This week former Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy officially joined the available coaching class of 2022. With several other highly regarded head coaches on the market, you’d have to imagine the same suitors are reaching out to Cassidy, including the Golden Knights.
Ex- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy conducted a Master Class in how to address your dubious dismissal with grace and dignity. Whoever gets him next is very fortunate.
— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) June 10, 2022
The 57-year old coach has strong ties to the Golden Knights organization. George McPhee hired Cassidy to his first NHL head coaching job in 2002. Subsequently, McPhee ended up firing the freshman coach after 110 games behind the bench. Cassidy was a young coach at the time and McPhee was known for his quick trigger finger. It was somewhat of a disaster.
Over the years the two matured and became successful NHL statesmen. However, both are still seeking their first championship.
It’s exhilarating to have that opportunity and that’s my goal to get my name on the Stanley Cup. –Bruce Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters
Some of the complaints McPhee dealt with in Washington were Cassidy’s inability to communicate with certain veterans and the amount of pressure he placed on young players. Both knocks followed him nearly two decades later to Boston. Thankfully, the Golden Knights are a roster full of desperate, hungry veterans.
However, Cassidy disputed the accusations that he’s hard on younger players in his recent Zoom chat with the Boston media.
When I came on board, we changed a lot of the players and we infused our team with a lot of young talent; Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen, Pasta was still young, Grzelcyk, Carlo, McAvoy. And I think a lot of those guys have gone and had real nice careers. I’m very proud of my record with young guys. –Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters
20 years later things are much, much different. Cassidy has successfully built up a strong resume, coaching the Bruins to the playoffs six times in six seasons. Including, an appearance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.
Now that Cassidy is available and interviewing with teams, when will the Golden Knights meet with Cassidy? If it hasn’t happened already.
I believe in myself when it comes to coaching young guys and in my next challenge I’ll make sure I’m mindful of the messaging, because I respect Donnie when he talks to me about what I need to do better. He’s been in the game a long time, so that’s something I’ll have to take with me to the next job.-Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters
Similar to the Golden Knights’ management, the Bruins’ front office fired their coach while having major shortcomings of their own. In 2015 the Bruins selected twice in the first round and passed on Matthew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Joel Eriksson Ek. Quite like Vegas’ front office skipping Robert Thomas, Jake Oettinger, and Jason Robertson in 2017. In the NHL it’s common for coaches to take the fall for management’s poor drafting.
Not every player is going to work out, not every player going to connect with you. In my next challenge, I’ll make sure that I’m mindful of the messaging… I have to take with me to the next job, but still drive home the accountability because I don’t think you have much of a team if players aren’t held accountable to a standard. –Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters
So far, the Golden Knights have been relatively quiet. Other than their reported Zoom call with Barry Trotz there hasn’t been much noise on the coaching front. Likely, the silence means management is working on several scenarios and Cassidy is possibly one of them.