Neely's promotion - more to it than meets the eye?
posted at 7/2/2010 2:22 PM EDT
In reply to another thread here, Mutant211 made an interesting comment that gave rise to a whole different topic:
In Response to Re: Could this be Chiarelli's last chance?
IMHO, Neely is more of a figurehead president, put in place because if his popularity with the Bruins fanbase. He does NOT have the power to fire Chiarelli. How important is the president to the Bruins organization? The position was vacant for nearly four years....
Posted by Mutant211
My response (apologies in advance for length of this!):
You're right Mutant, it wasn't important that the Bruins had an official team President the past 4 years. But it is now. And Neely is no figurehead President, trust me. Taking everything into consideration, Neely had to be promoted to President for two reasons:
1) The public reason: for p.r. purposes, in an attempt to stem the tide of talk from season ticket holders that they weren't going to renew after blowing 3-0 lead to Phliars. Something quick needed to be done in advance of the draft, trades, re-signings, etc., some sort of positive distraction that in fact also had some teeth in it (see below). The Neely promotion probably served that short-term purpose.
2) The most important reason: I'm not saying the skids have been greased for PC's removal, however if the B's falter badly next season or if they don't clearly show they're solidly into Phase III (a legit Cup contender) of PC's rebuilding program, the necessary hierarchy is now in place if changes need to be made. Neely is one of the very few with the stature to make such changes. He enjoys inherent respect from everyone...the media, fans, players (current and past), he's also connected to many a big-wig via his Neely House work.
It's important to bear in mind (pun?) that when JJ hired PC as GM in June of 2006, he publicly stated that he was so impressed with PC that he envisioned him as B's team President after his time as GM was over. JJ even volunteered that his son Charlie wasn't presidential material and didn't really want the job, and that he saw PC in that role eventually.
Maybe JJ still sees things that way, maybe he doesn't, who knows? But if JJ still felt that PC had the makings of a team president, he wouldn't have bothered to install Neely in that position now, would he? And after all the negative fallout following the B's disastrous loss to the Phliars this spring, it had to become clear to JJ that this type of result cannot be tolerated if something similarly bad was to happen in 2011.
PC's entering what will be his 5th year of running the show. Five years should be enough time to know whether his program is working or not. The B's are once again at a point where they must be better, but this time it's not just about being "tougher to play against", etc. It's about taking the next step in becoming a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for several years running. No flash-in-the-pan runs, but several consistent long runs that get the B's into the Final with a legit shot at winning the Cup (unlike this year's Phliars, who though they got to the Final, really had no chance of beating the Blackhawks) and then winning the damn thing.
Harry Sinden's fingerprints are all over Neely's ascendency as Bruins President. You have to figure it was Harry who told JJ (after all, JJ has kept Sinden around as his own Adviser since June, 2006; and Harry spoke at the press conference when Cam was named president and has been more visible of late in general) that he'd better get some structure in place in the front office in case it's needed. Notice that Harry went out of his way to sing Neely's praises at the press conference. After watching him in action the past few years as Vice President, Sinden saw that Neely's the guy he'd sought all along to succeed him going back to the years when Harry was experimenting with the likes of Milbury and OC.
Sinden still has JJ's ear, and maybe that's a good thing as uniquely, Harry had the experience and insight to see that the B's are entering a potentially sensitive time in their development under Chiarelli. As we all know by now, JJ's just not good at that kind of thing - he relies on others to do it for him. Enter Harry. It's because of Sinden that Neely's in charge now, and was certainly the right time to make the move.
It's at times like this when Will McDonough is missed the most. McDonough and Sinden had a relationship. We'll never read any of this from KPD because he and Sinden can barely tolerate each other. (Ever notice that Dupont never wrote one word of career synopsis, tribute or outgoing interview when Sinden departed as President upon Chiarelli being named as GM in 2006?)
Again, apologies for the length of this. I got a little carried away, but the more I thought about it, the more significant Neely's promotion seemed to be. BC