According to numerous NHL sources, the Boston Bruins are expanding not narrowing their search for a new head coach. As the list of rumored and confirmed candidates to become the next head coach for the Boston Bruins continues to grow, more and more candidates to have three things in common:
1.) They’re known for developing and respecting younger players
2.) They have New England or Boston Bruins connections
So as one NHL Executive asked in a phone convo with Boston Hockey Now on Saturday, why hasn’t Arlington, MA native and former Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin emerged as a candidate to replace Bruce Cassidy, who was fired on by the Boston Bruins on June 6 and then hired by the Vegas Golden Knights on June 14?
“Honestly, he’s a name I’m surprised that we don’t hear more of when these jobs open up,” one NHL executive opined to BHN on Saturday. “In terms of development and working with younger players, his resume speaks for itself. You see all the same names mentioned when it comes to that. …David Quinn, Nate Leaman, Jay Leach. …what have they done that Cronin hasn’t?”
Greg Cronin, who is currently the head coach of the Colorado Eagles, the AHL affiliate for the Colorado Avalanche, is starting to garner interest around the league for open head coach and assistant posts. Beyond growing up in Arlington, MA, attending and playing high school hockey at Arlington Catholic and BB&N, Cronin played collegiate hockey at Colby College before beginning his coaching career as an assistant there in 1987-88. He then moved on to the University of Maine where he was an assistant coach and mentored by the late, great UMaine head coach Shawn Walsh.
Cronin served as an interim head coach for the Black Bears from 1995-97 before moving on to help launch the USA Hockey National Team Development Program with Jeff Jackson and Bob Mancini in 1997-98. That program has gone on to be a steady feeder for NCAA Hockey and of future American-born NHLers. Cronin also represented USA Hockey as an assistant at the World Juniors twice (winning a silver medal in 1997), and on three World Championships teams.
Cronin spent the next six seasons in the New York Islanders system; first as an assistant with the Islanders for five seasons and then as the head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for two seasons. From there he went on to become head coach of Northeastern and in six seasons, Cronin helped put them back on the map in the Hockey East and nationally.
Following his tenure behind the bench for the Huskies, Cronin became an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons. He was on the losing side of one of the most famous wins in Boston Bruins history, Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Cronin would return to the Islanders for four seasons before becoming head coach of the Eagles in 2018-19. He’s had a winning record in three of his four seasons in Colorado and led them to the playoffs twice.
During his time behind the Eagles bench, Cronin has helped develop players like Colorado Avalanche forwards Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook, Minnesota Wild forward Tyson Jost, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Justin Barron, New Jersey Devils defenseman Ryan Graves and Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz.
“I’m definitely interviewing Cronin if I’m Don Sweeney,” the aforementioned NHL executive said. “He’s gotta be on the radar for other teams and he deserves it.”
Once a longshot on sports betting sites for any open head coaching job in the NHL, it appears Cronin has become a solid dark horse to land a job soon.