As he has in similar situations throughout the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs and really since he became head coach of the Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy will once again lean on his leadership core.
“For the days off, absolutely,” Cassidy said of the group when asked how much he leans on them. “We’ll go to practice. We’ve practiced all year, so we’re not going to stray too far from our typical routine.”
Captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand David Krejci and Tuukka Rask were part of the last NHL team to win a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final when the Bruins beat the Canucks 4-0 in Vancouver to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years. This vaunted group of leaders has been in plenty of Game 7’s, most recently the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round. Cassidy depends on them to help their teammates remain focused and in the moment during off days and heading into this next do-or-die game for the Stanley Cup Wednesday will be no different.
“Yeah, I defer to them on days like this for preparation to help the young guys,” Cassidy said. “We have our message as a coaching staff, don’t get me wrong. I think we work as a team. Since I’ve got here from day one, I’ve said it, we’re very fortunate to have those guys. This is one of those times of year I’m extremely fortunate.”
Monday was a day of rest and a day to breathe, but come Tuesday, it will be all business again for the Bruins leaders and their teammates.
“Yeah, I think today is your opportunity to do that,” Cassidy said. “We’re off. I’m sure guys will have to take care of whatever business they have to today. Then you’re back to work tomorrow. Our guys are pretty good at that, have been good at that. We’ve been through it. I haven’t personally, but those guys have. I think it’s a great place, a starting point for our younger guys.”
Cassidy was asked if, like the Blues seemed to do in Game 6, his team might be affected by the pressure of having a chance to win the Stanley Cup and on home ice?
“Our leadership group has been there,” Cassidy said. “They’ve been in a Game 7 before, in the Stanley Cup Finals. In fact, the last one, they’ve lived it. Been in a Game 7 at home against Toronto this series. Stanley Cup is not at stake, but if you don’t win it, you have no chance at it. I think there’s a certain amount of pressure that our guys are used to having. In this situation, I think both teams like the pressure that’s on them. Any team would trade the opportunity to be here, so I think we’ll be okay.”