The changes won’t just be coming with the NHL roster for the Boston Bruins as there will reportedly be imminent coaching staff changes as well.
Longtime Boston Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who worked well with the forward group and with B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy on the power play, will be leaving the Bruins for an associate head coach position with his alma mater Boston University, per a New England Hockey Journal report.
Pando, a Burlington native and former standout at Burlington High School, had transitioned from his playing career to coaching and player development after a final 2012-13 playing season with his hometown Boston Bruins.
“He predominantly works with the forwards, he does a lot of our [offensive] zone stuff, spacing, how to attack their D, what areas of the ice and where you can get some different looks…where the team is most vulnerable,” said Bruce Cassidy of Pandolfo, when asked about his potential as a future head coach during the Bruins playoff run last month. “Me and him work on the power play together, our entries, O-zone, how teams kill and push down pressure versus ‘D’ pushing up. That’s where he makes his mark with our team.
“As far as [his] head coaching [future], you never know till you try. If that’s the path he chooses he should pursue it and I think he’d do great.”
After jumping straight from Burlington High School to the Boston University hockey team including being a part of the 1995 NCAA championship winner, the 46-year-old Pandolfo topped 1,000 games, including regular season and playoffs, during a lengthy, distinguished NHL career as a solid two-way forward and Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.
Pandolfo spent a few years with the B’s in player development following his retirement from his playing career, and then joined the coaching staff during the 2016-17 season where he’s been a staple of Cassidy’s NHL staff for the last five seasons.
The move clearly makes sense for Pandolfo, who will team with former BU teammate and current Terriers head coach Albie O’Connell as he continues to build his coaching portfolio for his own head coaching gig in the future. As for the Bruins, it’s possible that Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach could get strong consideration for the NHL staff in Boston after being a candidate for the NHL head coaching vacancy with the Arizona Coyotes.
If the Bruins go the player development route, they could also bring in Bruins Player Development Coach Chris Kelly to Bruce Cassidy’s staff given he has the same kind of rapport that Pandolfo did with top Boston Bruins veteran forwards like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
“[Pandolfo’s youth] benefits us with his relationship with the players. We can go to him with those things, when players don’t quite look right, he’s able to get their ear,” said Cassidy. “He’s a Stanley Cup champion, so for that on the staff that’s invaluable insight in these playoff series. That’s what we lean on him mostly for. [He’s a] great guy.”