The Bruins are still shirking responsibility for the Mitchel Miller fiasco
A week later, no one in the Bruins organization has taken responsibility the signing of Mitchell Miller. Neither the ownership, nor the management. It’s all been attributed to something called the “verification process.”
The lack of accountability, which would never hold in a Boston room led by Patrice Bergeron, has become the hallmark of the franchise hierarchy under the ownership of “Mr. Jacobs.”
But beyond that, beyond the tangle of moral issues and, most importantly, the revictimization of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, something seems off about the timeline of the decision to give Miller an initial three-year contract that included annual signing bonuses of $95,000 per year.
According to team president Cam Neely in his Nov. 7 press conference, general manager Don Sweeney informed assistant commissioner Bill Daly of the club’s intentions on Nov. 2. On that date, Daly told Sweeney that Miller was scheduled to meet with commissioner Gary Bettman on Nov. 2. in order to be cleansed.
Neely put it, “From what I understand,” which wouldn’t bode well for the GM, who may be in a prime position as a scapegoat.
Meanwhile, a reliable source told Slap Shots that there had been talks at some level between the Bruins and the NHL since August regarding the club’s interest in signing Miller, who became a free agent when none team selected him in 2021. It was a year after the Coyotes waived their rights shortly after selecting him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. It’s unclear at what levels those talks took place.
Regardless, two days after being informed that Miller was currently ineligible, the Bruins announced the signing of the contract that was recorded by the NHL’s Central Register. In an email exchange, Daly confirmed to Slap Shots that the Central Registry is only tasked with ensuring that submitted contracts comply with CBA regulations.
Of course, Miller was not and is not on the NHL’s ineligible list, so the league would have had no legal basis to reject the deal, even as Bettman told reporters on Nov. 5 that: ” I can’t tell you that. [Miller] He will never be eligible to enter the NHL.”
Sources indicated the Bruins weren’t the only team interested in signing the 20-year-old, who was named the 2021-22 USHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year after posting a breakout season of 83 points (39-44) for Tri-City.
Perhaps that explains the rush to judgement. Perhaps that explains why this persona non grata was given a standard entry-level contract with guaranteed signing bonuses instead of an AHL deal.
Neely’s press conference came a day after the Bruins issued a statement that they would cut ties with Miller, if not rescind the offer. But the contract was already registered, so there was nothing to rescind.
Slap Shots has said there has been no effort on behalf of the Bruins to terminate the contract as late as this Saturday. There is almost certainly no legal basis under the CBA to do so. Instead, the club has told Miller, originally assigned to AHL Providence, to return home.
Miller will be paid the remainder of the season at his $82,500 AHL fee. After the season, the Bruins can buy him out of the remaining two years of his contract at one-third of the $775,000 for his NHL salary scale. That would equate to a buyout of $516,615 … plus total guaranteed bonuses totaling $285,000.
Perhaps Miller, along with his agent, Eustace King, might want to donate some of that money to a cause endorsed by Isaiah Meyer-Crothers and his family.
There was no stomach for including a Russian team in a 2024 World Cup, but no interest in holding the first men’s hockey competition since the 2014 Olympics without Russian players.
Hence the postponement of the event to February 2025, which we are told will likely take place in some form without a Russian-affiliated team if the Ukraine war started by the invasion of Vladimir Putin is still not resolved before the planning must be completed. That would be in about a year.
There have only been seven competitions between the best in the entire world, including NHL players: the 1996 and 2004 World Cups of Hockey and the 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games.
Aside from that particular situation, the NHL’s failure to build a meaningful international schedule represents the biggest failure of Bettman’s tenure.
Toronto’s pregame tribute to ALS-stricken great Borje Salming as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame weekend celebration was heartbreaking and moving.
Salming and winger Inge Hammarstrom were the forerunners of the influx of Swedes into the NHL when they joined the Maple Leafs in 1973-74. Both faced constant physical abuse from Canadians trying to protect their birthright in NHL workplaces.
When Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson joined Rangers in 1978-79, their torsos were often scarred with bruises and bruises from the sticks and spears they had been routinely subjected to from game to game. NHL officials did nothing to stop it.
However, they persevered with class and dignity just like Salming and Hammarstrom. These men profiled with guts, which is exactly what made Salming, 71, a legendary figure in his homeland who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 as one of the premier two-way defensemen of his era . friday night
Ultimately, there will be potholes to avoid and serious challenges to face, but yes, these Devils are electric, and yes, they are building a season.
By the way, the last time the Rangers, Islanders and Devils made the playoffs in the same year was 2007. That’s the last of three times (also in 1994 and 1990) since the Colorado Rockies they moved to the Meadowlands in 1982.
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