Bruins Management Wasn't The Problem For Once

Austin Sabourin
May 27, 2023  (6:32)

The 2022-23 regular season was a remarkable journey for the Boston Bruins, filled with memorable moments and achievements that captivated fans and set new NHL records.

Their remarkable performance made them strong contenders for playoff success. However, their dreams were shattered when they were eliminated in the first round by the Florida Panthers, leaving disappointed fans searching for answers. Many critics have pointed fingers at General Manager Don Sweeney, but is he truly responsible? In this article, we closely analyze the Bruins' season, their series loss to the Panthers, and Sweeney's role in the team's performance.
The Boston Bruins had an extraordinary run throughout the 2022-23 regular season, surpassing expectations and breaking both organizational and league records. They finished as the NHL's top team, earning the prestigious President's Trophy. The team's success can be attributed to the exceptional performances of key players who consistently stepped up when it mattered most, as well as the guidance provided by the leadership core. The Bruins showcased their depth and chemistry throughout the season, displaying resilience and competitiveness from beginning to end.
The 2022-23 campaign had an air of urgency, similar to a "last dance" scenario, with the Boston team driven to win for their veterans, particularly Captain Patrice Bergeron and center David Krejci. However, when the fearless leader, Bergeron, suffered a herniated disk late in the regular season, an unusual feeling began to creep in as the team entered the 2023 postseason. Even after an initial 3-1 victory in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there were noticeable vulnerabilities exposed. The high determination and focus suddenly turned into desperation during the first contest at TD Garden.
From that point forward, the path only grew more challenging, regardless of how long the Bruins managed to prolong their stay in the opening round seven-game playoff series. As news trickled out following their elimination, reports surfaced about injuries and players battling through physical ailments. Such circumstances are far from ideal for achieving success, regardless of the first-round opponent.

The First Round Series Loss to the Florida Panthers

Despite their dominance in the regular season, the Bruins couldn't sustain that momentum into the playoffs. In a hard-fought seven-game series, the Florida Panthers emerged as the victors, eliminating the Bruins with a 4-3 scoreline. The Bruins' struggle to find postseason success in the first round persisted, with the Panthers repeating what the Carolina Hurricanes had done the previous season, beating the Bruins 4-3.
The last time Boston advanced beyond the opening round in the playoffs was in the spring of 2021 when the New York Islanders won the second-round series 4-2. The Panthers proved to be formidable opponents, exposing weaknesses in Boston's game plan and capitalizing on their opportunities. Ultimately, the Bruins were unable to overcome the relentless determination of the Panthers and extend their postseason run.

Don Sweeney's Performance as General Manager

Since taking the reins of the Bruins organization in 2015, Don Sweeney has overseen a period of relative success for the team. His strategic drafting, trades, and signings have played a significant role in shaping the Bruins' roster and building a competitive team. While not every move has been flawless, it is difficult to argue that Sweeney hasn't positioned the Bruins for success during his tenure.
During the 2022-23 season, Sweeney's influence was evident in the team's achievements. He made crucial additions to the roster, equipping the coaching staff with the necessary tools to excel. Blaming Sweeney solely for the Bruins' playoff exit would be unfair, considering the integral role he played in their regular-season accomplishments, especially with the bold moves made leading up to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.

The Real Culprits Responsible for the Bruins' Disappointing Early Playoff Exit

While it's easy to point fingers at Don Sweeney for the Bruins' premature departure from the postseason, there are several factors that played a role in their downfall, many of which were beyond Sweeney's control. Injuries to key players, breakdowns in team chemistry, and questionable coaching decisions all contributed to the Bruins' inability to progress past the first round.
It's crucial to bear in mind that even the most well-thought-out plans can unravel in the unpredictable and high-pressure environment of NHL playoffs. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of a general manager, a team falls short. In this case, a significant portion of the responsibility and team failures can be attributed to the coaching staff on the bench and the players on the ice.
During the year-end press conference held by the Bruins' management and ownership nearly two weeks ago, Sweeney emphasized collective accountability, acknowledging that everyone within the organization must take ownership of their shortcomings. The panel present at the press conference, consisting of Sweeney, Team President Cam Neely, Team Owner Charlie Jacobs, and Head Coach Jim Montgomery, expressed their disappointment following a promising season, while also recognizing the need for improved execution moving forward.
Jim Montgomery, in particular, faced criticism for some questionable decisions made during the series against the Panthers. He acknowledged his role in the team's downfall and expressed a commitment to reflecting on the events of the season to prevent a recurrence in the future. Montgomery revealed his intention to initiate discussions during the summer to develop a plan for the upcoming year, understanding that significant changes may occur on the coaching staff and within the team's overall chemistry.
Source: Blackngoldhockey

NHL players in this story
Patrice Bergeron
David Krejci
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Bruins Management Wasn't The Problem For Once

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