For me it was not that Boston was inept. They were frugal ownership who meddled, all about the money and not about winning or the fans.
They wasted so many prime years of Bourque and Neely and Oates shipping out anyone good. And they had been doing that for years. but at least they had Bourque and Neely and oates then.
After Neely retired, anyone who wanted money was shipped. Oates wants more money? Who does he think he is! Ship him! josef Stumpel can be our #1 C!
It was almost 10 years straight of seeing guys holding out and getting shipped as soon as they got good. Jason Allison wants money? TRADE HIM. Mclaren wants money? TRADE HIM.
They kept doing programs leading up to the salary cap holdout on highest and lowest payrolls in the NHL. The Bruins were 5th in profits overall, so they were making a boatload of money, yet had the 2nd lowest payroll in the NHL. For years.
When fans decided to vote by not going to games, jeremy Jacobs did what Wirtz did in Chicago and started blacking out the games on TV in Boston so fans could not want the bruins unless they came to the game. They managed to be 5th in Profits with thousands of empty seats each night at the fleet center.
But oh, Illitch in Detroit called out Jacobs for being a frugal crap owner, so Jacobs decided to retaliate by overpaying a 3rd line RFA in Lapointe to "Get back" at Illitch. good job Jacobs. You let a 95 point scoring(Which was a lot at that time) scorer in Allison go because he wanted a raise to 4 million dollars, then paid 5 million dollars a year to a 40 point hack like Lapointe just to say "look I spent money and stole your player" to Detroit.
In 2003 they were running a goalie tandem of Steve Shields and John Grahame and it was obviously STUPID. However, Bruins fans all had the same lightbulb. This nobody that nobody had ever heard of named Tim Thomas looked SENSATIONAL in his 4 games during an injury run, so why not let him keep playing? Nope. Send him back overseas or to the minors and play a rookie instead.
Joe Thornton was a top draft pick who blossomed into one of the greatest playmakers of all time. They signed him to a top deal after the lockout because they had to, but let go of every reasonable player they had when they had carte blanche to build the team any way they wanted. Anyone with eyes could see the game was going to be speed based instead of clunky slow clutch and grab skater based and they let all speed go for Clunky crap.
Rolston, Knuble, Nylander, Gonchar, all went on to have career best in points after Boston let them go and boston signed......McCachern? Scatchard? Tom Green? Isbister? Tom Fitzgerald? Oh and sign leetch who is on his last legs along with Zhamnov.
Boston predictably was out of a playoff spot in 10th in the east in the first quarter of 2005, but the only bright spot was a 33 point in 23 game Joe Thornton. Nobody else on the team even had 20 points. But Jeremy Jacobs decided to torch him personally above all in his "i am unhappy" speech before the trade.
Im sitting at the casino playing Holdem when my buddy says "HOLY CRAP, look at the ticker dude"
I see that Joe Thornton has just been traded. And not only was he traded. My first thought was "Marleau ++ must be coming back", but he was traded for 3 players that are barely 2nd line caliber. Used parts. As they sat there spewing nonsense.
At that moment after 8-9 years of no enjoyment since all my childhood favorites had been gone and any replacements who COULD have become favorites being shipped when they wanted cash, I felt I had held on long enough, with San Jose in even worse shape than Boston sitting in 2nd last overall on a 10 game losing streak, I made the choice to go to the loser 2nd last Sharks team rather than continuing to watch Boston. People on Hockeyforums actually called me a bandwagon jumper and I had to correct them. A Bandwagon jumper jumps on the bandwagon of a WINNING team, not a losing team.
The Sharks sucked before that trade. I accurately predicted Thornton would transform them from worst to a top dog. And he did. The Bruins plummeted in the standing where they remained out of a playoff spot for 3 years.
One thing I will always admire about Chiarelli. He got up in front of a press conference and said Jeremy jacobs has to back off and be HANDS OFF, or I don't want the job. Reportedly Jacobs actually chewed nails over that and did not want to hire him because of it, but his yes men finally found some backbone and told Jacobs "You have to. All bridges are burnt and nobody wants to work here anymore in coaching or GM capacity. Fans merchandise sales are down because you now have the dollar Bill reputation." So Jacobs sat back and finally the lightbulb came on that maybe he SHOULD stay away from forcing GM's to make stupid decisions.
Granted Chiarelli had to dismantle THE ENTIRE TEAM and start from scratch, Literally not a single player from Joe Thornton's Bruins was left when they finally won a cup except Bergeron(who had been a rookie) and a NOW PLAYING FINALLY Tim Thomas. I was happy for Bergeron, but not disappointed, nor did I feel like I made a Mistake. I still cheered for the Bruins to some degree, but I hated ownership so much that it felt like that Crazy ex girlfriend that I wanted nothing to do with no matter how hot or wild she was in the sack. I got much more enjoyment watching the Sharks in the past 12 years than I did since Neely retired and I liked Hockey again.
And for that matter, I had not been really allowed to watch any team BUT boston as a kid. it was almost outlawed in my house. As an adult with a choice, I finally picked my own team when it came down to it and it feels right