The Boston Bruins have been to the Stanley Cup Final twice in the last three years, winning the Cup once in 2011. That doesn't mean they've experienced perfect harmony with all of their players along the way.
Most notably they made two big trades in that time, sending away supremely talented players Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin (whom was drafted with the pick acquired in the first trade for Kessel). As it's shaping up, neither looks so great for Boston as those players excel with their new clubs in Toronto and Dallas respectively.
But it was never their skill that led to trades, it was about the off-ice stuff. Put simply, the Bruins felt Seguin was too immature and in both cases, neither guy seemed to be on the same exact plane as the rest of the team, so GM Peter Chiarelli dealt each.
That doesn't mean the Bruins didn't try all they could before the deals were made, specifically captain Zdeno Chara. Big Z told Kevin-Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe about how he tried to get those guys to shape up before they were shipped out.
"It comes to personal sacrifices you have to make or are willing to give up," said Chara, speaking specifically about Kessel and Seguin. "And it's not always easy to do. I know they are good people. Obviously, really talented, great players. But sometimes you do have to make sacrifices and be willing to do -- or not to do -- certain things. And perhaps it was maybe harder than they thought it would be, and ... it didn't work."
Chara emphasized that a decision to trade a player is not in the captain's purview. But he also made clear that he tried numerous times to address different issues with both players, though he would not be specific. "We tried," he said in summary.
"That speaks volumes, by the way," said Chiarelli, apprised of Chara's summation. "When he says he tried, it doesn't mean he failed."
With that, the Bruin Way was born anew. Or something like that.
Chara's statements, while not divulging any specifics, lend further credence to the fact that Kessel and Seguin were in some ways not getting the job done. That more or less forced Chiarelli to trade them away (other factors like the salary cap contributed as well).
I highly recommend reading the story from Dupont, it's a great look at Chara the captain and all that he tries to do, including the treatment of "younger" players. It goes well beyond the work with Seguin and Kessel before their trades.
Usually he succeeds in leading the dressing room as much as he does on the ice, but clearly he wasn't able to get a pair of budding stars (literally in Seguin's case) on the right path. There's little disputing that he is one of the better captains in the league, both with his performance on the ice and off.
Perhaps it's why the kind of turmoil seems to be missing in Boston with the exception of the departed Kessel and Seguin over the last few years, the always celebrated intangible of locker room leadership. And of course perhaps it's why the Bruins have been so successful in recent years as well.