Peter Chiarelli fired by Boston Bruins after playoff miss

Peter Chiarelli fired by Boston Bruins after playoff miss

The Boston Bruins fired general manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday, days after he and team president Cam Neely watched in stunned silence as their reigning President’s Trophy winning team was eliminated from playoff contention.

Bruins Chief Executive Officer Charlie Jacobs and Neely are conducting an immediate search for a new GM without naming anyone in the interim. Coach Claude Julien remains in place for now, as does his coaching staff. There’s a 3 p.m. presser in Boston, which should be fun.

From the Bruins:

"We are grateful for Peter's service to the Bruins organization over the last nine seasons," said Neely. "His efforts undoubtedly helped the team achieve great success during his tenure and he helped restore the proud tradition of Boston Bruins hockey. We ultimately feel that this change is necessary in order to ensure sustainable success for the club both in the short term and the long term. Our search for a new General Manager will begin immediately."

Chiarelli served as general manager for nine seasons, with his teams topping the 100-point plateau on four occasions and qualifying for the playoffs seven straight years from 2008-2014. Chiarelli earned a Stanley Cup Championship in 2011, a Presidents' Trophy in 2013-14 and a Cup Final appearance in 2013.

He sensed all season that his job was on the line.

“Whether it’s Cam or Charlie who said we’re all under review, I understand that,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve had a lot of success here in my tenure and Claude’s tenure. We’re having a down year. It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year. But I understand. We’ve got to make things better.”

Chiarelli seemed to be pushing the Bruins in a different philosophical direction, from cutting ties with Shawn Thornton and announcing some of the team’s grunts wouldn’t be returning to the addition of Brent Connolly at the trade deadline – a younger player not in the traditional Bruins model. But clearly, Jacobs and Neely didn’t feel confident in Chiarelli’s vision, or that he had a handle on the financial challenges the roster faces.

The Bruins have a ton of salary already on the cap for next season; and while Chiarelli’s ability to keep a winning roster together was lauded, that’s usually the case until it becomes a losing roster. Which it now is.

As far as legacy goes … well, he’s the architect of a Cup champion. Zdeno Chara is a Bruin thanks to his connection to Chiarelli from Ottawa. He made the call on Claude Julien. He pushed for Tim Thomas, he made the Mark Recchi deal and so many others that helped build that roster.

But eventually, and perhaps inevitably, he’ll be seen as the GM who made Both Tyler Seguin Trades: The Phil Kessel deal that allowed the Bruins to draft Seguin second overall in 2010, and the trade that sent Seguin to the Dallas Stars, where he’s become a point-per-game superstar.

How much of the Seguin PR disaster – which it is for the Bruins, no doubt – will be hung on Chiarelli, even if it’s total revisionist history?

And will the next GM in Boston – Don Sweeney and Ray Shero come to mind – take some deep cuts at the bloated veteran roster Chiarelli’s assembled, or will Neely look for someone that can augment it for another short-term run?

If that’s the case, would Julien be safe?