Boston Bruins

What’s Up With The Don Sweeney Contract Extension?

As Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continues to interview candidates to become the next head coach of the Bruins, there is no update regarding his contract status.

“No update,” a Boston Bruins team source replied late Monday afternoon via email when asked if Sweeney had signed a contract extension yet.

Prior to that reply, an NHL executive source had this to say when he was asked if he had heard anything new on a Sweeney extension.

“I don’t know if he’s signed an extension – Don keeps things close to the vest, you know that – but given the fact he already fired the head coach, is interviewing candidates to replace ‘Butch’ [Bruce Cassidy] and from what I can tell you, is talking shop with other GM’s, it seems status quo. I think it’s just a formality they need to do, but hey, I’ve seen stranger things.”

What’s been strange to so many, is how Sweeney and team President Cam Neely in their respective end of the season media sessions, both indicated that an extension for Sweeney was imminent.

“I’m under contract for right now. I’ve had a discussion earlier in the year in terms of the indication of where my path will be and that will be determined in short order,” Don Sweeney told the media on May 18.

The next day, Neely had this to say on Sweeney’s status with the Boston Bruins:

“I started talking with Charlie [Jacobs] and Mr. [Jeremy] Jacobs after the deadline about extending Don, so that’s my plan, is to do that. I’m going to sit down with Don in the next day or two and hopefully hammer something out.”

When asked why he wasn’t already extended to that point, Neely replied:

“To be honest, I really wanted to see how the year went. We had a lot of changes in the last offseason, so I just really wanted to see how that played out. Obviously, you get January, February, March – really good months for us. The team really came together. I thought we had a lot of depth and I was happy with what he did at the deadline.”

That’s also when Neely dropped some grenades on the status of now-former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Three weeks later, despite assuring Cassidy that he was coming back as Bruins head coach and allowing him to fire assistant coach Kevin Dean the following week, Sweeney went to Cassidy’s Winchester, MA home to inform the 2019 Jack Adams Award winner he had been fired. In a press conference the next day, Sweeney had this update on his own job status:

“My job relative to keeping it, I think I’ve made decisions whether it be in my last year of my contract or my first year of my contract, it’s in the best interest of the Boston Bruins. That’s not why I stand up here today to worry about my job, as far as what my recommendations are, they’re not caught off guard in any way, shape or form in the directions that I need to move well in advance. In terms of how I think we are, injuries are going to be a part of that, but we’re a competitive group and we’re going to remain a competitive group, but we may need to infuse at some point in time. We have the injuries and things that catch up to you that you just can’t get out from under, that’s a problem. And into Bergeron as I referenced last time I was here; it could be a directional shift as well.”

As of now Sweeney appears to be directing that shift wherever it ends up leading but is he doing so on a trial basis or with a wink-wink agreement in place?

The gut here is that it’s the latter, but as the NHL executive above stated, ‘I’ve seen stranger things’