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Gruden Sought Out Montgomery For Bruins Assistant Job

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Boston Bruins

John Gruden knew he needed to be part of the Boston Bruins organization again and that’s one of the reasons he became the new Bruins assistant coach last week.

When new Boston Bruins assistant coach John Gruden found out that new Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery would have an opening on his coaching staff, Gruden immediately reached out to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

“I heard when Jim got the job. I had texted Sweens – I lost Jimmy’s old number – ‘can you please give it to me if it’s available, I know you guys are looking for a defensemen coach,” John Gruden told the media late last week. Jimmy called me right away and then the process took 10 days, couple weeks. He went through his due diligence. We spent lots of time on some Zoom calls. I talked to Don – again, it was a lengthy process. They came to the conclusion that I would be the best guy for the job. I’m very excited to work with Jim and the rest of the staff and be back with a great tradition and organization.”

Gruden has never coached with Montgomery, nor are they good buddies, but he’s always admired the new head coach of the Boston Bruins and how he coaches.

“We’ve crossed paths. I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done at every level that he’s coached. He’s a winner,” Gruden said. “He’s a great guy to be around the time that I’ve spent with him at rinks. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Jim and the rest of the staff.”

The former Boston Bruins defenseman replaces former Bruins assistant coach Kevin Dean who was let go prior to former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy being fired and Jim Montgomery was hired on July 1. Like Dean, Gruden’s specialty and focus is and will be on the blue line. He joins the Boston Bruins after spending the last four seasons (2018-22) as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders, as most NHL fans know, are a defense-first team and at times resemble the New Jersey Devils dynasty teams that found success using the neutral zone trap teams that current Islanders general manager and former Devils GM Lou Lamoriello oversaw. However, in Boston, he will be tasked with activating the blue line into the offense more.

“We obviously talked about that stuff,” said Gruden. “I do believe one of the points that [Montgomery] made, he wanted to get them a little bit more active but without losing that ability to defend. That’s Boston’s MO – you can still do both and grow on the offensive part to get the D more involved to get the puck to the forwards and take the ice when it’s available, but not force it.

I’m obviously very familiar playing against Boston, coaching in New York. It’s exciting just to try to build on something that’s already there with Jimmy’s vision and the other staff. It’s exciting. We’re looking forward to that challenge.”

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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ROBERT D LATAILLE

“…the New Jersey Devils dynasty teams…” Pretty liberal use of the word “dynasty” if you ask me. Shouldn’t a team have to win at least back-to-back Cups to even have a chance to be considered a dynasty? I know, I’m nitpicking, and the Devils definitely had a long run of consistent success that garnered three Cups in an 8-year window. But that word choice of dynasty just jumped out at me! Anyway, I have a very little faith in the new Bruins coaching staff…but Gruden seems to be a good hire.

Lawrence Maiolo

Sounds like this guy was maybe on his way out in NY, so he saw an opportunity here and jumped on it. The B’s do have a couple of studs on the blue line and Carlo and they also have decent goaltending. So he really only has three or four guys he needs to spend most of his time with.

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