Citing "new information," the Bruins announced Sunday night that they've cut ties with recently signed Mitchell Miller, effective immediately.
I don't think we need to recap the who/what/why of the Miller saga, as we're all aware of the firestorm that ensued when the Bruins announced they were signing Miller on Friday.
The team released a statement announcing the walking back of the signing, attributed to Cam Neely, which you can read below:
"The decision to sign this young man was made after careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them: that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction. We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract.
Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins. We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth.
We owe it to our fans, players, staff, partners and community to make sure that our practices and protocols are in keeping with the ethos that we demand from ourselves and as an organization. As such, we will be reevaluating our internal processes for vetting individuals who wish to earn the privilege of playing in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins.
We are sorry that this decision has overshadowed the incredible work the members of our organization do to support diversity and inclusion efforts. We will continue to stand against bullying and racism in all of its forms.
To Isaiah and his family, my deepest apologies if this signing made you and other victims feel unseen and unheard. We apologize for the deep hurt and impact we have caused.
Finally, as a father, I think there is a lesson to be learned here for other young people. Be mindful of careless behaviors and going with the group mentality of hurting others. The repercussions can be felt for a lifetime.”
To be frank, it's hard to take this Bruins statement seriously.
The claims that "new information" led to the change and that the team originally believed Miller's behavior to be an "isolated incident" are borderline laughable, considering anyone with an internet connection and the ability to Google Miller's name knew that the latter wasn't true.
Some will say "OK, they did the right thing by changing their mind, let's move forward," but a calamity like this is hard to fathom from your hockey ops team.
Over the weekend, players like Patrice Bergeron and Nick Foligno noted that the signing was, among other things, hard to swallow and contrary to the team's values.
Head coach Jim Montgomery noted that he wasn't consulted.
It was revealed that Miller likely wouldn't be eligible to play in either the NHL or AHL, and that the B's didn't consult the league before making the signing.
Even if you give Don Sweeney and Neely a very generous benefit of the doubt and allow that the team truly wasn't aware of the depth of Miller's transgressions, what does that say about your hockey ops team's ability to vet signings?
The statement mentions "reevaluating" those processes, but how flimsy were the processes to begin with if something like this slipped through the cracks?
To sum it up, this was a complete shitshow from the start, and it's hard to understand what the Bruins were thinking.
They may have believed the initial shock of the signing would quickly subside, or maybe that they'd be seen in a positive light for giving Miller another NHL chance.
Instead, the team's management group permanently damaged its reputation in the eyes of many, all in the name of signing a likely AHL-level player.
Neely will be the one to face the media tomorrow morning, so I guess we'll see how this goes.
It's unclear if there will be any repercussions for the hockey ops team, but it's fair to assume that this isn't just going to go away after a couple of days.