Cam Neely

Cam Neely mum on final say, seeks better president-GM communication with Don Sweeney

DJ Bean
May 20, 2015 - 11:36 am
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While Cam Neely defended his relationship with Claude Julien Wednesday, he revealed a bit more about how he got along with the recently fired Peter Chiarelli. After the Bruins introduced Don Sweeney as the team'€™s next general manager, Neely stressed the importance of communication in the front office, prompting a question as to whether he felt he and Chiarelli communicated as well as they would have liked. "The communication could have been better," Neely answered. Chiarelli was the GM before Neely was president, but Chiarelli'€™s success prevented Neely from picking his own guy until the Bruins missed the playoffs this season. Given that Sweeney is both a former teammate of Neely'€™s and the general manager of Neely'€™s choosing, the working relationship between he and Neely figures to be better. He claimed that his friendship with Sweeney did not take priority over the qualifications of other candidates. "I've been president of the Bruins since 2010," Neely said. "I have not hired a friend." Neely repeatedly deflected questions about who gets final say on player personnel, but noted he doesn'€™t want to do his general manager'€™s job. "I'€™ve made it very clear: I'€™m not a GM. I don'€™t want to be a GM," Neely said. "I want the GM to do the job, but I want to know what'€™s going on. I don'€™t know how much more clear I can be with that. If the GM wants to push and fight and say '€˜This is the right thing,'€™ then I'€™ll sit down and listen. I want to have conversations. My door is always open." Neely was then asked who's responsible for the moves the team makes, whether good or bad. He said that the president should take responsibility, but still avoided whether he makes the final decision. Asked who makes the call when the hockey operations department is split on a decision, he responded "tie goes to the runner." "Then who's the runner?" multiple media members asked. "Ultimately, if Don feels strongly about something, I've got to allow him to do his job," Neely said, "but if I feel strongly about something then I'll let him know. But this total autonomy thing, since I became president in 2010, it's been [considered] a big deal, and I don't get it. I really don't." The Bruins fired Chiarelli on April 15. He has since taken over the Oilers as team president and GM. Because he had term on his contract that the Bruins would pay had he not found work elsewhere, the Bruins can seek draft pick compensation from the Oilers. Neely confirmed the Bruins are seeking a pick from the Oilers, which would be a second-round pick in one of the next three drafts. The Oilers get to pick which year they give up the pick, making it unlikely that they'€™ll part with the third pick of the second round in this June'€™s draft.