BOSTON – One of the biggest regrets of Cam Neely’s Hall of Fame career with the Bruins is that he wasn’t able to win a Stanley Cup as a player. The same most certainly could be said of B’s general manager Don Sweeney as well after more than 1,000 games with the Black and Gold over the course of his NHL career.
It was through no fault of theirs as the Bruins were on some good-but-not-great teams during their playing careers in Boston, and they ran head-long into the legendary Edmonton Oilers in both 1988 and 1990 when they did make it to the Cup Final. In both instances they lost to better hockey teams, but it certainly was a bitter pill in Boston that Bruins teams headed by Neely and Ray Bourque in the 1980’s and 1990’s were never able to hoist the Cup.
So now the Bruins President has one Stanley Cup under his resume as Bruins club President back in 2011, and adding another one would be just as sweet regardless of the capacity he’s filling for the organization.
“If you can’t win it wearing skates, it’s okay in a suit. You know, obviously, as a player that’s what you want to do. You want to win a Stanley Cup, and we had a couple of opportunities,” admitted Neely. “Unfortunately, we fell short. So, you learn from those experiences and hopefully we can take some of that experience and apply it in the jobs we have now.
“We’re very fortunate to be in a city like this that has had success with all the teams in the past dozen years or so. You know, hockey has been a big part of this region for many years. I mean, obviously, an Original Six franchise, so there are roots that are deeply set, but nothing beats winning. Everybody likes to watch good hockey or good sports, and they love a winning team.”
Certainly a win in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues and a second Cup in eight years would significantly elevate Neely’s tenure running the organization. And in many ways it would be different for Neely, having handpicked the general manager in Sweeney, and holding a coach Bruce Cassidy in place that was also their choice rather than the hold-over Claude Julien from the Peter Chiarelli era.
This Cup would validate all of the choices that Neely and Sweeney have made over the last four years, some more controversial than others, and mark their tenure an unquestioned success in four seasons working together as President and GM.
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