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Tag: Bruce Cassidy

Predicting The Golden Knights Offseason (Jason’s Picks)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the next two months, the Golden Knights will tweak their roster in hopes of creating a legitimate contender. Every maneuver the club decides to make will need to keep the salary cap in consideration. Yesterday Ken shared his predictions, now here’s mine.

TRADE – Alec Martinez and a 5th round pick traded to the Detroit for a 4th round pick

There’s just no way around it, the Golden Knights need to shed salary. Trading Martinez to Detroit makes sense for both teams and the player. The Wings have space and could use an elder statesman to direct their young d-core, and mentor Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. Let’s not forget to mention Martinez was born and bred in Rochester Hills, MI. It’ll hurt the Golden Knights but in a cap world space is much more important than an expensive veteran with miles. This also allows some flexibility for a possible multi-year deal with Nic Hague.

TRADE – Laurent Brossoit and a 4th round pick to Dallas for 5th round pick

Brossoit is another easy candidate for some cap relief. Logan Thompson made his case to become Robin Lehner’s backup and proved he can handle the pressure of being a number one. This allows the Golden Knights front office to undo their unnecessary spending of $2.5M last summer. It might seem like an odd destination considering new Stars coach Pete DeBoer had some sharp comments after one of Brossoit’s performances in Vegas. However, there’s space and a fit for a veteran backup to support up-and-comer Jake Oettinger.

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Cassidy Vows To Help Eichel Learn How To Play Winning Hockey

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no secret for the Golden Knights that if they want to have success, and ultimately raise the Stanley Cup, they are going to need to get the best out of Jack Eichel.

After being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres, Eichel was able to play in 34 games with the Golden Knights. He started out hot scoring five goals in his first 13 games including two game-winning goals. But he cooled off mightily down the stretch as he went scoreless in five of the team’s final six meaningful games and was held to just one point in that span.

Vegas lost all but one of those games and watch their playoff hopes slip right through their fingertips. Understandably, as a player whose career has been marred by regular season team failure, Eichel took the brunt of the blame. Over that span, he posted a -5 rating, missed all three of his shootout attempts, and was on the ice for seven goals against.

Fair or not, it didn’t look good for a player who has been criticized consistently over his career for being more focused on his offensive game than team success.

New head coach Bruce Cassidy is not shying away from the stigma that surrounds Eichel and he’s ready to step in and help.

You’ve got a high-end offensive player that hasn’t won and now he’s got to put the crest first. And I’m not saying he didn’t do that in Buffalo because I don’t know what happened there, but at the end of the day that will be the conversation. –Cassidy on TSN 1200

Cassidy elaborated in another interview.

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Pete DeBoer “Rattled” By Firing In Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the Golden Knights turn the page into a new era, the man in charge of the last one is doing the same himself. Pete DeBoer was recently named head coach of the Dallas Stars taking over a team that went one round further than the team he coached in Vegas this year.

In his introductory press conference, DeBoer shared his reaction to being let go from the Golden Knights this summer.

The Vegas one rattled me because I really thought as a coaching staff we worked as hard as we could with the situation that was handed to us this year. Getting 94 points out of a team that had lost 500 man games to injuries, I thought our coaching staff really worked hard to get that. To put it in perspective the other team that lost that many man games finished in dead last. I’m not going to lie to you, it rattled me a little bit that we were relieved of our duties. -Pete DeBoer

He went on to explain why he was so shocked.

I took the job in Vegas and thought I made an impact. We went to the conference final in the Bubble, went to the conference final, and beat Colorado the President’s trophy-winning team last year, and I thought we were building on that. We’re just starting to reach our potential and then had as disastrous an injury-filled year as I’ve experienced as a coach. -DeBoer

It’s actually fairly similar to the remarks Gerard Gallant made after he was let go from the Golden Knights in early 2020.

Usually you have an idea. You can feel something. But I didn’t have that. Maybe that was my own stupidity, I don’t know. I never felt like anything like that was going to happen. The Florida one I knew was coming, it was just a matter of when. I knew that from a meeting in the summertime. I had the feeling. This one I had no idea it was coming. I didn’t feel it coming at all. That was the toughest part. –Gallant to LVRJ in January 2020

DeBoer exits Vegas posting a record of 98-50-12 in the regular season, 22-17 in the playoffs (including three “round-robin” wins) and a 4-2 mark in series. These marks are all slightly better than Gallant’s 118-75-20 regular season, 16-11 playoff, and 3-2 series records.

Now, in walks Bruce Cassidy, who has enjoyed similar success as his two predecessors. However, all three have failed to deliver the one thing that matters to the Vegas Golden Knights.

And if he doesn’t do it, and do it quickly, he’ll probably be “rattled” or “shocked” in a few years too.

Distance Stats Illustrate Cassidy’s “Goaltender-Friendly” System

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Bruce Cassidy was asked to describe his coaching style, one of the first adjectives he used was “goaltender-friendly.”

There are a lot of different ways for hockey systems to assist the goalie and Cassidy’s does a lot of them. Things like making the game predictable, not allowing cross-ice passes, limiting the number of odd-man rushes, and keeping the puck away from the center of the ice.

There’s one specific metric that illustrates the way Cassidy’s teams play which helps any goalie sitting behind them. It’s a distance stat and it’s one Golden Knights fans are actually used to being on the other end of.

WaveIntel’s Jason Paul compiled stats on shot and goal distance for a three-year span between 2017 and 2020. The NHL average distance of any goal scoring during those seasons was about 22.4 feet away from the net. For Tukka Rask, Cassidy’s primary goalie, that number was just short of 25 at 24.93, much further than the average. It was the second furthest average distance of goal allowed behind only Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray. As for all shots, the average was 36.7 feet while Rask was seeing shots coming from an average of 38.1 feet away.

In comparison, Marc-Andre Fleury was in the bottom third of the league in both categories, allowing goals from an average of 20.3 feet and all shots at 36.4 feet away.

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Stone Expresses Optimism After Cassidy Hire With NHL Radio

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was a difficult season for the Golden Knights and specifically captain Mark Stone. The 30-year-old forward skated in the least amount of games since his second year in the league. Injuries plagued not only his season but the entire Golden Knights roster as well. According to Stone, the locker room felt foreign due to the shuffling of player. Not only were the players dealing with injuries, they were frustrated nightly by their underperforming power play. As Stone put it, the Golden Knights tasted their first slice of humble pie.

We had some pretty fluky injuries that were really hard to recover from during the season. We’re a veteran group so it’ll be nice to get the bodies healed and ready to go for the start of the season. Kind of prove that we’re good as we think we are. Got a little taste of humble pie this season and wasn’t fun to be a part of.-Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio

The ten year veteran watched the team flounder without his services and the likes of other vital Golden Knights players. Not only was it troublesome on the ice the club was having difficulties in the locker room as well. Stone never mentioned the roster was fractured but it was noticeably different from years past.

Everybody in that dressing room has to take a good hard look in the mirror and get back to the way things were done in the past and get back to our roots a little bit. It was a difficult year as far as adding 10-15 new players. It seemed like we had to reintroduce ourselves every night. We got to get back to being that hard working team out working our opponents. That’s when we allow our skill to take over.-Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio

As VGK fans heard all season, extended injuries severely impacted their results. Stone openly discussed his back surgery and also mentioned the Golden Knights may be without their number one stopper for an unspecified amount of time.

Considering I got back surgery a month ago I don’t think there’s much to debate. I’m battling a pretty bad back and ended up getting a discectomy and should be ready to go first day of training camp. In the bubble Robin was one of the best goalies on the planet. As it goes for most guys this year in our team he battled tons of health issues. He got shoulder surgery and probably going to be out for quite awhile. He’s just looking to get healthy and prove everyone wrong again.-Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio

At this point the injury plagued season is in the past and Stone is preparing mentally and physically for a bounce back season. With the addition of new coach Bruce Cassidy the captain expects more ferocity from his teammates.

I think he’s going to bring a lot of intensity to the room. I think he’s going to get the best of our players. I love the way Boston plays. They are so hard to play against. I’m excited. I love our talent and now I’m excited to see we’re we can go with him and see if he can push all the right buttons to get us over that hump. And have even more success.-Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio

Another reason for optimism is Stone will finally be able to build chemistry with star center Jack Eichel. The Golden Knights front office traded for the high end center to match up with their highly paid, two-way winger. Barring no injuries the two will anchor VGK’s most lethal line. It’ll be up to Cassidy to figure out who will skate with Eichel and Stone.

Yeah I can’t wait. I only got to play eight games with him. I almost felt so bad for him. When he came back pretty much all of us left the lineup and weren’t able to help him. There are so many wrong takes on Jack Eichel the player and the person. More than anyone he works on his game as much as anyone I’ve ever played with him. I’m excited to get him feeling comfortable and ready to go for opening day come October.-Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio

Unprovoked, Stone addressed the swirling comments that have surrounded Eichel since his days in Buffalo. For the most part Golden Knights fans don’t care what happened in Buffalo. It’s not their problem, he plays in Vegas now but clearly Vegas’ captain felt the need to praise his teammate’s work ethic.

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Cassidy Undeterred By Golden Knights’ Quick Trigger Finger On Coaching Changes

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Today the Golden Knights introduced a head coach for the third time in franchise history as they set to enter their sixth season.

Gerard Gallant, the team’s first coach, led the Golden Knights through a storybook inaugural season that ended up just three wins from the Stanley Cup, the closest Vegas has ever been. 18 months later, he was out of a job, replaced mid-season by a rival who had been standing on the other bench in Gallant’s last postseason game as bench boss of the Golden Knights.

Pete DeBoer took over and got off to a winning start before the world shut down due to a pandemic. When hockey resumed, he led the Golden Knights to back-to-back conference finals before experiencing a season unlike any other in 2021-22, mired by long-term injury and resulting in Vegas missing the playoffs for the first time ever. Two weeks later, he was relieved of his duties as head coach ending a tenure the man who just fired him said, “cannot be considered anything but a success.”

Now, in walks Bruce Cassidy. A head coach who, like his predecessors, enters with a sterling record of success in the NHL but, also like his predecessors, having felt his time at the previous stop was cut short.

As for the other coaches, Turk and Pete, I’ve gotten to know them over the years, two excellent coaches doing good jobs in the league but I thought I did a good job in Boston too and here I am. So it’s a part of the business. -Cassidy

So, why choose Vegas knowing their penchant for making rapid changes at the position he’d be hired into?

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5 Lesser-Known Facts About Bruce Cassidy

(Photo Credit: @GoldenKnights on Twitter)

We’ll get to the hockey stuff in time, but first, let’s learn about the man himself, new Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Here’s a link to his Wikipedia page. That should just about cover his entire playing and coaching career. Now, let’s get to the lesser-known stuff.

Cassidy was cut from a Midget A team at the age of 15, three years before he was selected in the 1st round of the NHL Draft

The B team he was placed on ended up beating the A team in a tournament later that season. It was at that tournament NHL scouts really noticed him for the first time and it kicked off his playing, and ultimately coaching, career.

Source: The Athletic

**The story linked above details this nugget and much more about his coaching career. Highly recommended reading.**

Bruce is a baseball guy

Like many kids who go on to become pro athletes, Cassidy wasn’t just good at one sport. He grew up playing baseball as well as hockey and excelled at both. His father, Leonard, coached him in baseball when he played and now he’s the 1st base coach for his son, Cole’s team.

Cassidy says he’s aggressive sending baserunners.

I’m 36-for-36 on stolen bases this year. -Cassidy to NHL Network

Source: NESN

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BRUCE CASSIDY TO BE NAMED HEAD COACH OF GOLDEN KNIGHTS

According to multiple reports, first reported by Kevin Weekes of ESPN, the Golden Knights are set to make Bruce Cassidy the team’s newest head coach. The team has confirmed.

Cassidy, who was fired from the same position with the Boston Bruins eight days ago, will become the Golden Knights’ third head coach as they head into their sixth season in the NHL.

Cassidy boasted a .672 winning percentage in his six years with the Bruins with a record of 245-108-46. He led his team to the playoffs in all six of his seasons in Boston and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018-19, ultimately falling in seven games to the St. Louis Blues. His overall record in the playoffs is 36-37 and his series record is 6-5.

In 2002, Cassidy was given his first chance as a head coach by George McPhee and the Washington Capitals. He lasted just 110 games and was let go after an 8-18-1-1 start in his second year.

The Golden Knights are very pleased to have Bruce come in to coach our team. His success in Boston over six years is extremely impressive. His teams have had a clear identity, having been among the very best in the NHL in terms of goals for, goals against, goal differential and special teams. This is the right coach for our team at this time. -Kelly McCrimmon in press release

I am excited to join an organization that shares my commitment to winning and can’t wait to get to work with the talent that has been assembled in Vegas. It’s been impressive to watch the city embrace the Golden Knights from afar, and my family and I look forward to becoming a part of that. -Bruce Cassidy in press release

Bruce Cassidy Joins VGK’s List Of Coaching Candidates

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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.

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McPhee Drops More Hints On Coaching Search

During Monday’s season ticket holder conference call, GM George McPhee sounded like a man who’s impatiently waiting for late June.

We’ll be ready for the expansion draft and the entry draft. In fact I think we’re ready now.. -George McPhee, General Manager

If you missed it or aren’t quite rich enough to have fancy pants season tickets, check out the SinBin.vegas Twitter timeline as Ken live-tweeted out the full conference call. Without giving too much away, McPhee gave a few notes of interest, especially, an answer to a coaching question. We still stand by Jack Capuano as the front-runner and his comment leads us again to the former Islanders coach.

Let’s get to the hidden information McPhee might’ve tried to slip by us. On a question about finding the Golden Knights first head coach. The GM stated he wants a coach that knows the present-day players, rules and styles. Most importantly, here’s the big clue, he also would like to hire someone he knows.

We want someone who is very current on the game, who’s progressive. I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of coaches in the NHL. Had great experiences in the world championships working with several NHL coaches. So, we know who’s out there. We decided way back in August, that we were going to take our time and interview along the way. – GM George McPhee

McPhee said it, he’s worked with a lot of NHL coaches. Here’s the list:

CoachWhen With McPheeCurrently WithTenureRecord
Ron WilsonWSH Head Coach (1997-2002)N/A410 Games192-159-51
Bruce CassidyWSH Head Coach (2002-2004)Boston (Interim)110 Games47-47-9
Randy CarlyleWSH Assistant Coach (2002-2004)Anaheim (HC)164 Games64-75-18
Glen HanlonWSH Head Coach (2003-2008)GM Vancouver Giants (WHL)239 Games79-122-9
Bruce BoudreauWSH Head Coach (2008-2012)Minnesota (HC)329 Games208-104-40
Jack CapuanoNYI Head Coach (2015) *Only Season McPhee w/New YorkN/A82 Games45-27-10
Doug WeightSr. Advisor to GM and Isles Asst. Coach (2015)New York Islanders (Interim)29 Games16-9-4
Bill PetersIIHF Team Canada Head Coach (2014-Pres)Carolina (HC)164 Games65-72-27
Dave CameronIIHF Team Canada Assistant Coach (2014-2016)Calgary (Asst)137 Games70-50-17
Mike YeoIIHF Team Canada Assistant CoachSt. Louis (HC)370 Games187-139-44

As you can see, McPhee has worked with plenty of NHL head coaches past and present. Cassidy, Carlyle, Boudreau, Weight, Peters and Yeo are all current NHL head coaches. Capuano was fired earlier this season, and Cameron was let go after last season. Hanlon and Wilson haven’t been NHL head coaches in some time so it’s safe to eliminate them. Carlyle, Boudreau and Yeo are all safely employed. Which leaves Capuano, Cassidy, Weight, Peters and Cameron.

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