Back in the spring of 2006, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins were in search of new General Managers.
The Penguins had 4 straight seasons finishing in the bottom 5 of the league and were a long ways from the Mario days. A year after the lockout, the Pens had seen enough of GM Craig Patrick. With a stockpile of top picks, including Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jordan Staal, the Penguins were looking for someone new to steer the ship.
The Bruins, who had some success over the last few years with a core of young players such as Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov and Andrew Raycroft. Then the lockout happened and when Jeremy Jacobs realized that Sinden and O’Connell weren’t smarter than everyone else in the league and their team stunk, he fired O’Connell midway through the 05-06 season and put Sinden out to pasture by season’s end.
So when the Bruins went searching for a new GM in the spring of 2006, the field quickly narrowed to two names: Peter Chiarelli, Assistant GM of the Ottawa Senators, and Ray Shero, Assistant GM of the Nashville Predators, who was once an Assistant GM with the Senators as well. Originally, Chiarelli was thought to have the inside track to the job, but Shero pulled ahead and was offered the job. Just days later, Shero pulled his name from the running. The Reason: the Bruins weren’t willing to pay his asking price. Now, long time Bruins fans have heard that too many times from Jeremey Jacobs. With Shero out of the picture the B’s braintrust turned back to Chiarelli, who accepted. Many fans saw this as just another example of the Bruins being too cheap to get the best guy.
Soon after the Penguins swooped in and gave Ray Shero what he wanted. And it didn’t take long for Shero to turn things around, granted he had a all star cast of young guns thanks to the recent finishes of the Penguins. In 07-08 the Pens finished 1oth with 105pts. The B’s finished in 25th. In 07-08 the Pens finished 4th, and lost in finals to Detroit. The Bruins, meanwhile finished 14th overall and as an 8 seed, brought the Montreal Canadiens to a game 7 before bowing out. In 08-09 Pittsburgh ended the regular season in 9th, but went on to win the Stanley Cup getting their revenge on Detroit. The Bruins finished with the 2nd best record in the league, but couldn’t get past the Hurricanes in the second round. In 09-10 the Penguins finished 8th while the Bruins finished 16th. Neither made it very far and we unfortunately remember the Bruins blowing that 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers. Then in 10-11 the Penguins finished 106pts 4th overall, but were without both Crosby and Malkin. Of course the Bruins won their division with 103 pts, 3rd overall and went on to win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.