This Day In Bruins History: Bruce Cassidy Becomes Boston’s 28th Head Coach

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On April 26th, 2017, the Boston Bruins officially named Bruce Cassidy as the organization’s 28th Head Coach.  Cassidy was given the “interim” head coach tag on February 7th, 2017, after the National Hockey Leagues original six franchise fired longtime coach Claude Julien with almost ten full seasons of service behind the Boston bench. Julien ended his tenure with the Bruins becoming the all-time leader in the franchise with victories passing Art Ross’s 388 career wins plateau. Julien finished his Bruins coaching career with a record of 419-246-94, seven Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, and orchestrating an NHL league championship in 2011 ending a 39-year drought.

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Cassidy joined the Boston Bruins organization in the 2008-09 season with the team’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins as an assistant coach working his way to be the full-time bench boss of the Rhode Island club in the 2011-12 campaign.  After spending five full seasons with the Bruins American Hockey League club and a coaching record of 206-128-45 in 380 career games in Providence, it was time to return to the NHL.

At the close of the 2015-16 season with a record of 41-22-13 and first-round Calder Cup Playoff exit with AHL Providence, Cassidy was called up to Boston in May of 2016 to serve as an assistant coach under the aforementioned Claude Julien. He would work with Julien for five months helping on the bench as a defensive coach regardless of the 26-23-6 record before the exit of Julien. Cassidy would take the “interim” head coaching job in February of 2017 and go onto finish the 2016-17 season with an 18-8-1 record barely making it into the Stanley Cup Playoffs snapping a two-year playoff-less streak with a first-round exit to the Ottawa Senators.

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Before this worldwide pandemic halted the 2019-20 regular season, Cassidy has a very impressive record of 161-66-34 in 261 games as the Bruins bench boss which includes his numbers in his “interim” tag. Since joining the Boston organization he’s coached the club to three consecutive playoff appearances which would’ve been four if there was no pandemic stoppage this season. By far his biggest accomplishment at the NHL level was last season’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals’ appearance where the Boston team unfortunately lost in a seven-game series to the St. Louis Blues.

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By far the best interview I’ve heard from the Bruins head coach was on a recent The Athletic production of The Perfection Podcast with hosts Billy Jaffe, Joe McDonald, and Fluto Shinzawa where these guys interviewed the Boston bench boss during this pause for the Covid-19 pandemic. The episode below is from an April 6th discussion about the NHL shutdown and preparing for the unknown. What really caught my attention during this fantastic program was what Cassidy said about younger players. Old school coaching back in the day you’d always hear the bench bosses stay close to veterans in the room and not pay attention to rookies or younger members of the team.

Bruce mentioned on this particular podcast that a current player of the Boston Bruins team took Bruce aside and asked him to be a little more open in the room and get younger members involved in discussions. I was impressed by his response on the show and his effort moving forward to get everyone on the same page no matter if a veteran or a player that doesn’t have much experience. Give it a listen for yourselves below and follow the hosts and subscribe to the program on many worldwide listening platforms.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 175 that we recorded below on 4-19-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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