Even after cutting ties with Mitchell Miller, Bruins organization failed
Since the Bruins announced the controversial signing of Mitchell Miller on Friday, a lot has unfolded.
New information has been brought forward, information that had the Bruins picked up a cell phone, or did a better job of researching, they would have known before putting ink to paper.
Following days of anger and questions from those around the hockey community, the Bruins cut ties with Miller Sunday night.
Cutting Miller was the right choice, but the damage had already been done.
Releasing Miller does not undo the fact that the Bruins were okay with signing Miller. Furthermore, they were willing to sign Miller without learning all the facts.
The organization was in the belief they had done their due diligence.
The Bruins announced they were cutting ties with Miller in a statement by team president Cam Neely Sunday night.
Monday morning Neely addressed the media.
“The fact that we didn’t talk to the family (of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers) was concerning to me,” Neely said Monday. “I’m disappointed that we’re in this position. We shouldn’t be in this position. So, we could’ve done a better job. We should’ve done a better job.”
While Neely stood in front of the media Monday and owned what they had done, some of Neely’s comments were a bit alarming.
"From everything I heard, he was working on himself, working in programs to better himself. I was under the impression he was a 14-year-old kid who made a really, really bad decision and did some horrible things,” Neely said. “And he's 20 years old now, so, I was under the impression that he was, in the last six years, had bettered himself."
The Bruins organization being run by a team president who goes by what he heard and being under impressions as opposed to doing proper due diligence is concerning. Neely admitted there was an issue with the vetting process.
The whole thought process of Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and anyone else involved with this signing was simply off base. It’s clear from the start that the organization did not consider all the factors, thinking this would be something that would quickly blow over.
"Well, initially I was thinking it was going to be, 'Okay, this kid deserves a second chance.' You know, I thought there would be some people that were going to be upset about it. But to the extent of this, I misread that,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney met with the Bruins leaders before signing Miller.
"I was asked by Don close to a week ago for my opinion. I had my concerns. I shared my opinion. In a way, I was not necessarily agreeing with it. To be honest with you, the culture that we’ve built here goes against that type of behavior,” said Bergeron. “We’re a team that’s built something about character, character people and individuals. What he did, obviously, is unacceptable and we don’t stand by that.”
If any good is to come from this, it’s hopefully that in any future situation where the player’s character is in question, the organization will remember this and do its proper due diligence.
The Bruins are 10-2, playing outstanding hockey, this has been an unneeded distraction.
“We hear you,” Bergeron said to Bruins fans Monday, “and our values remain the same. I’m glad we were heard.”
The Bruins made a mistake and thankfully owned the mistake. In the process it showed the organization that internally, they have some flaws.
It's unfortunate that Isaiah Meyer-Crothers and his family had to once again be dragged through the mud so the Bruins could figure that out.
Mitchell Miller is unlikely to ever play in the National Hockey League. The Bruins unfortunately took the bullet to find that one out.