“We are all very excited that the NHL and the NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement, and we look forward to dropping the puck and playing Bruins Hockey in front of our fans at the TD Garden soon.” – Cam Neely, Boston Bruins President
I can’t say that I envied the god awful position that Cam Neely must have been in. One of the greats of modern hockey, Cam’s leadership and savvy helped him make an easy transition from the rink to the front office. As president of the club, and alternate governor for the Bruins, it must have put him in an odd position. As a member of management, and essentially the #3 man in the organization behind the Jacobs, he had to promote the management agenda. What must have made it worse is that Jeremy Jacobs(owner and President of the Board of Governors) was the driving force behind the one hundred and thirteen day lockout.
Fortuantely, the CBA got pushed through and #8 can really appreciate where the Bruins are and where they are going. Cam Neely was a player during the last abbreviated NHL season (1994-1995) The half season didn’t stop him from being productive. Neely was able to put up forty one points (27 goals, 14 assists) in that forty eight game season. He certainly understands how critical such an abbreviated season is for them. Even more so when twenty eight of the forty eight games will be played within the conference. “As a player you usually think, ‘We’ve got eighty two games and you’re bound to have some ups and downs and mental lapses,’” Neely explained to the Boston Herald. “But you just couldn’t afford any of those when you were looking at forty eight games.”
I’m sure that’s something he has impressed upon the current roster. The Boston Bruins had twelve players export themselves to various leagues in Europe. No other team in the NHL had more players overseas than the Bruins. Personally, having that many players keeping their skill set sharp has to give us some advantage here. A very short training camp will begin this weekend, and opening night is now ten days away. Our players will have had their conditioning up and they should be an edge sharper than other teams.
“I don’t want to come out and say we’re set up better, but it is beneficial for us that a number of our players have been playing in Europe and actually playing very well,” Neely offered in the interview with the Herald. “We had both goaltenders[Rask and Khudobin] playing over there at some point, which is a big plus. So, yeah, from that perspective of having such a large number of guys who’ve been playing in games, it is certainly helpful.”
If Neely says it’s a plus, as one of the hockey faithful, I’m willing to accept that on par with divine fiat. With all the chaos of the lockout drama, just having a season at all is special. Knowing that we have one of the best prepared teams in the league, it makes it more so. I’m just hoping we can continue our winning ways. The Bruins are considered by most to be a shoo-in for the division, and I really hope we can go all the way and rescue the Cup.