|Charlie Jacobs fires warning shot across Bruins organization||01.06.15 at 1:04 pm ET|
Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday to announce that he has been named CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, which runs the Bruins, TD Garden and NESN. Suspicions of the press conference’s timing were confirmed when Jacobs used the opportunity to fire warning shots across the Bruins organization.
Jacobs said that the entire Bruins organization is under evaluation, something he repeatedly referred to as a “fluid process.” He noted that he had met with both team president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli to discuss the team’s status within the last 24 hours.
Asked whether players, coaches or management should be worried about their jobs, Jacobs repeated, “It’s a fluid process.”
At 19-15-6, the Bruins currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. Jacobs said missing the playoffs would be an “incredible failure.”
“When you think about what has been put into this team, in terms of … all of the scouting, all of the drafting, all of the money spent on player personnel, for us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable,” Jacobs said. “Everybody in the executive office is fully aware of how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process, and it’s fluid. I can’t say at any moment that we have a final decision other than to say it would be an utter disappointment and a failure.’
Claude Julien batted down a question Monday about whether players should fear for their jobs, but having the Principal of the team come out and say it forced Julien to weigh in.
“To be honest with you, I’ve always felt that we’re under evaluation all the time,” Julien said. “You don’t take this job and go in there and think it’s OK. Every year you’re being evaluated on what’s going on with the team and everything else. I think that’s a fair assessment. We all should be evaluated. Whether because he’s saying it now, is it because of the situation? Maybe. I don’t know, that’s up to Charlie to answer that. I’m OK with that statement.
“We made the playoffs seven years in a row with a lot of this group and this coaching staff, so at the same time, you look at the situation and you say what is the real issue and how do we deal with it, and that’s going to be up to them. So I have no issues. My job is always under evaluation, and I evaluate myself. I evaluate my coaches as well, I evaluate the players as well. I do that also. So I don’t know, maybe for you guys it’s a big statement — for me, it’s not.”
Julien was given a contract extension earlier this season. He compared this year’s Bruins to last season’s Red Wings, a squad that dealt with injuries to key players and made the playoffs. That’s a tough comparison to make, as the Bruins, who have missed Zdeno Chara and David Krejci for stretches, are completely healthy heading into the second half of the season.
“I guess everybody evaluates differently,” Julien said. “I look at our situation right now a lot like the Detroit Red Wings last year. A lot of injuries, a lot of in-and-outs and everything else. I’m not using excuses. We’ve not had the stability that we’d like to have, and it’s made for a rough road. Last year they made the playoffs with two or three games left. I’m not saying we’re going to be there with two or three games left. My evaluation and my job is to turn this thing around as quick as possible. There was no panic there. They understood the situation. I think right here, I don’t know how they evaluate the situation, but I know for a fact our guys, our group, our coaching staff, we’re going to try our best. It’s not good enough right now, but we’re determined to turn this thing around. Once it’s turned around, everyone will have smiles on their faces.
“Nobody likes to lose. The urgency that you’re alluding to, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have that same urgency before even he said that. That would be a knock on our group. There is some urgency even if not everybody believes it. My job in the last couple days has been to get the guys to relax a little bit and not get so tense. Hopefully these comments don’t make it any worse. This is what we’ve got to deal with. I’ve got enough experience in this league to take this group of players and make them feel comfortable and understand that they’re capable of turning this around. I believe in this group, I really do.”
|Bruins break ground on Warrior Ice Arena as construction of practice facility begins||12.10.14 at 4:53 pm ET|
The Bruins broke ground on their new practice facility, which will be called Warrior Ice Arena, on Wednesday. Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli, Mayor Marty Walsh and New Balance chairman Jim Davis were among those on hand for the event.
Warrior Ice Arena, which will be located in Brighton as part of New Balance’s Boston Landing project, is expected to open in September of 2016. The Bruins will continue to practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington until then.
That’s great news for the Bruins, eventually. Though both Neely and Jacobs thanked Ristuccia at every opportunity Wednesday, Ristuccia is not an NHL-caliber practice facility. Furthermore, its location is inconvenient to Boston.
The Bruins don’t have many things on which they can’t sell players. They’re a winning organization, they have a good coach, they spend to the cap annually and they have people in the front office who players throughout the league respect. Their practice facility, on paper, is really their only clear shortcoming when it comes to places to play for prospective free agents.
“I really think it means a lot to players. It means a lot to the organization and to the players,” Jacobs said. “What I mean by the players is if I’m one of them — Big Zee, Looch or Seth Griffith or whoever it is – you’re doing that grind of back and forth to the rink. Likewise, on an off day when the Celtics may be playing or there’s an event in the building, you’re out here. It means a lot to have a shorter commute.
“It makes life a lot easier, as we probably all are aware, but then you think about courting potential free agents. To be able to take them to not only the Garden and show them the work we’ve done there, but say, ‘Hey, listen. Come check out our practice facility,’ that’s a big selling point for a lot of clubs. It should be one for Boston’s and it will be very soon.”
Both Neely and Jacobs said that the team’s priority was to build a new facility within Route 128, with Jacobs saying he was “over the moon” with how things fell together with New Balance. Jacobs added that he feels the Bruins will “set [an] industry standard in terms of amenities, technology and quality when it comes to this training facility.”
|Charlie Jacobs on a window of opportunity for Bruins: ‘I do believe we’ll be right back there’||05.20.14 at 2:55 pm ET|
With a talented core and a young group of complimentary players in the fold, Bruins management and ownership feels there won’t be a drop-off in performance for while.
As a matter of fact, owner Jeremy Jacobs, son Charlie and team president Cam Neely said Tuesday during their season-ending media availability that there’s no reason to think the Bruins aren’t poised for another run at the Stanley Cup in 2015.
“[There’s] a tremendous amount of confidence in our both on-ice leadership and off-the-ice leadership,” Charlie Jacobs said. “A lot of character in our dressing room, and it starts with Zee [Zdeno Chara], but listen ‘ there are a lot of complimentary pieces, and when you consider Patrice [Bergeron] and Krech [David Krejci], and we may have lost something with Andy Ference but we picked it up with Jarome [Iginla]. And then there’s a lot of character and leadership, and they held each other accountable, and you saw in your exit interviews ‘ they all felt as though they maybe didn’t necessarily play their best but they let the team down, and that meant more to them than, say, their individual stats. And I think that speaks volumes about the mentality in the locker room itself, and that’s what you aspire to have.”
The Bruins reportedly did suffer a bit of a hit Tuesday with word that assistant general manager Jim Benning has been named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing the fired Mike Gillis.
“In terms of our organizational leadership, I think with Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli] and Don Sweeney and Jim [Benning], they’ve done a great job of really trying to assemble a mixture of both veteran and some young leadership to bring us back to the promised-land,” Charlie Jacobs added. “And you need that mix. You need the right mix. We maybe erred a bit, a little bit, in terms of having too many inexperienced defensemen. If you think about it, really only two of them ‘ two veterans on the back line this postseason. But as my dad referred to, that will pay dividends as you progress moving forward. So listen, I have great faith in both aspects. I do believe we’ll be right back there. I expect that we’ll be back there. Stranger things have happened, but I hope we start right out of the gate where we left off in March, not necessarily at the end of April.”
|Jeremy Jacobs has no intention of selling Bruins to buy NFL’s Buffalo Bills: ‘I kind of like where I am’||at 2:14 pm ET|
When Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills in April, after the passing of longtime owner Ralph Wilson, Bruins fans wondered if that meant the end of his stewardship of the NHL franchise.
Tuesday, during a 25-minute address to reporters at TD Garden, Jacobs made it clear that he has no such intentions and is quite happy as the owner of the “Original Six” franchise.
“Well, I can’t buy the Bills, because I own the Bruins,” Jacobs said, referring to the NFL by-laws that prohibit owning teams in different cities. “That’s not a bad place to be. I kind of like where I am.”
Jacobs is among the wealthiest and most successful businessmen in the world, owning the Delaware North Companies, with an individual net worth of approximately $3.1 billion. Jacobs was initially among a group of several Western New York businessmen reported to be interested in the Bills. Another businessman reportedly interested was real estate tycoon Donald Trump.
Jacobs has owned the Bruins since 1975. Jacobs also represents the club on the NHL‘s Board of Governors and serves on its Executive Committee. At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in June 2007, Jacobs was elected Chairman of the Board, replacing the Calgary Flames‘ Harley Hotchkiss.
Jacobs made changes in management of the Bruins, with the retirement of veteran team president Harry Sinden from active management of the team into an advisory capacity. New management included Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien. Cam Neely, who was on the dais Tuesday with Jacobs and Jacobs’ son Charlie, was also lured back to the new organization and subsequently named as President of the team.
Since 2008, the Bruins have made playoffs every year, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the Cup finals in 2013 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy this past season as the team with the best record and most points (117).
|Bruins considering building practice facility next to TD Garden||10.02.13 at 3:04 pm ET|
Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs said Wednesday that the team is continuing to look into options for a new practice facility and that building one next to TD Garden is currently his top choice.
The Bruins are long overdue to upgrade from Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, and they’ve had reported interest in practicing at the sports complex being built by New Balance in Brighton.
Delaware North (the Jacobs family’s company) and Boston Properties filed formal plans for a Causeway St. complex last month, and Jacobs said he expects it to be reviewed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in November.
“My hope would be that we would have a premier, world-class training facility,” Jacobs said Wednesday. “Not to say that we don’t have one at Ristuccia, but we think we could do better and a little bit of an upgrade. If it works out with our partners at Boston Properties — and we’re still penciling the numbers — there is a good chance that we would have one right next door in addition to some retail [stores], some restaurants.
“It’s a really good concept that we’d be rolling out to fill in this North End. If it happens to be a rink, great. If not, we’ll continue our discussions with [New Balance], with The Skating Club of Boston. There are a number of different options for us out there for us. This might be option 1 in my book at the moment. Things change though. This is a very evolving process.”
|Charlie Jacobs: ‘I bet [Bruins] get something’ for Tim Thomas||08.21.12 at 4:59 pm ET|
Bruins principal and alternate governor Charlie Jacobs joined The Big Show Tuesday to support the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund radio telethon. Among the topics discussed was Tim Thomas, and Jacobs admitted that he was “thrown” after the season upon learning that the two-time Vezina-winner would not return next season to play the final year of his contract.
“I was beyond surprised,” Jacobs said. “I am still.”
Thomas has said that he will not play next season, and his future beyond that remains unclear.
“I’m having a hard time wrapping my ahead around that whole line of logic,” Jacobs said. “I respect Timmy and I respect his decision, but at  ‘¦ I want to say he’ll be 39 by the time he comes back, taking a year off from pro hockey, from the National Hockey League, from the show, I don’t see how it’s possible to come back and play at that level. He may prove us all wrong, but I would be stunned. This is prime earning potential for him. This is not chump change — we’re talking 5 million bucks [Editor’s note: He would earn $3 million, though his salary cap hit would be $5 million] — and the possibility of another deal if he does perform well.”
Thomas confirmed via his Facebook account — something he’s used to share some controversial opinions, including why he did not attend the White House this past season — that he would not be playing next year. More recently, he posted on Facebook that he supports the Cathy family, the owners of Chic-fil-A who have been outspoken against gay marriage.
“We certainly don’t share his views or those messages that have been posted on Facebook, in particular with the recent fast-food chain in Boston and his statement about that as well,” Jacobs said of Thomas. “I’m speaking cryptically because I’d prefer to not bring it up and give it merit.
Added Jacobs: “Tim’s always marched to the beat of his own drum. By and large, that’s what made him such a special player, is that you never really knew what he was going to do. I don’t think opposing shooters knew where the hell he was going to go, right? I think that spelled well for a certain amount of time.”
The Bruins could conceivably trade Thomas to another team and be off the hook for his cap hit, as teams that need to reach the cap floor would only have to pay $3 million for a $5 million cap hit. Jacobs said he feels there’s a market.
“Timmy’s going to do what he wants to do, and you know what? I bet we’ll get something for him if he elects not come back and there is in fact a floor for the salary cap this upcoming season, I can see teams trading for that $5 million cap [hit] to bring their team up to the floor. So I think there will be a market for a player, as ironic as it sounds, there will be a market for a player who’s not going to play next year.”
Jacobs said that he and the front office have discussed whether they could have talked him into returning “on many occasions,” but he noted he has not spoken to Thomas since the end of the season.
“More specifically we’ve asked the question,’Has Timmy thought this through?'” Jacobs said. “Apparently he has.”
|Cam Neely discusses Bruins’ future at final press conference of 2011-12 season||05.03.12 at 5:17 pm ET|
Cam Neely, Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs held a season-ending press conference Thursday to discuss the 2011-12 season and look ahead to the future.
The calling of the press conference Wednesday was somewhat surprising, but given that Neely hadn’t spoken at last Friday’s breakup day, it seemed appropriate for the team president to meet with the media one last time this season. The trio of Neely and the Jacobs covered a variety of topics Thursday, so here’s a recap of it all.
– One common theme throughout the players at breakup day was that they had trouble getting up for the playoffs after last June’s run to the Cup finals. While Neely recognized the fatigue factor, he still feels the team is too good to lose in the first round.
“It should be unacceptable,” Neely said. “With the players we have, the talent that we have, the coaching staff we have, you can’t be accept a first-round exit. I believe that we’re a franchise that’s beyond, ‘Let’s make the playoffs,’ that’s beyond, ‘Let’s have a good showing in the first round. I think we’re beyond that. Expectations are much higher now.”
Neely said that though players spoke of their difficulty getting mentally engaged in the postseason, the team as a whole appeared to share his frustration with the first-round exit.
“What I saw was guys that looked to be disappointed,” Neely said. “When you look at all the seven games of the whole and you say, ‘Geez, we probably should be moving on,’ I think they would all agree with that. I think if they really assessed our game and their individual play, they to a person probably feel like they could have played better or could have done a little bit more to get that extra goal or that extra win that we needed. ”
– Neely agreed with Peter Chiarelli‘s sentiment that no major shakeup is needed this offseason, but that some turnover should occur. He is hopeful that free agent Chris Kelly can return.
“I think just some tweaking,” he said of the roster. “Peter and I spoke a few days after the season ended. We’re going to have more discussions as the summer progresses here, but I like the makeup of our team, I like the character of our team. I think Peter’s done a really good job of signing players before they become free agents as best he can. I think we have guys that are still going to improve. We have a young team in that regards as far as the core goes and will improve. But we know we have some areas we will look to improve and we’ll have more discussions in the offseason on how we can go about doing that.”
– Neely said that he remains satisfied with the team’s goaltending situation of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. The latter is a restricted free agent, and Neely said that when Rask signs his new deal — which figures to see a pay raise — there will be enough room for both players financially and when it comes to playing time.
“Well financially it shouldn’t be an issue,” Neely said. “Playing-time-wise, it’s always been they’re battling it out and the coach will end up playing who he thinks is going to give the team the best shot to win.”
– Both Claude Julien and Chiarelli still have term on their contracts, and Neely said he was pleased with the job both did this season.
“I thought they both did a great job this year,” Neely said. “Claude’s a very good coach, Peter’s a good general manager. There’s challenges at times with the way the cap is now, to try and make certain moves you’d like to make. The trade deadline is a great example of that. The offseason, July 1 is another good example of it’s a little bit more difficult dealing with the cap than it’s been pre-cap.
“I think Claude’s done a good job, I’ve seen Claude make some adjustments since he’s been here and I think it’s been good that he communicates really well with the players. There’s no gray area which as a player, I think is fantastic. You shouldn’t have a gray area and he’s done a really good job since he’s been here.”
Neely also said that there were no plans at this time to make any moves regarding the coaching staff. That obviously applies more to the assistants, as Julien’s job is obviously safe.
– After two straight postseasons of power play struggles, Neely allowed that something needs to change, but not necessarily coaching or personnel.
“We got away with [having a bad power play] last year as everybody knows,” he said. “This year, it kind of bit us in the butt. We really need to have a philosophical difference of how we look at the power play. I don’t just look at the percentage of the power play, I look at when we get power plays, what the score of the game is, what time of the game is ‘ that’s important. Maybe more so important than what the actual percentage of the power play is.
“I think we have the personnel that we can improve on the power play. There’s some things we’ll certainly discuss in the offseason about what we can do differently with the power play. I think it’s an area that absolutely needs improvement and we will improve on it.”
– There is one more year remaining on the Bruins’ deal with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Charlie Jacobs said the team is determining what to use for a practice facility beyond then, with the team still considering Ristuccia. Jacobs did say that the Bruins want their practice facility to be a potential selling point for free agents, so that would suggest the team would ideally like to upgrade.
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