The Boston Bruins Philosophy is simple – play the game hard, responsibly, and tenaciously, or you’re out. Possessing one of the most defined organizational ideologies in the National Hockey League ensures the Bruins have a clear blueprint to build with, making player personnel decisions pretty cut and dry. Is he a Bruin or is he not? Over the last eight years the Bruins have not been shy about identifying star players for their lack of Bruin-like qualities and quickly shipping them out of town for the best possible package.
Bruins Training and Conditioning Coach, John Whitesides, professes the organization’s philosophy very clearly to the hopefuls at Bruins Development Camp, seen on the franchises’ mini series ‘Behind The B.’ Whitesides states to Bruins’ prospects, “It’s who wants to work,” says Whitesides, “who wants to put their balls on the line, who wants to be coachable, who listens to directions and who wants to compete. Any questions?”
Bruins General Manager, Peter Chiarelli has spent his entire tenure in Boston building toward the Big Bad Bruin design, and in 2011, his club won their first Stanley Cup in thirty-nine years, earning the mastermind a place in hockey history.
In his time as Ottawa Senators Assistant General Manager before joining the Bruins in May of 2006, Chiarelli established a relationship with Sens’ giant defender, Zdeno Chara. The familiarity between Peter and Big Z likely played a role in Chara ultimately deciding to agree to terms with the Bruins when he became an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 06.’ The addition of Chara was a big one, no pun intended. Zdeno Chara was the leader and fearless competitor the Bruins needed to ensure their design would translate in reality, on the ice.
Team President, Cam Neely is no longer a 50 goal scoring power forward, but his impact on the Bruins is still significant. Neely is a huge proponent of the Big Bad Bruin way of building teams. His contributions to management are in line with the organization’s overall philosophy to produce a hard to play against Stanley Cup contender, year after year.
Regarding Neely’s his relationship with Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien – On May 21, 2013, the Bruins’ President told 98.5 The Bruins Hub – “Right now, I’m not going into specifics, but I feel like we have a good group that is pulling in the same direction and ultimately we all want the same thing; to continue to win championships,” Neely added. “We have a staff in place that worked really well together and are very committed to do just that and continue to try and bring championships to Boston.” – NESN
The Bruins Say Bye To The Big Three
No other NHL franchise has intentionally parted ways with elite talents the likes of Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin over the last eight year period. The three high draft picks and projected life-long Bruin superstars were all traded away before the beginning of their glory days. In fact, Thornton was right on the cusp when he was moved out of town for a package of veteran roster players.
Jumbo Joe, You Got To Go
In 2005-06, Thornton joined the San Jose Sharks after the shocking decision by Bruins management to trade their franchise player and revamp themselves as the New Look B’s, without Joe as their leader. Thornton exploded for the Sharks that season, scoring an unbelievable 92 points in 58 games, for a total of 125 points, securing him the NHL’s Art Ross Trophy as leading scorer in the regular season.
The Bruins play defensive hockey. It’s how they choose to win games. Playing strict defence is a proven method used to win Cups, and in Thornton, there was a lack of compete that always hindered his reputation and ability to reach his potential as a Bruin. The Bruins didn’t want an Art Ross winner so much as they wanted a dominant physical presence, in Joe Thornton. And although he’s big enough to steamroll anyone in the NHL, that’s not the way the Sharks’ Captain plays.
*Note: Joe Thornton was traded before Peter Chiarelli took over as Bruins GM. The Big Bad Bruins philosophy is not new to Pete, it is however, an ideology he has worked hard to enforce.
Farewell Phil Kessel
Even more obviously than Joe Thornton who physically looked the part of a Bruins top guy, Phil Kessel was always out of place in Boston. Any other franchise in the league would have embraced the speedy scoring machine Phil showed signs of becoming right away in the Bruins Black and Gold. In his third and final season with the club, Kessel tallied 36 times, establishing himself as a regular goal threat on the Bruins’ right side. The breakout season really boosted Kessel’s trade value, which was evident the following offseason when the Bruins traded Phil to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two 1st round picks and a 2nd.
The Tyler Seguin Saga
Much has been publicized about the Bruins’ reasoning for trading away their twenty-one year old future sniper, Tyler Seguin. Rumours of his partying and irresponsible behaviour surfaced in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, becoming an even bigger story when the offseason began. However, Bruins’ President Cam Neely makes it pretty clear in the Bruins’ new series ‘Behind The B’ that trading Seguin was a hockey decision first and foremost.
In the season premiere, Neely discusses Seguin. The B’s President reveals a lot about the organization’s view on Tyler when he says, “On the ice, he as all sorts of skill. Off the ice, I don’t care how old you are, but after three years you should have some improvement in the areas the coaching staff have talked to him about. It’s a little slower developing than it should be and that’s because it’s the areas it’s difficult to get into for this game. For me, if we get the right deal for him, then it’s something we need to do.” – NESN
The Bruins Philosophy Is Conducive With Winning
The Bruins philosophy is simple and it works. The organization won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and were two wins away from another in 2013. Coming into this season they are considered one of the heavy favourites to challenge for the Cup again, and they’ve added some very Bruin like pieces this offseason to infuse new energy and hunger into a battle hardened lineup of existing pros.
The additions of prototypical Bruin Jarome Iginla and highly intelligent two-way player Loui Eriksson, create a potential for the Bruins to be even more specialized as a hard working, physical, tough to play against team this season than they were last year.
As for Seguin, he will likely flourish in Dallas, allowed to roam free offensively and play a #1 centre roll, garnering top offensive minutes. The loss of Seguin will undoubtedly look bad on paper if one is to count stats at the end of the season. But for the Bruins, regular season scoring titles are not a major concern of the organization, nor its core of hard working regulars Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Milan Lucic.
Joe Thornton’s Sharks have repeatedly failed to win a Stanley Cup, Phil Kessel’s Leafs are only just beginning to show signs of life, and the Dallas Stars are not quite in the conversation at the moment. Under current Bruins’ management, the B’s have a Cup victory, validating the notion that their philosophy is bigger than one high scoring player who doesn’t fit in.