By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Once the news broke of Jimmy Vesey choosing the New York Rangers, the takes came rolling in. And if you weren’t wearing a welding mask you may have been burned by all the scalding hotness.

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I could almost hear the knives sharpening through my computer screen as Bruins fans and media exploded with their immediate, visceral reactions to the news. Why did Vesey shun his hometown team for New York? I won’t pretend to know the actual reasons why Vesey ultimately chose to sign with the Rangers, but I can certainly tell you what did NOT factor into his decision – and those non-factors sparks the most scorching takes out there.

If anything, losing the Vesey sweepstakes falls on the Bruins front office. Cam Neely’s regime has missed out on other potential deals that they worked hard to close, Jarome Iginla at the 2013 trade deadline chief among them. No matter what actually led to Vesey’s decision to spurn Boston, you can add him to the list of players the Bruins aggressively courted but could not persuade to sign on the dotted line.

Vesey’s choice of New York over Boston is also a tacit admission that he never really wanted to play in his home state in the first place. The Bruins reportedly did “very well” in their meeting with the rookie free agent out of Harvard, but that likely means they gave themselves more than zero chance of landing him. If Vesey really wanted to be the “hometown hero” that badly, he would have chosen the Bruins.

There were two asinine arguments for the Bruins’ failed pursuit of the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner that were spewed all over social media over the weekend, both of which demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the team (and city) that Vesey ultimately chose. To make one of these two arguments is to either ignore the reality of Vesey’s new situation or imply that Vesey himself doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into in New York.

Here are the two worst takes I saw and why they are ice-cold …

1. “The media ran him out of town”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I saw people tweeting the news saying things like “Thanks, Boston media” or “The media scared the kid off.” There’s no doubt that playing here would have added another layer of pressure that Vesey would not have gotten anywhere else. But hopefully, that did not actually factor into Vesey’s decision, because if he really spurned the Bruins for New York because of the media treatment … he’s not as smart as that Harvard degree indicates.

That’s to say that I do think Vesey is a highly intelligent person, and I do NOT think the potential media circus in Boston played a role in his choice to go to the Rangers. He’s simply not going to avoid media scrutiny in New York. The infamous Larry Brooks will be slithering around the Rangers locker room the whole time, having proven time and time again that he’s not afraid to criticize anyone, young or old. If Vesey plays poorly, he’s going to have to “answer” to Brooksy.

Most recently, Brooks went at Rangers winger Chris Kreider when he, fittingly, called Kreider out for getting in his own head too much. He also launched a pre-emptive strike at 23-year-old T.J. Miller to impress the Rangers, or else!

Think Brooksy is going to tread lightly with Vesey? Stop it. He can’t wait to dust off his microscope to find fresh blemishes on the Harvard kid.

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If Vesey wanted to avoid media scrutiny, he would have stayed in Nashville in the first place. End of story. The media, however, isn’t the only weak take on Vesey’s decision. There’s also the people who said …

2. “He doesn’t want to play for Claude Julien”

That’s right. Vesey was all set to don the Black & Gold and become a bona fide hometown hero, but it was the COACH that made him decide otherwise. Claude Julien’s hit-or-miss history with young players (mostly miss, if you ask certain people) ultimately scared Vesey away. … Except that Julien’s “failure” with younger players is actually one of the more overblown storylines the Boston sports media has created in recent years.

Look, I’m not going to tell you Julien is infallible. He’s not a perfect head coach when it comes to handling inexperienced younger players versus less talented veterans. He has struggled at times with offensive-minded players that were eventually shipped out of town. But in his time here he has given significant ice time to Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Torey Krug, Johnny Boychuk, and others, even before they turned 25. Perhaps it’s fair to say that Julien is only good at developing one kind of player, but he’s unequivocally NOT a guaranteed failure when it comes to developing and handling young talent.


That being said, here is why it’s just silly to blame Julien for Vesey’s decision … Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is no better when it comes to young players. In fact, you could argue that he’s even worse. Anyone who doesn’t break this harsh reality to you either doesn’t realize it or wants to hide it in order to suit his anti-Julien agenda.

Vigneault has faced similar criticism, also from our old pal Brooksy. He was most recently slammed for continually keeping exciting young defenseman Dylan McIlrath’s minutes down compared to underachieving veterans like Dan Boyle and Dan Girardi. Sound familiar? Criticism of Vigneault’s handling of young talent even goes back to his days in Vancouver handling a then-promising young talent in Cody Hodgson.

The reputation Vigneault has earned for himself might also be overblown like it is here in Boston, but if Vesey chose to play for the Rangers over the Bruins because of the head coach, you have to wonder where he’s getting his information. He’s looking at a very similar situation rolling with the Broadway Blueshirts.

You may ask now, “Well then why DID Vesey choose the Rangers over the Bruins?” A better top-to-bottom roster, for starters. They have a better defense and goaltender, for sure. The Bruins may have the edge at center, but Vesey will likely only have Kreider to worry about on the left wing depth chart with Rick Nash likely playing right wing or even being moved before the end of his current deal.

Two things, however, that Vesey did not factor into his decision were the coaches or the media market. In those aspects, he should expect similar results to what he would have gotten here. So you can go ahead and put the pitchforks down for Julien or the media, because in New York, he’s getting the Rangers equivalent. Want to rip the Bruins for missing out? You’ll need to look elsewhere.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at