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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Changing of the Guard

If you have followed the Boston Bruins for any length of time, then you weren’t really shocked when the team announced the dismissal of coach Robbie Ftorek. This kind of move is typical for the organization, which has made a habit of doing some quirky things.

But here’s where it gets good. Mike O’Connell, the one-time prodigy of Harry Sinden and current general manager, has decided that it would be a bang up idea for him to go behind the bench as the interim coach until a more permanent replacement can be found (which probably won’t happen until the off-season). O’Connell has brought in some help (Mike Sullivan of the Providence Bruins), but basically, he’s calling the shots for the immediate present.

O’Connell probably feels that he can do a good job at both positions, even though recent history in professional sports has shown time and time again that only a handful of individuals can juggle the duties of being the head coach and general manager. O’Connell undoubtedly feels that he is one of them.

Is there any reason that Ftorek could not have finished the nine games that were left in the season? It seems strange that when the team plays a completely flat game, the coach takes the heat for it. Twenty individuals lay a collective egg and one person gets the guillotine. Makes sense to me.

O’Connell is doing nothing more than damage control. If the team flops in four games in the first round of the playoffs, O’Connell will somehow shift the blame over to the departed Ftorek. “This is why I got rid of him, he had nearly a full season to prepare them for the playoffs and they stumble.”

On the other hand, if the team has moderate success, say, by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, then O’Connell will be front and center, ready to take bows and receive kudos from anyone willing to give them out. “I knew that I could do the job,” he’ll tell anyone and everyone within shouting distance. “And now you know it too.”

Such visceral moves ignore the deeper problems that plague the Bruins, namely the ownership’s ideology and poor youth development. It is completely understandable to not give in to the insane demands of many players who want multi-million dollar contracts for mediocre statistics. However, the team cannot see that players are not all the same and not interchangeable. Simply, teams with talent win. Yet, it can’t even point to promising players of tomorrow in the farm systems. Why? Because the last decade has been a total loss when it has come to drafting players. Few youngsters make it to the big leagues, and even fewer succeed.

Don’t hold your breath, B’s backers. Although the playoffs are just around the corner, it is a pretty good bet that the team will fold in the first round in similar fashion to last year’s early exit. Even if it survives round one, it’s a virtual lock that the team will be bounced in the next round. After all, opposing teams only have to worry about one line (Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, and Mike Knuble). The rest of the team will not be a threat. The defense and goaltending of the Bruins will not be that hard for good teams to solve. It’s going to be a short playoff, indeed.

But our beloved Red Sox are starting up in a couple of days, and perhaps this could be the year….