Bruce Cassidy: An Incredible Year
Bruce Cassidy has certainly had his ups and downs in the last year. Bruce, also known as "Butch" was let go at the end of the Bruins at the end of the 2021-22 season after the B's were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. At the time, it was thought by many in the Boston media that Cassidy had done a fantastic job as coach of the Black and Gold.
The Bruins front office apparently disagreed. There were rumors on how the players were unhappy with his coaching style and had switched off. They didn't enjoy having their mistakes commented on in press conferences. (It certainly didn't help that Jake DeBrusk had been asking for a trade for nearly the entire season). In the end, the powers that be decided to cut ties with their head coach.
“His head coaching record for the Bruins is impressive, and we are appreciative of Bruce both professionally and personally,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney at the time of his firing. “After taking some time to fully digest everything, I felt that the direction of our team for both this season and beyond would benefit from a new voice.”
“Bruce has been a fantastic coach and has helped this team win many games and achieve success over his tenure behind the bench,” offered Bruins president Cam Neely. “I have the utmost confidence in Don to conduct a thorough search to identify the best candidate that is going to help our team reach its full potential.”
The Bruins hired Jim Montgomery as their new head coach As the 2022-23 season progressed, the Bruins seemed to have found their new voice and were reaching their full potential. The B's had their best season in a century as they put up 135 points and were seen as odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
Then injuries and errors compounded in the first round of the playoffs and the B's found themselves on the outside looking in as the Florida Panthers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Boston in seven games.
Meanwhile, Bruce Cassidy was hired as the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. He motivated the six-year franchise to its second Stanley Cup Final in six years. He was the right voice at the right time in the right place for that locker room and the results speak for themselves.
The Golden Knights never found themselves on the back foot during the playoffs. The Western Conference's Black and Gold never needed more than six games to vanquish their opponents. Cassidy motivated a new team to victory and at the end of the season found themselves at the top of the hill.
One year, one month, and a day after his firing in Boston, Bruce Cassidy was holding the Stanley Cup over his head after the Knights defeated the Florida Panthers in five games.
As a Bruins fan, I've got mixed feelings. I'm upset that this was the likely the last year that Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci would have a chance to win a Stanley Cup. I'm disappointed that such an amazing season ended with such an early exit. On the other end, I'm happy to see former Bruin Reilly Smith raise the Cup. I'm also very happy for a former head coach who I enjoyed getting his moment in hockey.
Coach Cassidy still has a house on Cape Cod. So, we might get the see the Cup in Boston this summer.