When Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs hired general manager Peter Chiarelli in May 2006, the message was simple: Build a winner.
In the five years since, Chiarelli has crafted a perennially competitive Bruins team which is now set to make its first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 1990. According to Jacobs, Chiarelli deserves a lot of credit for the team's success.
"I think that Peter has put together a dream team, his dream team, as he saw it, within the parameters that they have to work," Jacobs said Sunday morning prior to the team's optional skate. "This is not an overnight wonder. This is a team that has evolved, and built in their experiences, both good and bad … I couldn't be happier than I am right now."
Chiarelli was hired May 26, 2006 to replace interim GM Jeff Gorton. At the time, the Bruins had fallen to 13th-place in the Eastern Conference and were struggling to find an identity after superstar forward Joe Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks in November 2005.
Since taking over, Chiarelli has made a number of acquisitions including adding Zdeno Chara, Michael Ryder, Marc Savard and Shawn Thornton via free agency and drafting Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.
A former assistant general manager for the Ottawa Senators, Chiarelli has also not been afraid to pull the trigger on some big trades, landing Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg. These moves, along with the hiring of head coach Claude Julien in 2007, have Jacobs pleased as his team sits four wins away from a championship.
"You can't have any more pride than I enjoyed this morning," Jacobs said after visiting with the players. "To be down to the final two is rarified air and we're happy to be in it."
Jacobs also lauded Julien for the positive influence on the players.
"You have to admire the way, when things don't go his way, you don't say, 'Woe is me,' which we saw throughout the playoffs from some people," Jacobs said. "He just says, 'We've got to get down. We've got to work hard.' I think that's just a wonderful attribute. I think that plays well with the players. They know they have to work hard to be successful."
With the Bruins set to battle the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in British Columbia, Jacobs said everyone in the organization has the same goal in mind.
"The ambition is to go and win the Stanley Cup."