The Boston Bruins left hints they were seriously thinking about a coaching change over the last few weeks and now they made it official by firing head coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Bruins sent out an announcement on Monday night an hour prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, and one day after B’s captain Patrice Bergeron won his NHL-record fifth Selke Trophy.
Taking the throne. 🤴
Patrice Bergeron has won his record-breaking fifth Selke Trophy. Congratulations to the #SelkeKing!
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 5, 2022
It was already clear that the highly successful, innovative Cassidy was being set up to be the fall guy this upcoming season when Brad Marchand, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy were all going to start the season on injured reserve, and with the 36-year-old Bergeron still very much in limbo without a decision as to whether he’s going to play for a 19th NHL season.
Instead of waiting to make the move during the 2022-23 NHL season, however, the Boston Bruins have acted now and will begin a search for a new head coach immediately.
“Today I informed Bruce Cassidy that I was making a head coaching change,” said Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in the B’s press release. “After 14 years working with Bruce, this was an extremely difficult decision. I want to thank and acknowledge Bruce for all his work and success with the Bruins organization. His head coaching record for the Bruins is impressive, and we are appreciative of Bruce both professionally and personally.
“After taking some time to fully digest everything, I felt that the direction of our team for both this season and beyond would benefit from a new voice. I want to wish Bruce, Julie, Shannon and Cole much success as a family and with their future opportunities.”
The firing of Cassidy continues to add to the feeling that there are going to be extremely tough times directly ahead for the Boston Bruins organization.
Cassidy leaves the Boston Bruins after leading the B’s to the playoffs in all six seasons behind the Boston bench, including a 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Final before losing in Game 7 to the St. Louis Blues. Cassidy finished his Boston Bruins body of work with 245 wins and a .672 points percentage that is near the top of all coaches in the Original Six history of the Black and Gold, and even this season he found a way to ignite a struggling team by juggling around the forward lines coming out of the team’s holiday/COVID break.
There are a number of interesting available head coaches on the market including established guys like Barry Trotz and John Tortorella, but there are also a number of other high-profile hockey teams with coaching vacancies like the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings just to name a few. Cassidy certainly won’t be out of work for long, though it’s clear that Boston Bruins President Cam Neely was looking for a change in coaching style dating back to his final comments to the media at the end of Boston’s playoff run.
“I think we have to look at making some changes as far as how we play and the way we do some of the things,” said Neely last month. “I think Bruce is a fantastic coach. I mean, he’s brought a lot of success to this organization. I like him as a coach. So, we’ll see where it goes. But I do think we need to make some changes. And I think Bruce, a couple of days ago, he alluded to that. So, we’ll see where that goes with that.”