The Boston Bruins fired general manager Peter Chiarelli on April 15 after going 41-27-14 during the 2014-15 NHL season and missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
The Boston Bruins have fired general manager Peter Chiarelli.
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According to an April 15 update from Jess Isner of the Bruins' official website, Delaware North's Boston Holdings CEO Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely announced Chiarellli's dismissal on Wednesday.
Jacobs told Isner he and Neely decided on Chiarelli's fate on Tuesday and informed him the day after. He said they felt now was the time for a fresh start:
"It was really about, how do we improve our club moving forward? And it's a task -- or, frankly, an audit -- that we take every year after the season is over. This season happened to end a lot earlier than many [others] for us, and we've been very fortunate in that regard.
"I think Peter had a very good tenure here, when you think about the stretch of the playoffs -- one, trips to the playoffs, and two success in the playoffs -- that he's had. But it became time, we believe, to separate and move forward."
For his part, Neely told Isner the decision was anything but easy considering Chiarelli's accomplishments as Bruins general manager:
"We believe that we made the decision moving forward to help improve the hockey club. I don't want to take away anything that Peter accomplished here; he's going to go down in history as the GM that brought the Stanley Cup to Boston for the first time in 39 years, so that says a lot about his abilities as a general manager.
"But we just felt -- and it's not just this particular year, not making the playoffs -- we just felt, moving forward -- it was the best thing for us to do. It was not an easy decision to come to -- [we had] a lot of conversations about it -- but we felt that it was the best thing to do moving forward."
Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs issued a statement on Chiarelli on the team's official website:
"Peter Chiarelli has done a tremendous job for the Boston Bruins over the last nine seasons. During that time I have come to know, and like him, both professionally and personally. This decision was not an easy one for Cam and Charlie but, ultimately, the right one for this organization.
"They have my full support in this decision. I know Peter will move on and continue to do great things in the league and I would give him my highest recommendation."
Jacobs told Isner on Wednesday all of the individuals within the organization who had reported to Chiarelli will now do so to Neely until a new general manager is hired. The search will begin immediately.
"We're going to take our time and go through the process and make sure we make a decision we feel is best for the organization," Neely told the Bruins' official website. "Again, it's really about what we feel is going to be best for the organization."
Neely also stressed the decision on Bruins head coach Claude Julien will be up to the new general manager, per Isner:
"We told him (Julien) that we really believe that once we go through the exhaustive search to find the next general manager, that we will leave it up to that GM to decide what he wants to do with our coaching staff. Claude certainly understood that, but that's where we left it."
Isner points out when Julien met with both Neely and Jacobs on Wednesday, he made it clear he wants to stay in Boston.
Jacobs took over as Bruins CEO in January. Back then he said the team not making the playoffs would be "absolutely unacceptable" and "an utter disappointment and failure," per ESPN Boston's Jack McCluskey.
Jacobs did not depart from that stance on Wednesday.
"I feel they were accurate," he told McCluskey. "I said for us to not make the playoffs would've been a failure, and so here we are out [of the playoffs]. And I want to clarify, by the way, my comment about the playoffs -- the expectation is for us not only to get in the playoffs, but to play for and compete for the Stanley Cup."
Bruins Center Patrice Bergeron told ESPN Boston on April 15 said he and his teammates "deserve some of the blame" for Chiarelli's fate:
"Tough to see him leave. It is the business that you are in and we as players deserve some of the blame for today. Peter has helped me grow as a player and person over the years, and I wish him nothing but the best in the future."
Chiarelli was the assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators when the Bruins hired him in May 2006. During his nine-year stint in Boston, he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011, reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and win the President's Trophy last season, per Isner.
The 2011 title was the team's first in 39 years. The Bruins finished with a 386-233-85 overall record under Chiarelli's guidance, making the playoffs for seven straight seasons, per McCluskey.
Boston finished 41-27-14 in 2014-15, missing the postseason by just two points and for the first time in eight years. Boston dealt with injury issues to defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton as well as center David Krejci last season, per ESPN Boston.
Jarome Iginla's departure as a free agent last offseason was one of the reasons why the Bruins dropped from third to 23rd in goals scored in 2014-15, per McCluskey. Trading defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders also didn't help matters.
The Bruins also dismissed amateur scouts Mike Chiarelli (Peter's brother) and Denis Leblanc as well as European head scout Jukka Holtari, per ESPN Boston.
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