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2022 Management Ratings: Where are we on Cam Neely?

A Bruins legend is leaving a very up and down legacy in his wake.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Cam Neely

Reader Rating: 3.2

Writer Rating: 3

The Boston Bruins ownership group, as it has often been groused about on Stanley Cup of Chowder, does not actually make its headquarters in Boston nor does it seem like the Jacobs family take a direct interest in the team in any time that doesn’t involve the team looking to be dangerously out of a playoff spot by January.

The Business and Hockey Ops position, as his own page on the Bruins website claims, falls squarely on President Cam Neely.

To the business end, it’s impossible to say he’s done a poor job at successfully promoting and ingraining the Bruins into New England hockey fan’s subconscious; the team has been in the top 5 of most valuable franchises in the sport for the past seven years both in terms of revenue and brand, as much as the reworked seats are a pain in the butt, the upgrades to TD Garden and The Hub outside the arena are not just drastic, but impressive.

The team getting playoff revenue like clockwork for years certainly didn’t hurt their case, created the Warrior Ice Arena in Allston for practices and also for the Boston Pride to have a dedicated home base.

On this front, we can say for certain that he has otherwise steered the team in a good financial direction and they are in no imminent danger of moving or testing new waters elsewhere.

As for the hockey side? A decade of near-clockwork participation in the NHL playoffs, with three finals and a Stanley Cup under his belt, most fanbases, including several financially solvent ones, would kill for that kind of sustained success, even if the two heartbreaker endings marred people’s enjoyment of it.

The Boston Bruins for over a decade have been a very, very good hockey team. Good enough to almost win the Stanley Cup three times.

But only one at the beginning of this prosperity decade marks it. This cup win is now old enough to have been in Elementary School long enough to be thinking about Junior High. And a lot of the mistakes, roster issues, and disappointing seasons have fallen, in some way or another, at his feet to react to.

Where fans are concerned ultimately comes down to a vagueness on how much his input matters.

He’s the President and on the hierarchy of the team, he does technically outrank Don Sweeney and employs him, so it’s not out of the question to say that he has some direct say on the way the team conducts itself, but the Jacobs family has been up front that they take plenty of input from both GM and President equally, and Cam seems to trust Don Sweeney to do what he thinks needs to be done to keep the Bruins successful, having never once openly said “I disagree” with any move he’s made so far. And Don’s made a ton of moves.

But it’s hard to know whether or not he made his decisions entirely independently.

How many players who seem like the kind of guy a casual fan who’s interested in the fights would sign have passed through the doors and made fans tear their hair out as they struggle against the Bolts or Canes or hell, the regular season Leafs? How many more times can he say “the defense needs to be bigger and hit harder”? or that the team that finishes in the first couple of playoff rounds is “is getting away from our game”?

How long does it take before it finally sinks in that the 90’s version of the sport has long past the modern era, and you have to build to face teams like the Avalanche?

At the end of the day...we just don’t know where Don Sweeney’s vision ends and Cam begins. It’s why people use “Sweeneely” interchangeably to describe their reign.

It feels like after the Cassidy firing that both are definitely under a microscope, and given how quickly things moved when the Bruins threatened to merely be okay? He’s gotta be feeling at least some sort of pressure to get one last cup out of this team.

Because it really feels like him getting to see the next chapter of the Bruins hinges on this year and next.

But who knows? Maybe this works itself out.