" Bucyk has been synonymous with the Spoked-B.
Today, May 12, 2015, we celebrate his 80th birthday, and can all give him a collective, "Happy Birthday, Chief!" Because the Black and Gold would not be the same without him.
When Bucyk was traded to Boston from Detroit on June 10, 1957 at 22 years old, even he couldn't have imagined continuing on to a 23-season NHL career, with 556 goals (545 as a Bruin - still the franchise record) and 813 assists for 1,369 points in 1,540 games, sitting in the top-25 all-time in points. He put up another 124 in the playoffs as he helped the Bruins end a 29-year Stanley Cup drought in 1970, before winning it again in 1972. Sandwiched between the Cups, he had his best scoring season in 1970-71, putting up 51 goals and 116 points.
BostonBruins.com — Toward the end of the 2014-15 season, as Tuukka Rask’s number of games played continued to mount, the same question kept coming up over and over again.
Was it too much for him?
So two days after the season ended, Rask stood in front of his locker and took it upon himself to drive home one important point.
“This year, I just had to play, and I’m fine with that, just to make that clear,” he said. “But it’s not ideal, obviously.”
Of course, it’s never ideal for a goalie to play 70 games in a season, 12 games more than Rask’s prior career-high and the most by any Bruins goaltender in more than 50 years. It is never ideal for a goalie to appear in 19 of the final 21 games of the regular season.
But that, as Rask said many a time, is the situation the Bruins were in this season. They put themselves in a position where they needed to win every single game coming down the stretch, and the reigning Vezina Trophy winner gave them the best opportunity to win, night in and night out.