By: Mike Sullivan | Follow me on Twitter: @_MikeSullivan
There was a common theme surrounding the news on Bruce Cassidy yesterday afternoon. Anger, frustration, and a mutual feeling within the fanbase that the front office is simply using Cassidy as a scapegoat. Although I agree with most of those sentiments, we must analyze Don Sweeney and management’s reasoning. Early Tuesday morning (when most of Boston was still sleeping), Don Sweeney spoke live at Warrior Ice Arena.
Since being promoted to Head Coach in 2017, Bruce Cassidy leaves the organization after six seasons with an overall record of 245-106-46, including six straight seasons of playoffs. That’s not the pedigree of a coach that usually gets fired. Don Sweeney began the press conference by stating,” Professionally and personally, a very difficult decision.” For fans such as ourselves, it may be difficult to accept this news as it is, and unfortunately, we have to trust that the front office has their fingers on the pulse of this team and understands a change needs to be made. Unfortunately for them, there isn’t much trust left for fans to cling to.
Rumors were circling around that certain players, who did not mesh well with Bruce, aided the decision of the firing. Sweeney also addressed this, stating,” Players are not driving the bus on my decisions.” Don immediately shut those rumors down by mentioning that it “Did not matter how players felt as individuals, but rather, as a group.” He was also asked if Cassidy had lost the room, to which he responded with a quick and swift,” No.”
Something that continued to come up was a comparison of this upcoming season to the season of 2015 when the team was in a quick re-tool and did not make playoffs. Sweeney responded by saying,” We (the team) could be facing a time period not unlike 2015.” Citing a similarity to Fabian Lysell and David Pastrnak’s path to the league, Sweeney clarifies,” Putting players in when they aren’t ready isn’t going to help anybody.” It sounds like the plan with Lysell is to start him in Providence and go from there, so fans hoping to see Lysell early next year are likely going to have to wait.
Bruce Cassidy often received criticism for his inability to develop younger talent into NHL players. Don Sweeney also addressed that,” Coaches HAVE to be able to bridge that gap of younger players.” Take that as you will, but it seems to be that Don did not view Cassidy as the right man to helm that ship.
Finally, the lack of fans’ faith in the front office was brought up. When asked how he felt about the fans who have completely lost the trust they may have once had in Bruins management, he stated,” I have not lost faith in myself and our front office. I’m confident I’m making the right moves and if I don’t I won’t be standing here.” He was also asked why it was Bruce and not himself who lost their job, to which he quickly replied,” One day it may fall that way but today is not that day.”
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