By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
Wow. That was my reaction to the news that the Boston Bruins have fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy was brought in on an interim basis following a lackluster start to the 2016-2017 season under Claude Julien and was made the official head coach of the Bruins before the end of the season. He won the Jack Adams Award for the 2019-2020 season after leading the Bruins to the Presidents’ Trophy in the COVID shortened season, but his tenure behind the bench will likely be remembered for his playoff woes.
Despite a very solid .672 points percentage in the regular season during his six years as the head coach, Cassidy was only able to win 36 playoff games compared to 37 losses. That gives him a .493 win percentage in the playoffs. In Boston, that is simply not good enough. Our favorite teams have become part of a ruthless culture over the last 20 years in New England, and unfortunately for some of the coaches, that means that being a good regular-season team just doesn’t cut it. When I saw this year that he was only just hovering around .500 in the playoffs, I knew it might be nearing the end for him.
Personally, I think he got the short end of the stick a little bit. He has put together competitive teams each of the six years he has had the reigns of this team, and he has done so without much support from his GM Don Sweeney. Sweeney got Cassidy the second-line winger a year too late, the top-pair defenseman a year too late, but it seems as though he’ll get to stay while Cassidy has been shown the door.
Unfortunately for Cassidy, it seems as though the defining moment in his Bruins coaching career will be his failure to bring the Cup home in 2019, likely the Bruins’ best opportunity to win for the foreseeable future. Who will the next coach be? All eyes are on Cam Neely now to find a guy to guide this team through a potential rebuild and back into the playoffs hopefully next year.