Haggerty: Time for B's fans to lay off Jacobs

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Haggerty: Time for B's fans to lay off Jacobs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Its high time that the crusty, stodgy, stubborn faction of Bruins fans get over itself.

All of those qualities served the fans well for long, torturous stretches during the 39-year span between Stanley Cups in Boston. The lean times allowed the most loyal group of followers in the city (Bs fans, hands down) to keep the pressure to step it up on their beloved Bruins.

There were no lack of things for the Bs faithful to get cheesed off about.

Whether it was an unwillingness to spend money on better players during the shared era of Ray Bourque and Cam Neely, or the shortsighted way the Harry Sinden regime consistently nickel-and-dimed young players, the Bruins built a stingy, unbending reputation as a place most hockey players wanted to avoid when they controlled their own fate.

Then there was the Bs botched lockout strategy of waving goodbye to Brian Rolston, Mike Knuble, Michael Nylander and Sean ODonnell, among others, during the work stoppage. That planned mass exodus was orchestrated by Sinden and owner Jeremy Jacobs, who believed they had inside info on the fiscal landscape once the lockout was over, but it led the Bs to miscalculate badly once the NHL resumed business.

The team paid for that gaffe big time.

The lockout purge left the Bruins essentially with an expansion-level roster, and ended up costing Sinden and general manager Mike OConnell their jobs. Sinden was kicked upstairs, and O'Connell was sent packing completely.

Every Bruins fan knows the history, and for reasons both good and bad they blame Jacobs.

Some is undoubtedly Jacobs own doing, and he deserved the fans' contempt at certain points.

But it was misguided for some fans to shower the Bs principal owner with catcalls and cascades of boos during the beautiful banner-raising ceremony Thursday night at TD Garden.

Already an unconventional public speaker to begin with, Jacobs is a verbal target for unsatisfied Bruins fans whenever he speaks publicly in the city of Boston. That was perhaps justified in the past, but it also simply shouldnt happen ever again.

But it did, of all places, during the banner-raising ceremony when Jacobs actually lauded the Bruins fans as some of the best in sports. It was the owners job to get the ceremonial show on the road and open up the pomp and circumstance, and instead he became a punch line one more time.

Some will say that fans in the upper reaches of the TD Garden balcony couldnt hear Jacobs on the microphone, and the cacophony of voices were simply imploring him to speak up.

Others will say that the boos were spaced out and sporadic while being thoroughly drowned out by the cheers.

There may be slight elements of truth to both these statements, but anybody in attendance recognized the loud boos fired Jacobs way the minute he stepped up to the microphone.

Theres a multitude of reasons for it, of course, given the long history of underwhelming fans since Jacobs bought the team in the mid-1970s.

Never mind the mere fact everybody thinks a frustrated Bruins fan writing scripts for 'The Simpsons' used Jacobs as the model for the Montgomery Burns character.
Forget the fact that provincial Boston people will always look at Jacobs as a high society Buffalo carpetbagger that spends a portion of his time in Boston playing with his hockey team like an expensive toy.

The mere action of booing anybody from the Bruins organization during a Stanley Cup banner-raising celebration is patently moronic.

The negative actions of a decent-sized group of Bs fans on Thursday night simply took away from an otherwise flawless, thoughtful presentation.

Some fans were so bent on voicing their disapproval with Bruins management that they failed to absorb the most important point of the evening: They won the Stanley Cup.

Theres simply no good reason for Bruins fans to be angry or seeking vengeance for what happened in 1993 at a 2011 Cup celebration. There is a deserved honeymoon period for any sports team that wins a championship, and that kind of amnesty should include much-maligned owners as well.

The advice at this address: There's already been plenty of negative backlash over the years for Jacobs and Delaware North when it was actually a relevant conversation topic.
Its time for Bruins fans to grow up and see whats really happening with their hockey team beyond the same stale, bored tired generalizations about the Black and Gold franchises ownership.

The NHL salary cap is in effect, and the fatherson duo of Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs have brought in a management team thats built a strong organization constructed with care, intelligence and forethought.

More importantly, Jacobs and Delaware North have a) spent to the cap since the NHL lockout ended, b) boast some of the best players in the world on their roster, and c) have locked up their core players to fair contracts without holdouts or bitterness.

The old way of doing Bruins business that spurred frustrated fans to create websites like Pleasesellthebruins.com is no longer applicable in Boston.

Booing the Bs ownership in such a bush-league manner makes a portion of the fan base look like bitter, petulant children who simply cant let go of a grudge, even though it's been years since they could legitimately have a real issue with the way the team is run.

Perhaps it will just take some time for Bruins fans to truly develop the taste for success and the hunger for bigger and better greatness, but a nice start would be to cut out the booing for an owner who cashed plenty of checks for the Stanley Cup champs and provided over 500 Stanley Cup championship rings for all manner of team employees before the players.

Cmon Bruins fans. Youre better than that now. Its time to start acting like winners instead of the disillusioned pack of whiners.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are ever going to poop, or get off the pot.
 
*John Tortorella wants everybody to know that he thinks there isn’t a chance that Lebron James could play hockey.
 
*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about whether or not Claude Julien should be fired after back-to-back bad losses against the Islanders and Red Wings.
 
*How did Shane Doan arrive at an unhappy place with the Arizona Coyotes where he now is open to moving elsewhere ahead of the trade deadline?
 
*Henrik Lundqvist’s season is entering a crisis level based on what he’s done, and the diminished performance level he’s showing as a more mature goaltender.
 
*A nice piece with a Canadian hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser, who recounts some of the legendary moments of her career through a series of pictures.
 
*I totally respect the work that Travis Yost does, but stating the Bruins should stick with Claude Julien because their shooting percentage is bound to turn around isn’t good enough grounds to keep a floundering situation intact, in my opinion. You need to check where the shots are coming from and how many of those shot attempts are completely missing the net to get a better grasp on some of the reasons behind Boston’s dreadful 10-year low shooting percentage. That would also explain some of the reason why Julien needs to be replaced coaching a team that’s largely content on perimeter shots to do it for them while also only sporadically showing the effort required from a middle class talent type of team.

*The Lightning are struggling at Joe Namath levels right now without Steve Stamkos in their lineup, and they need that to change.
 
*For something completely different: congrats to the Boston boys in New Edition for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.