Bruins vice president Cam Neely didn't hold back Friday on WEEI's "The Big Show" when discussing the team's dismal performance Thursday night against Pittsburgh and its stagnant season in general.
"I was disappointed last night," Neely said, citing a lack of emotion by the B's in the 3-0 loss to the Penguins. It was a game in which the Bruins attempted to defend the honor of teammate Marc Savard, who was the recipient of a blindside hit by the Penguins' Matt Cooke on March 7 in Pittsburgh. Shawn Thornton took on Cooke 1:58 into the first period Thursday, landed a few punches and received a 10-minute misconduct, but the intensity ended there.
"We just didn't play with the type of passion that's expected," he said. "That's what's frustrating for me... After the two-minute mark it was business as usual, as it has been. That's what was frustrating for a lot of people and I don't blame them for being frustrated."
When asked by host Glenn Ordway what went wrong, Neely said: "I've been trying to figure that out all year, Glenn, to be honest with you. It's been very, very disappointing just to see the way our team has performed with that lack of emotion, if you will. It's something we try to instill here. I've said this for years, I said this when I played, I said this after I played, people expect their athletes to compete and show that they care and if they don't win they're OK with that as long as they compete, show that they care and work hard. I've heard it too many times this year and I don't blame our fans for complaining they don't see that compete or passion that they want to see."
Neely went on to apparently criticize the team's veterans, saying that one aspect of this Bruins team that surprised management was the "loss of leadership and character in the locker room. ... We honestly didn't think it would be as big an issue as it turned out to be."