Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,
Like five other teams this week, the Boston Bruins enjoyed a closed doors meeting with John Tavares. And keeping it simple like the other five teams, the Bruins did not bombard the 27-year-old by having their entire franchise in attendance. They instead came to the CAA offices with general manager Don Sweeney, team president Cam Neely, and coach Bruce Cassidy.What separated the Bruins from the rest of the teams, however, was that their meeting with Tavares and agent Pat Brisson was the ‘seemingly briefest,’ as they were in and out of there within two hours. The Internet being, well, the The Internet, was quick to point to this as a negative for the Black and Gold, leaving you to think that their slim chances are officially nil.

But that’s some serious assuming. So let’s do some more.

First of all, a three-hour meeting sounds like a nightmare. Doing two of them back-to-back sounds even worse. Actually, doing three straight days of multiple three-hour interviews is hardly worth the $80 million or so, if you ask me. But it’s even worse when you realize that it’s three hours of somebody basically stroking your ego and essentially pleading with you to come to their team. I have to imagine that it can get quite old real fast, and it doesn’t seem like Tavares’ style. He’s a relatively mild-mannered off-ice personality, and there’s a belief from some that this big extravaganza isn’t something he really enjoys.

So, if the Bruins kept it short and to the point, I’m not sure that that’s a bad thing.

Oh, and Tavares has already done his homework. The man owns a 77-page document that outlined the franchises he’s interested in, where he fits, and everything in between! He also knows Boston. He’s played against the Bruins 30 times since 2009, and he’s been to Boston at least 15 times because of that 30-game run. Patrice Bergeron has been Tavares’ teammate for multiple Team Canada runs, too, and he would be the first person No. 91 could call for any other questions.

Assuming that a player needs to be in the meeting with a potential teammate is kinda silly considering it’s 2018 now. We now have a billion different ways to talk to people, and talking face-to-face is probably towards the bottom of the list.

I also think that Sweeney is all business right now. Think about it: He whiffed on wooing Ilya Kovalchuk, and so far he’s failed to make a trade or move that upgrades the top four of his defense corps in regards to their 2019 Stanley Cup hopes. Given the breakneck speed of this courting period, and how names just start flying off the board on July 1, he’s not in the room with Tavares to talk bagels and which Boston suburb is the best to live in if you want a stress-free commute to Warrior Ice Arena.

Jerking around for three to four hours and failing to hit on the main points would be the quickest way to get nothing to done, and leave Los Angeles going, “What the hell did we just pitch to him?” If we want to be honest with ourselves, anyway.

The main points Sweeney only needed two hours to outline?

The B’s have perhaps the best mix of win-now pieces and young guns to set them up for legitimate years of contention. Of course, some of the other teams in the hunt have that as well, yes. But the Black and Gold also have the cap space to give Tavares what he wants while not having to rip that to the ground, something the Tampa Bay Lightning cannot say.

Under Cassidy, the Bruins have played an up-tempo style that’s brought about some downright ridiculous results. Since Cassidy took over in Feb. 2017, the Bruins are tied with the Nashville Predators for the second-most wins in the NHL, and have the third-most points, behind the Lightning and Predators. They’ve also scored the fifth-most goals while surrendering the third-fewest over that span, and their power play has clicked at 24.5 percent, the third-best mark in all of hockey. It’s not hard to see how No. 91 would thrive under this coaching structure, which he’s obviously lacked with the Islanders.

(I think the Cassidy element is an important one here, too, as he is among the most direct communicators in the NHL. He gives it straight to everybody, from the reporter in the last row to the player called into his office after a bad night. Players are never left wondering when they talk with Bruce, and it’s hard to imagine that suddenly changing when face-to-face with a potential star. You give Cassidy with 10 minutes and Tavares — or, again, any player — knows what he thinks about them.)

And despite his payday, Tavares would not be coming to Boston to be The Guy.

The pillars of the franchise are set with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (you can include potential Tavares linemate David Pastrnak on that list), Charlie McAvoy looks like the successful heir apparent to Zdeno Chara, and the B’s will be able to squeeze a few more good seasons out of Tuukka Rask. (The goaltender point should be a huge one for Tavares to consider, as the Isles have had disastrous netminding.) It’s not as if the B’s would be asking Tavares to be the savior of an otherwise hapless franchise (the Islanders), end a ridiculous Cup drought (like they would beg for in Toronto while the media watched Tavares’ hot dog habits like a hawk), or carry a perennial playoff disappointment to the finish line (the Sharks).

This isn’t something that requires a video montage, elaborate slideshow, or anything close to three hours to be explained.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.