Bruins executive vice president Charlie Jacobs has a message for fans: No matter who is named general manager -- and it's looking as if Nashville assistant GM Ray Shero is their guy -- the team is not going to employ a ''business as usual" philosophy.
Part of the reason the process of finding a new executive to run the front office has been so lengthy -- eight weeks today since Mike O'Connell was relieved of his duties -- was because Jacobs and his father, owner Jeremy Jacobs, wanted to take stock of the organization.
The junior Jacobs said not only has the family reassessed every facet of the way the club operated, they've also done some self-evaluation.
''I do think it's important in Boston, and particularly that Bruins fans understand what we're trying to do and what we hope to have happen in this transition period," said Jacobs. ''It's a real critical time, in my opinion, for the organization, one like we've never faced before."
Jacobs said they went into this period with far more questions than answers. He said they're just now getting some of those answers.
''In 1985, if something changes, we say we've got to get a new one [coach, GM etc.] and we go out and hire one in a week," he said. ''We don't ask maybe some of the questions that need to be asked and answered before you go out and find the best candidate available. I think really this process has been a little bit about that, asking questions of ourselves. What do we need to make sure this guy coming in can succeed? How do we set ourselves up in the meantime so that when this person does arrive, we have the best possibility to succeed? Internally, what needs to happen? It's been eight weeks but there was a lot of road that needed to be covered and we're just getting started, but we're getting there."
One area Jacobs promises improvement is in accessibility. The media is the conduit between the team and the fans and Jacobs said ownership wants the front office to communicate its message -- whatever it happens to be at the time -- in much better fashion.
''We've got a lot of changes occurring internally and hopefully soon we'll be able to communicate those to the external [people]," he said. ''There are some principles we're trying to really put our fingers on and say, 'This is really what it needs to be about.' We're looking for those in our candidates and hoping to find those attributes. It goes without saying a guy has to be able to evaluate skill and all the rest, but there are some parts to this addition that need to be spoken or at least addressed."
The more Jacobs explained the philosophy, the more it sounded as if the Bruins want to take a page out of the Red Sox' book.
''In particular, in the past we've had our failures to communicate," said Jacobs. ''By failures, we haven't been the most transparent in terms of our ability to communicate with outside people [such as the media]. I hope this new GM, when they come aboard, next to getting a coach and finding the best team, is being able to communicate and be up front."
By transparent, Jacobs said he means comprehensive and genuine communication about the issues at hand.
''The importance about what is being discussed because there are a lot of important things in Bruins history -- at least in recent Bruins history -- that really haven't been up front and addressed the way we'd like it to be addressed as owners," he said. ''I hope we can get those out there. I also think there are a lot of things that have happened in this organization that need to be addressed. I'm not talking about any trades, I'm not talking about player personnel. I'm just talking about the way we go about our business, and my hope is we can fundamentally change that."
So, just when will the Bruins name the new GM? Jacobs said the team will likely have something to announce next week. It's down to a precious few. In addition to Shero, Ottawa assistant GM Peter Chiarelli remains in the mix.
''We haven't made a decision, we really haven't," said Jacobs.
Jacobs is very high on interim GM Jeff Gorton. When asked if the Boston fans' perception that hiring Gorton would signal ''business as usual" would hurt his candidacy, Jacobs said, ''No matter what, Jeff's part of the solution in some way, shape, or form."
No matter who gets the job, Jacobs said they're looking for a long-term solution, not a quick fix.
''If a guy comes in here and leaves in three years but does a good job, do we consider it a good job? Yeah," Jacobs said. ''He doesn't have to be on the job for 30 or 40 years."