Bruce Cassidy’s Effect On The Bruins

Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins(Photo Credit: CBS Boston – CBS Local)

By: Jamie Gatlin  |  Follow Me on Twitter @JamieGatlin1217

Two years ago, the Bruins organization was at a crossroads. During the 2016 season, longtime head coach Claude Julien was let go mid-season. At the time, the Bruins had a record of 26-23-6. They were not adapting to a changing league and not making much traction in the standings. They were a defensive, hard- checking team in a league that was getting faster. Bruce Cassidy took over for Julien, and the Bruins have looked like a different team under him. They are playing with a new edge, and unlike under Julien, the younger Bruins are excelling. The Bruins are once again one of the best teams in the league and next year should be no different.

Before being named the head coach of the Bruins, Cassidy was the head coach for the Providence Bruins from the 2010-11 American Hockey League season. He also had one head coaching stint for the Washington Capitals in the early 2000s that included a playoff appearance. In Boston, he has not looked like an inexperienced coach. Under Julien, younger players struggled as the veterans were favored. This was reflected in the departure of many young talented players including Phil Kessel, Dougie Hamilton, and Tyler Seguin.

These players didn’t necessarily perform poorly under Julien, but they also were not interested in staying in Boston long-term. Kessel and Seguin were both traded, but they didn’t leave on good terms. Under Julien, the Bruins struggled on the power play — a place where they have excelled in the past 2 years.

Julien’s tenure in Boston was far from a failure. He brought them to two Stanley Cup finals and won it all in 2011. He made the Bruins fun and competitive again after years of mediocrity. In Cassidy’s short tenure it is already looking he could have the same type of success. In Cassidy’s first full season the Bruins finished with 112 regular season points — a surprise to many. In a season in which the Bruins were still supposed to be rebuilding, they were one of the top teams in the league. There were many reasons for their success, but it all starts with Cassidy.

Under Cassidy, the Bruins have not been a defense-first team, but they have still been good defensively while adapting to the change of pace. Defensemen such as Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk are aggressive with the puck and not just waiting back in the defensive end. They took on the personality of an underdog as they could never be counted out of a game last season. They played more aggressive than they ever had in years past. While this new style of play was a success, it also had its negatives.

As a result of being more aggressive, there were more lapses in the defensive zone. This was partly due to the Bruins defensemen being young and still learning how to play at the NHL level. That will only improve this season as they get more experience. Over the next few seasons, many more Bruins prospects will make their debuts and go through similar growing pains. Having Cassidy as the head coach will be key to their development. If Cassidy can build off last season, then he will be around to see their debuts and help them develop at the NHL level. In year one he was very successful in that regard.

In Cassidy’s first full season he finished second in the Jack Adams voting — the award given to the best NHL coach. Cassidy did not finish in second by luck. Cassidy has gotten off to a good start in Boston and changed the culture in a positive way. That should only continue next season, and he may not be finishing second this time around.

Bruins David Backes Nominated For 2018 Masterton Trophy

(Photo: Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports)

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Today the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s Boston Chapter announced that they’ve selected Boston Bruins forward David Backes as this year’s Masterton Trophy nominee. The 12 -year National Hockey League pro who spent a majority of his career with the St. Louis Blues organization has never won the prestigious award which is handed out annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.

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The 6′-3″ 221-pound Backes has appeared in 124 games for the Bruins in two seasons with the club posting 29-37-66 numbers. In his 12-year career in total, the power forward Minnesota native has amassed 526 points (235-291-526) in 851 NHL contests. Per Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia the Masterton Trophy is named in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a Minnesota North Stars player who died on January 15, 1968, after sustaining an injury during a hockey game. During his playing career, Masterton exhibited “to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”. It was first awarded following the 1967–68 regular season. As of the end of the 2013–14 NHL season, players for the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens have won the trophy five times; players for the Boston Bruins have won the trophy four times, and players for the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings have won the trophy three times.

Also, Per Wikipedia It is named after Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries suffered during a game. The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association after each team nominates one player in the competition. It is often awarded to a player who has come back from career– or even life-threatening illness or injury.

Below are previous winners of the Masterton Trophy that played for the Boston Bruins organization.

Charlie Simmer 1985-86 – Overcame serious ligament damage to his knee to score 60 points

Gord Kluzak 1989-90 – Tried to overcome severe knee injuries, but after playing two games after his tenth knee operation, he retired.

Cam Neely 1993-94 – Awarded “to recognize his valiant efforts to return to NHL action after suffering career-threatening injuries”; however, those injuries caused his retirement after the 1995–96 NHL season.

Phil Kessel 2006-07 – Missed 12 games because of testicular cancer mid-season.

Why Do The Boston Bruins Keep Losing First Rounders?

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Photo Credit: Ted Fitzgerald

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog

The former first-round pick Malcolm Subban (24th overall, 2012) was placed on waivers yesterday and claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights earlier today. Vegas now has three goalies on their roster. Fleury, Pickard and Subban will make quite the tandem in nets for them. For the Bruins, they will now use Daniel Vladar and Zane McIntyre as the goalies in Providence. Vladar played 8 games in the AHL last year, and 18 in the ECHL. He will now have a better opportunity to play with Subban gone. This should also make Zane McIntrye the starting goalie, as he and Subban split starts last season in Providence.

This marks yet another Bruins first-round pick leaving the team for less value then he was worth. He was one of the nine first round players from 2005-2013 picked by Boston to leave the Bruins. Some of those names include elite players like Phil Kessel (5th overall, 2006), Tyler Seguin (2nd overall, 2010) and Dougie Hamilton (9th overall, 2011). There is a really bad pattern of Boston losing high-value players for weird reasons. Sometimes alleged off-ice reasons (Seguin) or the player just not panning out like they were scouted to be.

 

Matt Lashoff – 2005 (22nd Overall) TRADED – Tampa Bay

Matt played 36 games over three years with the Bruins. He totaled one goal, seven assists for 8 points with the Bruins. He had a lot of points in juniors and the minors but never translated that to the Bruins in the NHL. He was traded with Martins Karsums to Tampa Bay for Mark Recchi and a 2nd overall pick which was then turned to Florida. Recchi ended up being a great addition for the Bruins.

Phil Kessel – 2006 (5th Overall) TRADED – Toronto

Phil Kessel was a very good, and almost immediately made an impact in the NHL. He scored a lot of goals and contributed to the team. He was then traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 1st/2nd round picks in 2010, along with Toronto’s first round pick in 2011. Those picks turned out to be Seguin, Jared Knight, and Dougie Hamilton. Phil was then traded to Pittsburgh where he is now a two-time Stanley Cup champion. He has excelled with the Penguins, finally finding a system that fits him really well.

Zach Hamill – 2007 (8th Overall) TRADED – Washington

Zach Hamill played a total of 20 games over three years with the Bruins and hasn’t played a game in the NHL since. He totaled four career assists in the NHL. He was traded to Washington, then Florida and then moved around the AHL. He last played in 2012.

Joe Colborne – 2008 (16th Overall) TRADED – Toronto

Joe Colborne didn’t play a single regular season game for the Bruins. He was traded three years after he was drafted to Toronto with picks for Thomas Kaberle (Which kind of worked out since they won the Cup that year) He played six games with Providence. So a first-round pick played six games in the AHL before trading him.

Jordan Caron – 2009 (25th Overall) TRADED – Colorado

Caron played 134 games with the Bruins over five seasons, totaling 12 G, 16 A for 28 points. One of the longer first round picks careers with the Bruins, but in the end, Caron was traded to Colorado for Max Talbot and Paul Carey. Paul didn’t play for the Bruins at all, but Talbot ended up playing 56 games. Caron continued his career with Colorado and St. Louis. He was one of the few first-rounders that I’ve reviewed that have actually had a fair amount of time as a Bruin.

Tyler Seguin – 2010 (2nd Overall) TRADED – Dallas

Tyler Seguin was one of the highest drafted Bruins at 2nd overall only behind Taylor Hall. They had been thought of as one of the closest top two picks in years. In his first year with the Bruins, Seguin played 73 regular season games and even played in 13 playoff games on route to the Bruins win. He played two more seasons until he was traded in the offseason for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser, who all don’t play for the Bruins anymore. Peter Chiarelli traded Seguin due to his “Party Life”.

Dougie Hamilton – 2011 (9th Overall) TRADED – Calgary

Hamilton was a solid defenceman and overall really good player. He played three seasons with the Bruins, improving point totals every year. He was set up to take over Chara’s position on the team as the top defencemen until he was traded to the Flames for a first and two 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft that resulted in Zachary Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacks-Karlsson, and Jeremy Lauzon. None of those players have played in an NHL regular season game yet. While the picks exchanged for him develop in the minors, Hamilton has become one of Calgary’s top defencemen. Yet another talented, promising pick that was traded away.

Malcolm Subban – 2012 (24th Overall) WAIVED – Vegas Golden Knights

This was a weird pick, considering the history that people with the last name “Subban” have in Boston. But he was a great goalie in junior, and the Bruins felt that they couldn’t pass on him. After playing only two NHL games (And losing both) Subban was put on waivers after the 2017 preseason. He was picked up by VGK and ended his career as a Bruin. He was a solid enough AHL goalie, but never turned into the backup for Rask that the Bruins hoped he would.

 

With the Bruins having seven first round picks in the last four years, there might be a better oppertunity for those players to stay with the team and find a regular spot. Some of those players include David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy, who seem to have NHL roles at this time. The trades could have been made possible thorugh a weird combonation of Peter Charelli making odd descions about signings and trades and Claude Juliens’ media imposed hatered towards young players. But no matter what it actually was, the drafting in the years 2005-2012 were not very good, in the first round at least.

Sources:

Hockey-reference.com, HockeyDB.com, Dan Bahl (@danbahl on Twitter)

 

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