By: Ryan Ellis | Follow Ryan on Twitter @_RyEllis_
Last night’s victory over the Ottawa Senators marks the 200th win of Bruce Caddisy’s tenure as the head coach of the Boston Bruins. With 27 games left in the 2016-2017 season, Cassidy was named the interim head coach as the team parted ways with long-time head coach Claude Julien. He went on to lead the black and gold to an 18-0-1 finish before a first-round exit during the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Senators of Ottawa.
Last night, Cassidy exacted revenge on those Senators, although he most likely was not thinking of it that way. Since that season’s first-round exit, Cassidy was retained as the head coach of the B’s and has posted a winning percentage of 0.652 or better during the regular season. Also, with Bruce at the helm, the Bruins have made it past the first round of the playoffs, even making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019, where they fell to the St. Louis Blues in six games.
Bruce Cassidy’s tenure as the head coach of the Boston Bruins has endured the tumultuous and awkward scheduling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This 200 win waypoint of his career most likely would have been surpassed in season’s prior had the league (and world for that matter) had not been forced to adjust to “the new normal.”
The Boston Bruins gig was not Bruce’s first rodeo as head coach. Before his now veteran status in the Bruins organization, where he served as the Providence Bruins head coach from 2011 to 2016, he spent 107 regular-season tilts as the Washington Capitals skipper for just 15-months before being let go mid-season in December of 2003.
Since taking over for Claude Julien, the Boston Bruins have been a perennial contender (which they had already been for some time,) and Cassidy has established himself as a premier head coach in the league. Cassidy has endeared himself onto Boston fans and media members as a great sound bite. Whether he is making people laugh, throwing out a smile, or calling out players, Cassidy is always worth a watch during his press conferences.
Not afraid to ruffle the feathers of his players, Cassidy has often called out those in need of the proverbially “kick-in-the-ass.” His latest victim was Taylor Hall. The star second-line forward is no exception post-game critiques in which Cassidy has made himself known.
Discipline and focus were called into question by the head coach following the game. Hall’s third-period hooking penalty and some post-whistle jarring could not have helped his case in Cassidy’s remarks, “You want to play late in games you’ve got to play winning hockey. It doesn’t matter who you are on the team, and he got away from that.”
Despite the Bruin’s trusted head coach remarks, you can’t help but think this message to a former league MVP may have been planted to resonate with some of the younger players on the Bruins roster. With multiple injuries, the B’s have had a flurry of lineup adjustments and call-ups, including young prospect Jack Studnicka who looked outmatched and lost for most of Tuesday night’s matchup. If Cassidy is willing to let a Hart Trophy winner hear it, then anyone can catch heat from Bruce.
Fans and analysts alike believe Thanksgiving standings in the NHL to be a playoff indicator. Bruins fans hope to see head coach Bruce Cassidy’s winning ways continue as the team sits 5th in the Atlantic Division at 6-4-0.
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