Sincere Apology to Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney: You were right about everything

Dear Don,

Sports columnists generally aren’t good at apologizing. We tend to all be rambunctious and a little remorseful, but I wanted to write to let you know that I was wrong about your ability to build a Stanley Cup contender. I was wrong to say that former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is better at his job than you are at yours. I tell Cam Neely to stop growling at me at press conferences.

The Bruins you built is a vulcanized rubber wrecking ball. Accordingly, I canceled all vacation plans for the month of June.

I thought you were grabbing at straws and trying to cover your tracks, uh…when you decided to squeeze another kick into the mug from that heart like the last ketchup slick from a spent bottle. I scoffed when I said over and over that a club that folded in Carolina’s first round “left something on the table.”

I know you’re an avid cyclist, but I thought you’d just spin your wheels and take the hockey crowd out for a spin.

Right now, I want to dress up like Claude Lemieux. Your Bruins look as unstoppable as Wayne Gretzky in the breakaway. Your unbeatable total of 76 points in 45 games (36-5-4) heading into Sunday’s game with the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden. Even The Gallery Gods could not have conceived of a Bruins dominant on home ice with one regulation loss in 25 games.

This season has been pure bliss for the faithful speakers, thank you.

You’ve shown a touch of gold to black and gold and that’s certainly the envy of some of your Harvard classmates in the financial world.

Persuading older skateboarding man Patrice Bergeron to return for the 19th season with a friend-hat contract was a coup. Bergé’s age matches his jersey number (37), but you wouldn’t know that from his play. Put it in the sixth Selke Cup.

However, your pucks piece de resistance He was cajoling David Krejci back from a sabbatical in the Czech Republic. Admittedly, I thought the plan to lure Craigie back to fill the second-line position gap that blew up last year’s team and Cassidy’s tenure in Boston was lazy and hopeless. But that’s why readers remind me that I’m not Mr. Hooky every chance they get.

Craigsey, 36, still has his trademark playmaking touch—he recorded his 105th career multi-assist game Thursday night, passing Wayne Cashman for sixth in franchise history. He made magic on the Just Czeching Line with compatriots David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha – I can’t believe you got it for Erik Haula! – on his wings.

Pastrnak is a 35-game scoring machine in 45 games. Normally, I would advise you not to lock him up. The price of the contract continues to climb with each flick of the stick triggering tremors. But you obviously knew it was going to be driven by the specter of a year contract to produce a career year.

Advantage, Sweeney.

Speaking of contracts, I must introduce another guilt. I thought the $20 million four-year contract I handed to goalkeeper Linus Ullmark ahead of the 2021-22 season was an overpayment for a net manager.

Well, I’m cute. I thought it was another one of the Jacobs family’s free agent moves for the cash as David Bax.

But you know Allmark will be hosting the 2011 Tim Thomas Channel this season. He is the only qualified NHL goaltender with a score under 2.00 (1.89), leads the league in save percentage (. 937) and wins (24).

Everyone continues to search for a hole in the black and gold armor, but there is no hole.

Your club leads the NHL in goals per game (3.80) and, by far, the fewest goals allowed per game (2.07). As of Friday, no team has scored more third-period goals (67) or allowed fewer overall (93).

Your team continues to bury opponents like the organization that buried the entire unfortunate Mitchell Miller affair.

Oh, sorry I brought that up. Old habits die hard.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer the tribute and sincere apology for the move that paid off the most, prompting Cassidy to hire Jim Montgomery.

You were so frank that I thought your dealings with Cassidy was an act of self-preservation on your part. I thought you were just keeping your hockey game hidden. That you were the one who deserved to get the pink slip and not the shooter Butch, who brought the team to the cusp of the Stanley Cup in 2019 and then saw it surpassed in subsequent seasons by more talented linebackers, particularly on the blue line. Cassidy boasted the second-best point percentage (672) of any Bruins coach for more than two seasons behind Tom Johnson (. 738).

You’re right. The team needed a change in message and messenger.

Montgomery energized the defense and reinvigorated the team’s confidence and ingenuity. Even Jake DeBrusk seems happy to be a Bruin.

He was having a solid season before he had a long-term infrared trial with hand and lower body injuries after scoring the match-winner at the Winter Classic. I thought DeBrusk was only able to suffer from a bruised ego.

I think Cassidy has been very warm to the media and very prickly to his players with his blunt assessments. Either way, a different sound was exactly what this group needed.

It’s one thing to throw a trainer overboard. Choosing the right successor is another matter. I hit it off with Montgomery, the former University of Maine captain. Glory.

The unflappable Montgomery pushed all the right buttons and managed to snatch more insults from the roster, which is a must because it helps hide some of the problems the team has had since 2015, which purely coincidentally was the year it became a GM.

It was a good omen for Montgomery and the team when his children were kind enough to offer pieces of cake from his introductory press conference to voracious members of the media.

That’s it without. I just wanted to admit that I was wrong and you were right – in everything.

I don’t expect a response. I’m sure you’ve been busy scouting out trade deadline add-ons, and making sure this team is tight in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

See you at the show.


Chris J.

Christopher L. Jasper is a columnist for The Globe. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @employee.

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