Patrice Bergeron scores twice in Saturday win @ Buffalo Sabres. Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press, as used by TSN

Controversial Signing Shakes Bruins Locker Room

The Boston Bruins have gone through a turbulent week and a half. The team had been praised by many for their hard work and strength in the face of injury. Not only had Charlie McAvoy not come back to the ice, but the team also lost their top penalty killer Derek Forbort to a broken finger and center David Krejci to an upper body injury. Despite these setbacks, the Bruins had been riding a 10-1-0 start into a weekend matchup against their struggling 4-4-2 rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, all good feelings would evaporate on November 4th, with the Bruins signing highly controversial USHL Defensive Player of the Year Mitchell Miller. Miller had been previously drafted in the 4th round of 2020 by the Arizona Coyotes. He was quickly released, though, as details of his racist bullying towards a disabled black classmate throughout elementary and middle school surfaced. Bruins President Cam Neely initially defended the signing, citing a lapse in the “vetting process” of players, along with an apparently competitive market among other teams for Miller, and a desire to give him a second chance. In the locker room, many veteran players were confused and frustrated with the signing. 

“It goes against what we are as a culture and as a team, and for me as a person,” captain Patrice Bergeron told the press.

The Bruins cut Miller 2 days later, after the Leafs handed them their second loss of the season. Bruins management was heavily criticized by fans for this signing, many of whom believed this signing was unnecessary from the start. A combination of this signing, poor prospect management, and confusing drafting fueled conversation calling for firing Neely and GM Don Sweeney.

Since then, the Bruins have done their best to quell the idea that this would derail their season. David Krejci has returned from his injury sustained in a game vs the Red Wings, and Charlie McAvoy has come back to the top defensive pair on the roster a few weeks ahead of schedule, including a goal in the 3-1 victory over the middling Calgary Flames. 

The Bruins currently sit at 14-2-0, and hold the best record in the NHL. Tonight brings a home matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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