Former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy appears to be have been caught off guard when he was fired by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney Monday afternoon.
Responding to a Monday night text from Boston Globe Bruins reporter Matt Porter, Cassidy declined to comment on the dismissal because he was seemingly still in shock.
Bruce Cassidy, via text, declined to comment on the Bruins firing him.
“It’s still very raw,” he said.
— matt porter (@mattyports) June 7, 2022
Despite Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely arguably foreshadowing a coaching change back on May 20 in his end of the season press conference, it appears it was business as usual for Cassidy. In fact, it was so status quo that Cassidy was allowed to fire his longtime assistant coach with the Providence and Boston Bruins over the last three weeks. Yes you read that right! A head coach was given the lee-way to reshape his coaching staff and then got fired himself within weeks.
Here’s how Sweeney chronicled his decision process that led to Cassidy’s dismissal:
“After taking a few weeks to unpack. …a lot of things happened over the course of the year, and where I thought the direction of our team was currently, and equally with some of the surgeries and some of the things coming out and where our team was going to be going forward and how it impacted our club,” Sweeney said. “I just felt that the messaging and the voice that was going to be required, I felt we needed a new direction. I met with the coaching staff, like I normally do, not only to go over the year, but their feeling on where the team was and what we’re capable of achieving.”
Here’s where it gets interesting:
“I met with Bruce as well, talking about his staff,” Sweeney recounted. “At that point in time, we had made a decision. …[Cassidy] had made the decision that Kevin Dean wasn’t going to be extended. We had had talks during the course of the year about he and Kevin and their relationship. Everybody was aware that there was some friction in their relationship but they had a discussion and had gotten past that and that time everybody went back to work as professionals that I think have a long history.”
Then seemingly without giving Bruce Cassidy any indication that his job was in jeopardy, Sweeney made his decision and gathered the necessary yays from Neely, CEO Charlie Jacobs and owner Jeremy Jacobs before eventually delivering the news to Cassidy Monday afternoon.
“And then I just went back to work in talking with our group, be it scouts, management and certainly ownership, and just made a clear decision that I needed a change and that’s where I arrived [Monday] afternoon,” Sweeney explained. “I just made a clear decision that I needed a change, and that’s where I arrived yesterday afternoon,” Sweeney said in a press conference Tuesday. “It was a very difficult decision, both personally and professionally.”
Sweeney was then asked how Cassidy reacted to the firing.
“Not well as I did in delivering it” Sweneey said of Cassidy’s reaction to his dismissal. “I sat there and said ‘I’m the same guy that sat here six years ago to believe in ya’ and I sat there [Monday] believing in him as an excellent head coach. It’s just I made a very difficult decision and I had to deliver the news as I would in person and discuss some of the things where we both fell short and wishing him well in, it’s only a matter of if, not when he has the next opportunity.”