Bruce Cassidy in Boston
2021-2022: 51-26-5 (regular season), 3-4 (playoffs)
Career: 245-108-46 (regular season), 36-37 (playoffs)
Reader rating: 8
Writer rating: 7.7
When the Bruins’ 2021-2022 season ended with a frustrating but not entirely unexpected first-round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, there wasn’t a ton of grumbling amongst fans about a coaching change.
Fans were more likely to aim their ire at Don Sweeney (poor drafting, questionable FA deals) or Jeremy Jacobs (legacy venom from the pre-spend days) than at Cassidy, who was pretty well liked.
So when Cassidy was dismissed shortly after the season ended, the initial reaction was one of surprise, if not outright shock — many fans were mad, and nearly all questioned whether or not he was the one of the management trio that needed to go.
I count myself among the “shocked, WTF are they doing” crowd in the days after the firing. It seemed like a rash decision, one made for the sake of making it, and possibly for the sake of saving the GM/President.
With several weeks having passed now, it’s easier to look at it with a level head: Cassidy was a good coach who accomplished a lot with the B’s, and who had his flaws as well (don’t we all).
The ratings reflect the fact that he almost certainly didn’t deserve to get fired, but as the offseason has rolled on, my feelings have mellowed to “well that seems dumb, but let’s see how it goes.”
There’s no denying that Cassidy is one of the most successful coaches the Bruins have had in decades, if not in franchise history.
His 245 wins are second-most in Bruins history (after Claude Julien), while his winning percentage of .674 was fourth-best.
His Bruins teams made the playoffs every year, and won a round in every season but his first (remember how bad that Bruins team was?) and last.
We all remember the 2019 run, and it sure seemed like another one was coming before COVID came along.
Cassidy was well liked by the media due to his candid nature and penchant for giving a good soundbite — he told it like it was, which could be refreshing.
Of course, that “telling it like it is” approach is (reportedly, allegedly, so I heard, etc) one of the things that ultimately led to his dismissal, with his heavy-handed approach to youngsters wearing out its welcome.
Overall, I have a hard time beliving Cassidy was as reviled as the Twitter whispers indicate; if that was the case, he wouldn’t have lasted six seasons.
Cassidy’s Bruins teams were well coached, reliably good on defense, and perenially a contender it the Atlantic, if not for the Cup.
You can’t really ask for a ton more than that from a coach.
There were some issues as well, issues that have been discussed in depth since his firing: too reliant on (and hesitant to separate) his first line, too quick with a benching for certain players, too long of a leash for others.
There were also some who didn’t like that he’d occasionally criticize players by name after a bad game (no, Jake DeBrusk’s PR firm didn’t pay me to say this), which is fair.
If you remember, we did the voting on these ratings early in the summer, when the firing was still fresh; I’d be curious to see what the numbers looked like now, with plenty of hindsight.
That’s not to say that we overrated Cassidy, as he was a great coach during his time here. I just wonder if the shock of the firing at the time may have inflated some votes (and lowered those of his bosses).
Overall, I still think firing Cassidy when they did was a mistake. It seemed unnecessarily harsh, and a lot like a change for change’s sake.
But at this point, with a couple of months to think it over, I think it boils down to this: Cassidy was a good coach who had some great moments, but also had his shortcomings and may have been approaching a bit of a plateau.
The franchise is ready to thank Cassidy for his service and turn the page: “it was a good run, but it’s time for a new direction.”
Let’s see how it goes.
(Side note, but imagine if Cassidy won it all with Vegas this season? The takes would make the Tuukka Rask discussions look like polite conversation.)
As several weeks have passed, has your view on the Cassidy dismissal changed?
This poll is closed
No, I’m still mad about it.
I’m a bit more "whatever" about it now.
I agreed with it back then - he had to go.
The Bruins should bring back Dave Lewis LOL