The narrative that Bruce Cassidy doesn’t get the best out of younger players continues to be proven wrong, and Boston Bruins fans continue to be forced to ask, ‘What if the Bruins hadn’t fired Cassidy?’
As if leading the Vegas Golden Knights to the 2023 Stanley Cup wasn’t enough proof already, Bruce Cassidy again shot down the false narrative with more proof this past Wednesday on WEEI.
“I always disliked that narrative,” Cassidy said on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Wednesday morning. “When I took over the Bruins, we brought in (Matt) Grzelcyk, (Brandon) Carlo, (Charlie) McAvoy, (Jeremy) Lauzon, (Connor) Clifton, (Jake) DeBrusk, (Anders) Bjork, (Danton) Heinen. We brought in a lot of young guys. Some of them had success, others we moved on from for different reasons. But there were a lot of young players. And then it continued right to the end. I thought we brought in some more young guys, and David Pastrnak was a young guy then.
For me, I thought we coached those guys well, for the most part. They had success, and they’re probably going to be the foundation of the Bruins going forward, some of them. And I’ve kept in touch with some of them. So I don’t know if (the narrative) is accurate, I think it’s more the messaging that some players didn’t like, but in terms of making them better players I thought we did a good job as a staff with that. So that’s what I took to Vegas.”
After Cassidy spent his day with the Stanley Cup in Milton, MA, and then on Cape Cod this past Thursday, North Chelmsford, MA native, former Boston University star, and Golden Knights center Jack Eichel took Lord Stanley to one of his childhood rinks, Skate 3 in Tyngsnboro, MA. Speaking to the assembled media there, the 26-year-old Eichel praised the former Boston Bruins bench boss, crediting Cassidy as the main reason he’s now a Stanley Cup champion.
“It was incredible. I mean, I think what he did for our group and for me as a player, it was the reason we won,” Eichel said. “I think he came in and the way that he changed our game, but just push guys and hold everyone accountable and the way that he was able to get us to play, it was great. He was phenomenal. He was great all year.”
— Greg McKenna (@McKennaGregjed) July 14, 2023
After two injury-filled seasons of controversy in Buffalo, Eichel bounced back this past season with 27 goals and 39 assists in 67 games playing for Cassidy. As his father Bob pointed out to Scott McLaughlin, Eichel became a better two-way player under the structure-focused Cassidy and finished a +26.
“I give Coach Cassidy a lot of credit,” Bob Eichel told McLaughlin. “Made him a 200-foot player. I mean, of course, he’s had a lot of great players in Boston that he worked with, and I think he did an unbelievable job. I thanked him when I went on the ice, and I thank him every time I see him. He’s a great guy, and he did a great job with Jack, made him that type of player.”
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