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


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

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.