BOSTON – It’s hard to believe some hockey twitter regulars actually thought ex-head coach Bruce Cassidy might hear some boos in his return to the Boston Bruins on Monday night, but the longtime head coach heard cheers and received a fitting video tribute in his first game back as the bench boss for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Instead, Cassidy received a warm ovation from the TD Garden crowd following the video tribute and appeared emotional on the bench as he gestured to his heart and waved to Boston Bruins fans.
Choked up Bruce Cassidy after the video tribute and ovation from the fans. He loved coaching the Boston Bruins. Never wanted to leave. Good stuff pic.twitter.com/5gzHiwuRoT
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) December 6, 2022
It was the closure and goodbye that Cassidy was never given after being dismissed this summer following five plus seasons coaching the Bruins where he made the playoffs each season and guided the Black and Gold to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. It also appears that the Golden Knights came into Boston looking to prove a point as they lead 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes at the Garden in a strong effort that the Boston Bruins players anticipated from a group trying to win one for their coach.
The Boston Bruins players thought tonight’s return of Bruce Cassidy was going to be weird rather than emotional, with many players excelling this season under new head coach Jim Montgomery after many struggled last season. Jake DeBrusk captured those thoughts pretty clearly when he discussed Cassidy’s return to Boston after alleged friction between player and head coach helped move him to request a trade last season.
“With the things [that happened] in the offseason, I obviously wanted to come in with a statement [with my play] under the new coach. With the injuries we had at the time I knew there was going to be opportunity and I wanted to take it,” said Jake DeBrusk to Boston Hockey Now, who then was asked about Cassidy coming back to town. “It’s one of those things where it’s just another game. It’s probably going to be weird. It’s probably going to be weird for him as well.”