Jacobs digs into a full plate of concerns
In a rare public appearance, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs addressed questions about his franchise yesterday morning as part of a fund-raising breakfast for the Jimmy Fund held at the Player's Club at Fenway Park.
The event, called "Breakfast With The Bosses," was put on by sports radio station WEEI as part of a daylong telethon to raise money for the charity, and it featured three other owners: John W. Henry of the Red Sox, Wyc Grousbeck of the Celtics, and Robert Kraft of the Patriots.
Following the event, during which Jacobs conceded that he was very concerned about the club's fan base, he sat down with the Globe to discuss several issues.
When asked how content he was with his roster as currently constituted, Jacobs said, "I'm 99 percent satisfied. You're always looking to make a deal for something better, but the realities are, is it viable, is it possible? Being in the last year of the collective bargaining agreement, it's going to drive a lot of the intelligence there."
Jacobs acknowledged that the team faces the same question mark surrounding a No. 1 goaltender that it did as training camp approached last year.
"It seems to be," he said. "It's a work in progress. You've heard a guy like Curtis Joseph [whom the Bruins have discussed acquiring from the Detroit Red Wings] who brings good and bad things, and that's what [the front office] is weighing. On top of it, he has had some physical issues. You're going to have to be looking not only currently but long-term.
"The great hope you always have is that you're evolving -- [Andrew] Raycroft and that whole segment -- and they'll turn out to be as good as you think they are. Although there are proven goalies out there, some of them have reached their peak and are on their way down. We saw in the playoffs where Jersey and the tremendous goalie they have [Martin Brodeur] was able to prevail. The fellow from out in Anaheim [Jean-Sebastien Giguere] did an admirable job and that wasn't predicted.
"Usually, 50 percent of the goalies are predictable who succeed and 50 percent who haven't succeeded were not predicted. I think this tells us that if you can't find a proven goalie, you're going to have to see if there is one your scouts and others can tell you is really good and you can acquire."
Jacobs said he watched the playoffs with interest, particularly since the team that knocked out the Bruins in the first round and went on to win the Stanley Cup -- the Devils -- had a payroll very similar to Boston's.
"The quality of management is how they spend it, and if we had spent it in the same place they did, maybe we could've had the same team they had and won it," said Jacobs. "I'm not saying I don't like my team, I just think they did a better job allocating their dollars than we did.
"Going forward it will be very interesting because if there's parity, as Bob Kraft said, everybody has a chance to win. It will then rely very much on how much you manage your dollars. This would speak very much to [president Harry Sinden's] point. He says the more you obligate ourselves today, it's going to hurt us in the future because we won't be able to use those dollars to put together the kind of team that others will be who haven't already obligated themselves. This is a balancing act for him."
With the hiring of Mike Sullivan, the Bruins are on their fifth coach since the start of the 2000-01 season, a dizzying turnover.
"I am concerned about it," said Jacobs. "I like Robbie [Ftorek] and I liked [Pat] Burns a great deal. Robbie at the end was a disappointment to us and shouldn't have been. But we had to make the responsible move. [General manager Mike O'Connell] did the responsible thing. As the leader, he had to take that on. He learned a lot about it and hopefully we're going in the right direction.
"Maybe a young coach is where we should be and that's where we are. Frankly, I think that's where we should be. I think this idea that proven coaches, etc., is maybe not as well thought through as what we've done here. I think we've evolved a coach."
In short order, he'll see where it will take them.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.