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Boston Bruins fire head coach Bruce Cassidy after six seasons

The Boston Bruins have fired coach Bruce Cassidy on Monday, several weeks after losing in the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs.

General manager Don Sweeney announced the surprising move Monday night and said the search for a replacement will begin immediately. He called it “an extremely difficult decision.”

“His head coaching record for the Bruins is impressive, and we are appreciative of Bruce both professionally and personally,” Sweeney said in a statement. “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.”

The Bruins made the playoffs in each of Cassidy’s six seasons behind the bench since taking over for Claude Julien in February 2017. He coached them within one victory of the Stanley Cup in 2019, a hard-fought series against the St. Louis Blues.

Boston bowed out in seven games to Carolina in the first round this spring.

“Bruce has been a fantastic coach and has helped this team win many games and achieve success over his tenure behind the bench,” team president Cam Neely said. “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.”

Cassidy, 57, who seemed to coach several editions of the Bruins to their full potential, immediately becomes a top candidate for vacancies in Philadelphia, Chicago, Winnipeg, Vegas and Detroit and any others that may now come open because of his availability. After struggling in two seasons with Washington in his first NHL head-coaching job in the early 2000s, Cassidy developed into one of the smartest hockey minds around by working through the minors with Providence of the American Hockey League and succeeding with Boston.

“Throughout his time in both Providence and Boston, Bruce’s deep passion for the game and pride he showed in representing the franchise was undeniable,” chairman Charlie Jacobs said. “We wish Bruce, Julie and his entire family nothing but success in the future and thank them for all they’ve done for the team both on and off the ice.”

The Bruins face multiple questions this offseason, including the future of captain Patrice Bergeron. The 36-year-old veteran center is set to become an unrestricted free agent after declining to negotiate a contract extension during the season.

Bergeron still has a lot left in the tank, as he won the Selke Trophy for an NHL-record fifth time as the league’s best defensive forward. He helped lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup title in 2011 and two conference titles in 2013 and 2019.

In addition to Bergeron’s uncertain future, Boston is also dealing with injuries to key players. Left winger Brad Marchand and defenseman Charlie McAvoy are both expected to be out for six months after undergoing recent surgeries. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will likely miss five months because of a shoulder procedure.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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