Mike from Attleboro: Jacobs still cheap

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Mike from Attleboro: Jacobs still cheap

When the National Hockey League owners voted unanimously Thursday to lock out the players, it made two things crystal clear:

1. Unless there's a Hail Mary -- a last-second delivery of common sense to the NHLPA and, especially, the owners -- we are not going to see NHL hockey anytime soon.

2. Despite everything that's happened in the last few years, including winning a trophy (and a big one it was), Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs hasnt changed a single bit. By calling for that vote and committing to lock the players out, J.J. confirmed that he is still concerned with one thing and one thing only: Money.

If you lived through the Jacobs years, or grew up through them like I did, you know what people thought of the old Jeremy Jacobs. He was a penny-pinching miser who entrusted his spendthrift caporegime, Harry Sinden, to spend enough to keep the Bruins competitive (and to make heaps of money), but not enough to actually build a champion. This led to 20 straight playoff appearances with nothing to show for it except the ignominy of taking Ray Bourque, arguably the second-greatest defenseman in NHL history, to arbitration.

When the Bruins had a chance to draft a potential superstar like Brian Bellows, Harry picked the already gimpy, but more affordable, Gord Kluzak. And J.J. counted his money.

When a player neared a new contract, Harry dealt him for parts. And J.J. counted his money.

When the Bruins needed to add a player to put them over the top, Harry would trade some food stamps for Brent Ashton. And J.J. counted his money.

The one time Harry did use J.J.s check book, it went straight into Kevin Stevens' crack pipe. But the turnstiles still spun and J.J. happily counted his money.

Fast forward to the last lockout, with J.J. again at the forefront. He got his salary cap; the good times -- and more importantly, the profits -- were supposed to roll. Unfortunately for J.J., reality took a hot steaming dump all over his portfolio. The lockout was not only a monumental disaster for the league, but also for Sinden and his coupon-cutting errand boy, Mike OConnell. Their let the entire team walk post-lockout strategy blew up faster than Dustin Byfuglien at a Steak & Shake. Before the ink was dry on Alexi Zhamnovs write off, the Bruins were among the dregs of the league.

Thats when the fans decided, "Enough!" They revolted. No more sellouts. No more concession stands bursting with cash. The Bruins' on-ice product was terrible and the single most loyal fan base in this town wasnt going to shell out cash for it any more.

With his team hemorrhaging season-ticket holders and ad revenue, Jeremy Jacobs was forced into a corner. He had to spend money; it was the only way he could improve the Bruins on the ice and rehabilitate his public image to return the Bs to being the cash cow they once were. Peter Chiarelli was hired as the new GM, and he immediately signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard for amounts that would previously have given J.J. hot flashes. They spent to the cap, and little by little the fans came back.

They came back because the owner had changed his ways. He was spending. He was eating money. (Is Dave Lewis still on the payroll?) He was empowering people like Cam Neely to build a winner at all costs, and Bruins fans were rubbing their eyes. Could this be the same guy? Had Ebenezer Jacobs been visited by the ghosts of Bruins owners past? Yup, it was the very same guy.

And the fever dream continued, as the improbable 2010-11 season ended with a championship. A man who many thought had arms too short to reach his wallet was now hoisting the Stanley Cup. This was it. With a title in hand, Jeremy Jacobs had finally changed his penny-pinching ways for good.

But as this week's vote showed, deep down inside, J.J. is still the same shriveled money grubber who, in the name of a better deal, is more than willing to lead the NHL into another potentially devastating lockout. For the love of cash, hes fine with throwing away all the goodwill he created with his fan base, and all the progress and momentum the league has generated. He was never reformed, just disguised. And dont let the recent contract signings fool you. Hes letting Chiarelli lock up Marchand and Seguin so he can chop their pay at the bargaining table.

Nope, when it comes to the fans and the good of the game, a T-Rex has a better chance of reaching his pocket than Jacobs. If Thursdays labor meetings told us anything, its that Ebenezer Jacobs is back and ready to steal Tiny Tims cane and sell it for kindling.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

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Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while continuing to marvel at the strength and character of Isaiah Thomas. 

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals doing major damage control after going down 0-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their series. 

*Dion Phaneuf is finding exactly what he needed with the Ottawa Senators and is going past where he’d been before in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

*The New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, and will get the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft with a team badly in need of some star power. 

*On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche were the big losers dropping all the way to the fourth overall pick after being a dumpster fire all season. I guess there is some hockey justice left in the world. 

*Larry Brooks says that the word on the street is that the Lightning are going to shop Jonathan Drouin this summer for a stud top-4 D-man. They should be getting the pick of the litter by making the skilled forward available. 

*Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk Big, Bad Oilers and the decline of Corey Perry during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. 

*For something completely different: Manny Ramirez hitting home runs in Taiwan is a beauty and a joy forever

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.