The Skate Podcast: Cam Neely talks Don Sweeney’s ‘hard decisions’ and more

By WEEI 93.7

The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are trying to figure it out.

They won the Stanley Cup multiple times in the past decade, but they’ve fallen on hard times. They’re trying to climb back into contention without breaking up their cores.

The Bruins have done that, and on the newest episode of The Skate Podcast, Bruins president Cam Neely joined co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman for a long-range interview that included discussion about how general manager Don Sweeney rebooted the Bruins while keeping the core intact starting in 2015.

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“When we went through the interview process for the next GM, I really liked what Don had to say about how he thought we cool retool on the fly, so to speak,” Neely said. “And one of the hard decisions was moving on from Milan (Lucic). We had Brad (Marchand), who we knew we had to sign. Milan, his contract was coming up, and he meant so much to the organization and was a big factor to our 2011 win, so he was a guy that we said we could move on from and probably get a good return for him, which we did.

“And that helped jump start it.”

The Bruins are going to be facing another hard decision with a veteran player, as defenseman Torey Krug can become an unrestricted free agent this season. Boston will have to determine whether they’re willing to give the 28-year-old term he wants, as well as the money, in an effort to stay in win-now mode, or move on and find ways to replace Krug.

“That’s what you battle with because you know you want to win now but you also are like ‘OK, what’s it going to be like in four or five years?’ We look at our roster today and the age of our core players that won in ’11 and you say ‘OK how many more years do we got?’ So you want to take advantage of those as much as you can,” Neely said.

Neely also talked about David Pastrnak’s prospects for 50 goals, the best line he ever played on, the Bruins’ secondary scoring and the famous water bottle toss from last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

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