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NHL

Who are the top candidates to replace Bruce Cassidy as Boston Bruins head coach?

After the Boston Bruins announced that they had relieved their head coach of his duties, we consider who’s next in.

Update:
Alegria de Chris Kreider de los New York Rangers tras marcar ante Tuukka Rask de los Boston Bruins.
AFP

Another one bites the dust, leaving an opportunity for another in the never-ending managerial carousel on the NHL. On Monday the Boston Bruins announced that they had relieved head coach Bruce Cassidy of his duties.

Cassidy sacked, who’s up next?

Back in February 2017, Cassidy had taken over the Bruins’ top job and amassed a 245-108-26 record in the next five-plus seasons. The Bruins reached the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the St. Louis Blues and Cassidy was handed the Jack Adams Award for top coach in the NHL in 2019-20, just two seasons ago.

The Bruins went 51-26-5 last season and bowed out in the first round of the playoffs following a seven-game series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Cassidy, 57, had worked in the Bruins’ organization since the 2008-09 season, when he joined AHL affiliate Providence as an assistant coach.

“After 14 years working with Bruce, this was an extremely difficult decision,” general manager Don Sweeney said in a news release. “I want to thank and acknowledge Bruce for all his work and success with the Bruins organization.

His head coaching record for the Bruins is impressive, and we are appreciative of Bruce both professionally and personally. 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. I want to wish Bruce, Julie, Shannon and Cole much success as a family and with their future opportunities.”

We have an experienced group of guys who want to win, that know how to win, and the next group of guys that is the next core – Charlie [McAvoy] and David [Pastrnak] – hopefully they can bridge that group. The next guy needs to come in and effectively bridge all age groups,” said Sweeney “I don’t think it’s a prerequisite to have coached on an NHL bench.”

Potential Bruin replacements for Bruce Cassidy?

Based on what Sweeney has said, it would appear that a new manager will not be walking through the door in the coming days, more likely after the summer, as Phil Nevin takes interim charge. So who could that person be?

Jay Leach: knows his Bruins

Although early days in the process, Leach is considered one of the most likely replacements for Cassidy. He’s currently with the Seattle Kraken’s but shone as head coach of the Providence Bruins. There, prior to the pandemic, he had a 136-77-26 record, which included taking the team to the best record in the 2019/20 AHL Eastern Conference.

Barry Trotz: experience in buckets

With over 23 years of experience as a head coach in the NHL, Trotz has surely got to be in the conversation to take over in Boston. Add to that his Stanley Cup success with the Washington Capitals just a few years back and there’s a solid choice for many. That said, the Canadian turns 60 this summer and may not fit with the longer-term plans that Sweeney has in mind.

Joe Sacco: inside out

Sometimes it makes sense to keep things in-house - you very much should know what they are bringing to the table - and, if that is the chosen path then Sacco fits the bill. In his younger days he played with the Boston Braves minor ice hockey team, before starring for Boston University, and later, in 1987, was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sacco also played for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers, and since hanging up his skates moved into coaching, becoming assistant at the Bruins in 2014.

David Quinn: Olympic flame

Local connections continue with Quinn, who spent five years at Boston University as head coach, taking them to the national title in 2015. That was followed by three years in New York with the Rangers, where he reached the playoffs once and finished, not of his own choosing, with a record of 136-77-26. Then came the Olympics and World Championships, where he managed the United States teams over the past season.

Other names that have been forward include Chris Chelios, Anson Carter, Ted Donato and Greg Carvel. We’ll keep a close eye on the selection process...