Oft-Criticized Jacobs Revels In Bruins' Stanely Cup Final Appearance
Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs "can take a bow" for his club's "exciting surge to the Cup finals that has whipped Boston's passionate fan base into a frenzy, but he's probably better off keeping his head up when skating through the neutral zone with the team's loyal following," according to Mike Reiss of ESPN BOSTON. Jacobs’ “place in Boston's sports ownership landscape is quite different” from Red Sox Owner John Henry, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck. He has “always had the dough, but it seemed easy to question if he had the same commitment and passion as Black and Gold followers who were investing in his team each year.” Jacobs said, "I'm extremely proud to own this franchise. We're in good shape, the family is fortunately in position where we can continue to own this franchise for generations going forward. We've brought great stability to this franchise. It's been in the Jacobs family for 36 years, and I would be proud if it could stay there for the next 36 years” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 5/29).
FEELING VINDICATED: In Boston, Ron Borges wrote Jacobs “always insisted he was willing to spend to win even when there was piddling evidence of that.” But Jacobs since the '04-05 NHL lockout has "done what he said he’d do once a market system was in place that he didn’t feel was the business version of ‘Coeds Gone Wild.’" Now that a "cap is in place he spends to it, and the result has been the following: The Bruins have some high-priced players, and those players have carried the owner to the Stanley Cup finals.” Jacobs said the team’s appearance in the Cup Final “does validate that we’re filling the holes with the right people and bringing the right organization together.” Jacobs: “It validates the quality of the management and the leadership, the leadership not just at the top but throughout the organization. I think the organization from the top to the bottom has evolved into a singular objective. ... I’m very proud of what they accomplished.” Jacobs addressed the team Sunday, and Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “I was happy that he did take the time to speak to our team. We don’t see him much during the regular season. He comes and watches games, but he certainly is not one of those owners that will interfere and then come down much” (BOSTON HERALD, 5/30). In a front-page piece for the BOSTON GLOBE, Shira Springer writes the "distance Jacobs keeps" helps account for his "image as an aloof owner, someone too far removed from the Boston sports scene to truly value the Bruins' place in it." Jacobs said of fans' opinion of him, "I don't think it would be time well spent to try and get them to change their image. If over time, they come to a different conclusion, that would be nice. People who know me know my level of passion for my sport. Your actions have to speak louder." Springer writes the "prospect of winning the NHL's ultimate prize gives the much-maligned Bruins owner a rare opportunity to remake his image" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/1).
ROAR RESTORED: In N.Y., Jeff Klein wrote even though Boston residents “never stopped loving and playing hockey at the local level … their love for the Bruins was relatively dormant.” Klein: “The feeling among fans for years was that the team’s management was content to turn a profit and did not really care about winning the Cup. That feeling might have intensified in the last decade as the Patriots won three Super Bowls, the Red Sox won two World Series and the Celtics won an NBA championship.” But in Boston this past weekend, "from the North End to the South End and every place in between, it was all Bruins, all the time.” Klein: “It has been a long time since so many Bostonians cared so much about the Bruins" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31). Modell's Sporting Goods Senior VP/Marketing Jed Berger said that sales of Bruins gear "took off" after the team won Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning on Friday. Berger: "We had a huge Bruins couple of days over the weekend. Every store has triple-digit increases in fan merchandise sales." Berger added that Bruins G Tim Thomas T-shirts "are the top seller" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/1).