While a hand-by-hand vote was not taken, and not every player had something to say, Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said the locker room stood together over the weekend against the team’s brief association with Mitchell Miller.
“I’m glad we were heard,” Bergeron said Monday.
Bergeron wouldn’t specify what team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney said when they addressed the team in Toronto Saturday, but referred to it as “an open conversation.”
He said he understands the reaction of Bruins fans, who were overwhelmingly negative about the addition of Miller, the 20-year-old defenseman who signed Friday and was headed for an exit by Sunday.
“I think that situation goes back to what we’ve built here as an organization, as a team, as a locker room is to be inclusive and a locker room of respect and integrity,” Bergeron said.
“For us, nothing has changed as far as who we are as individuals, as [people], as a culture in this locker room, what our core values are. We hear you. Also, we feel like our values remain the same.”
Brad Marchand reiterated those comments, saying that management “made a mistake” and that players appreciate the fan support.
“Any time there’s this much media attention, it definitely weighs on your mind a little bit,” he said. “There’s all kinds of situations that come up throughout a year. That’s part of what’s great about hockey — once you get on the ice, you don’t worry about it.”
The club was looking for a reset after a loss in Toronto and all the negativity surrounding the team.
“It was an important topic to talk about, I guess let your voice be heard and have those discussions,” Bergeron said. “That being said, of course you want to refocus and shift the focus back to what we can control, and play the best hockey we can play.”
Bruins coach Jim Montgomery was not consulted about the Miller signing, and said his confidence in his general manager and team president remains high. He said the players should easily put the situation behind them.
“Because of the culture we have here,” he said. “We listen to each other. I think you saw a lot of people listening to each other and sharing their beliefs. There’s a lot of respect within the Boston Bruins organization, from the top of the food chain all the way to the bottom. I don’t see it being an issue.”
On Monday, Montgomery is coaching against the team that gave him his first chance to get back into coaching after his Dallas tenure ended. St. Louis hired Montgomery as an assistant coach some 10 months after the Stars fired him for an undisclosed reason related to Montgomery’s alcohol abuse. Montgomery expressed his gratitude to the Blues … Coaching in St. Louis gave the assistant coach a chance to bond with ex-Bruin Torey Krug (1-2—3 in nine games this season). “I really value how competitive and how smart he is,” Montgomery said. “I’d go pick his brain a lot. He’s a real high-end thinker and he’s a real high-end character person.” … Old pal Noel Acciari comes in with 1-1—2 in nine games … The Blues have lost six in a row, all in regulation (0-6-0) … A.J. Greer will take a seat with the return of Craig Smith (upper body). The latter is in the No. 4 right wing spot, with center Tomas Nosek and left wing Trent Frederic … Nick Foligno will be moved to the third line, with Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha ... The Bruins assigned Jakub Lauko to Providence. Lauko has 1-1–2 in seven games with the varsity.
Linus Ullmark will draw his fifth start in a row, and is in line to start two more — Thursday against Calgary, Saturday at Buffalo — before Keith Kinkaid faces incoming Vancouver Sunday. Montgomery said Ullmark’s energy stores are “really good. I thought he was really good in Toronto. He’s doing his job. He seems to be really confident, top of his crease.” … Montgomery closed with condolences to the family of Peter McNab, the Avalanche broadcaster and former Bruins center who on Sunday died of cancer at age 70. “He was a great Bruin,” Montgomery said. “I remember him in the ‘70s as a fan. I got to know him as a person at the University of Denver, and got to spend a lot of time with him.”