Bruins lick wounds

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

The Big Dig, that multi-billion dollar remake of Boston's roadway and infrastructure is nearing completion after 15 years.

The Bruins? Still a work in progress.

A new general manager will be taking control sometime this summer to try and restore the team to prominence. Though the club has done much better than the Maple Leafs through the post expansion years, two Stanley Cups and five appearances in the final after that, recent history has not been kind.

They're facing another year out of the playoffs, having not been past the first round since 1999. They've seen icon Ray Bourque win a Cup in Colorado and Joe Thornton change from black and gold to San Jose teal.

Who picks up the pieces from Mike O'Connell remains to be seen. Dean Lombardi, ex-GM of the Sharks, gets lots of mention as he considers leaving a scouting position in Philadelphia for either Boston or the New York Islanders. Jim Nill, the right-hand man of GM Ken Holland in Detroit, is ready to move up, while Craig Patrick, whose time in Pittsburgh could be at an end, would also be in the mix.

MORE CHANGES

However, all these veteran executives would prefer operating alone. That clashes with the Bruins tradition of ownership and senior people getting involved in monetary matters, namely Jeremy Jacobs and president Harry Sinden. It's believed Jacobs' son Charles eventually will be promoted from executive vice-president to replace Sinden.

The Jacobs' might let interim GM Jeff Gorten keep the job, impressed with his 15-year loyalty to the team and his work since O'Connell was relieved.

Gorten already has indicated that the decks will be cleared of some expensive contracts. Alexei Zhamnov and Shawn McEachern could be on the way out and goaltender Andrew Raycroft is the odd man out with the development of Hannu Toivonen and late bloomer Tim Thomas.

Raycroft is a restricted free agent and could be traded to the highest NHL bidder sometime early next season.

The Bruins have lost four in a row heading into tonight's home game and likely will start Thomas. This could be a good chance for the Leafs to put Mikael Tellqvist back in goal, against a team and a building he's familiar with from three visits earlier this season, a win and two losses.


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