By: Zach Beauchaine | Follow me on Twitter @OtisTheMango
The Boston Bruins surprised the hockey world in early June of 2022. The organization announced the termination of head coach Bruce Cassidy after six seasons with the team. The Bruins fell short in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2022. Suffering defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.
The unexpected firing of Bruce Cassidy and the unfortunate ending to the season for the Bruins left fans broken up about what would be next. There were questions that needed to be answered going forward. Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and team president Cam Neely felt a voice of change was needed in the Bruins locker room.
The hunt was on for the man who would become the 29th head coach in Bruins team history. Boston interviewed a series of candidates for the head coach position. After a lengthy interview process, the Bruins announced Jim Montgomery as the new head coach.
Montgomery was the head coach of the Dallas Stars from May 2018 until December 2019. Montgomery was released by the Stars after a short tenure. Coach Montgomery began 2020 without an NHL coaching position. He had checked himself into rehabilitation, citing alcohol abuse. There was a need for Montgomery to get both his life and his hockey coaching career back on the right track.
After a period of reflection and improvement, Jim Montgomery was hired by the St. Louis Blues as an assistant to head coach Craig Berube. Although not in a head coaching position, Montgomery was back behind an NHL bench once again. Montgomery remained in the assistant coach position until the end of the 2021-2022 season, when his contract expired.
Now, it was onto Boston for Montgomery. A new stab at the head coach position awaited him. Montgomery had paid his dues. The new face of the Boston Bruins coaching staff had arrived in the City of Champions.
Jim Montgomery was faced with several initial challenges as he took the reins in Boston. The Bruins entered the season banged up. Forward Brad Marchand had off-season hip surgery. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Mike Reilly all had off-season shoulder surgeries. Team captain Patrice Bergeron was unsure if he was going to continue his playing career until late in the off-season.
Montgomery used his leadership to bring the Bruins front and center as one of the best teams in the entire league. His voice resonated with the group early on. The Bruins started winning games, and lots of them. Montgomery proved to be a fit for the culture and mentality in Boston. As players returned from injury, the extraordinary run continued. The Bruins as a team have seemingly rallied around their new head coach and have played into his coaching systems flawlessly.
The ultimate goal of an NHL team is to hoist the Stanley Cup. The Bruins have not done so since the 2010-2011 season. However, the coaching ability of Montgomery has led the Bruins one step closer to the grand prize. Through 53 games, the Boston Bruins have a record of 40-8-5 and sit alone atop the NHL standings and the Atlantic division standings.
The Bruins have been shattering league records left and right. After a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars on February 14th, coach Montgomery officially earned career win number 100 as an NHL head coach. Perhaps the Boston Bruins have found their crown jewel with head coach Jim Montgomery at the helm.