(Mark Brethers/Getty Images)

By: Mike Sullivan | Follow Me on Twitter: @_MikeSullivan

Former head coach of the Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy, is set to return to TD Garden on Monday night. The reaction from fans is contradictory. Some expect boos, others expect cheers, while others remain neutral. Regardless of your opinion, Monday night should be an exciting spectacle for all to behold.

Bruce Cassidy spent six seasons with the Boston Bruins, which resulted in playoff-contending teams. Not one season had the Bruins missed playoffs while he managed the bench. During his six seasons with the team, Bruce “Butch” Cassidy led the team to an overall record of 245-108-46 and captured a President’s Cup Trophy in 2020 during the infamously shortened Covid season. He also led the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2019, where the Bruins fell to the Blues in seven games.

Bruce Cassidy was also awarded the Jack Adams Award for his performance as the NHL’s best bench boss of the 2019-2020 season, where he directed the team to an NHL-best 100-point season during a 70-game season shortened due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

On June seventh, 2022, Bruce Cassidy was fired. If you go back and see the knee-jerk reactions from Bruins fans, they were angry. However, their anger was directed toward the front office, not Bruce Cassidy. Since then, rumors have come out, and underlying storylines have arisen.

We all remember Jake DeBrusk requesting a trade out of Boston, David Krejci opting to return to the Czech Republic, and the possibility of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement. That all seemed to end when Bruce Cassidy was relieved of his duties.
Suddenly, as Cam Neely and General Manager Don Sweeney hired new head coach Jim Montgomery, the mood in the locker room seemed to shift.

Jake DeBrusk rescinded his trade request and is playing with more confidence than ever before, David Krejci is back from Czech, and Patrice Bergeron returned for at least one more season. But, seeing how the team is performing and how high team chemistry is, it’s hard to argue against the fact that within the locker room, the message from Cassidy had grown stale.

Even with Boston atop the NHL standings with new head coach Jim Montgomery, Bruce Cassidy has done a fine job in his inaugural season with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights sit with a record of 18-7-1, while Boston stands tall at 20-3-0. With both Boston and Vegas seeing top-tier success, tonight’s game will be more than just a game. Boston stands 14-0-0 at TD Garden, a perfect record on home ice.

Bruce Cassidy and his Golden Knights would love to be the ones to break that undefeated streak. So there is undoubtedly some extra motivation heading into tonight’s matchup.

With that being said, the reaction from fans tonight should be positive. Bruce Cassidy spent six successful seasons in Boston, securing a President’s Cup Trophy, a Jack Adams Award, a Stanley Cup Final appearance, and a playoff birth in every season in which he was head coach of this team. Surely there will be some boos, but the majority of reactions should be thankful for Bruce’s time spent here in Boston.