I think we all gravitate to simpler conclusions when they are available. In this case, the most obvious reason the Bruins didn't go far this year because the roster has issues--that's the low-hanging fruit. Taken to the next step, the roster flaws are Sweeny's fault--and Neely's too because picking up guys like Backes, Ritchie & Foligno have Cam's fingerprints all over them.
No doubt it's more than that. More a combination of the roster, the injuries, sub-par performance from many players, and as many are alluding to--a coaching style that might no be resonating well with the team.
I think coaches have a hard time adjusting their style to a changing team dynamic. Their styles align with their own personalities. If the coach is a driven, methodical, analytical person (Cassidy) it'll come out in their coaching approach and style. You can change your style and approach for awhile and at certain times but eventually your prevailing personality will reassert itself. If you're a hard-ass and uncompromising person it's hard to reign in that drive. If you're more of easy-going person, it's tough to sell it when you try or need to be an asshole. It's hard to change who you really are down deep, even when you know you really need to.
I have no doubt I would be more like Cassidy and hold the players to highest standard. In your head you gotta think, "these guys are getting paid hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to play hockey, repeat, to play f'ing hockey. I think maybe I can expect 100% effort and focus for that kind of money." No one thinks it's easy. Besides the God-given talent there's some much more in practice, training, game plans, fitness, nutrition, injuries, pain management, and time sacrificed from friends and family. Still...huge salaries to do something most of us wish we could do for free. I easy to understand the frustration Cassidy showed at times when his players just didn't show up.
I would be the opposite of some of the rumors of what we hear about Cassidy and cut the younger guys a little slack and instead lean in to the veterans fast and hard. The young guys are still trying to figure out not only their sport but life in general. Harness the enthusiasm and energy, don't beat it into submission. The NHL is a serious, big money business but I think it's also supposed to be fun. It's an old supervisory/leadership adage to praise in public and criticize in private. That's especially important when dealing with younger people. The older guys should already have things figured out, or at least have a better grip on things. The older guys can take the criticism better and by jumping on them the younger players can learn vicariously what it'll take to be successful.
That's the impression I'm getting from all the media comments. None of us, or the media types, are in the conference or locker rooms. I think Cassidy might be a great, really great, assistant coach. He's the Xs & Os game planner--the brains behind the outfit. A head coach needs to be a communicator, a leader, a person with a big personality. Someone who owns the room and the bench by the force of the their big persona. The assistants are there to do the nerdy stuff and to fill the gaps in the what the head coach lacks (i.e., if the head coach is not a hard ass, delegate that to the assistant who is). The head coach is "the Dad", the one who makes sure things go right for the family and makes sure shit gets done. He’s the person to help the players and the team be their very best. The voice of encouragement, at times the guy who takes you aside to tell you to get your shit together, and other times the man who has to boot your ass out the door because you can't get out of your own way. It’s a big challenge to find that guy but I hope the team can find the coach who can bring the energy, enthusiasm, and absolute love of the sport to make Bruins hockey fun again.