HASH(0x292cdc0)

Bruins will bring back Bruce Cassidy as head coach

Bruins will bring back Bruce Cassidy as head coach

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins are bringing Bruce Cassidy back next season, dropping the interim tag from his title as a reward for leading the team back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Cassidy replaced Claude Julien, the winningest coach in the history of the Original Six franchise, on Feb. 8 and led the team to an 18-8-1 record to finish out the season and earn a post-season berth. They were eliminated on Sunday by the Ottawa Senators in six games in the first round.

Julien led the Bruins to the NHL championship in 2011 and back to the Stanley Cup finals in 2013. But they missed the post-season the last two seasons and were out of playoff position on Feb. 8, having lost six of their last nine games, when Julien was fired.

After Cassidy took over, the Bruins led the league in goals per game and tied for second in wins. They won their first four games after the change and added a six-game winning streak to clinch a playoff berth. In all, they went 18-8-1 to close out the season, finishing third in the Atlantic Division.

“It was for sure something that shook up the whole team, all of the players, the whole organization,” defenceman Zdeno Chara said. “We’d had a coach that has been here for 10 years and he’d done a lot of good things, created a lot of personal relationships, and obviously, was here when we won a Stanley Cup.

“But I thought that kind of brought a true realization that we needed to be better and was a big wake-up call for everybody. I think from that day, we really started playing a little bit more together and we were getting results.”

But they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Senators. Afterward, players expressed their hope that Cassidy would return.

“We obviously had some success with Butch and it shows with the way that we played,” defenceman Torey Krug said. “The guys were excited to play for him. I think the guys in this room would echo that same message and hopefully it does happen. It’s out of our hands, but the guys like playing for him.”

Cassidy, 51, had spent five seasons as head coach of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence before joining Julien’s staff as an assistant this season. He coached the Washington Capitals for parts of two seasons from 2002-04, leading them to 39-29-8-6 record and a post-season berth in his first season with the team.

A left-handed defenceman, Cassidy was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983 who recorded four goals and 13 assists in 36 career NHL games. He also played in the OHL, AHL and IHL, as well as in Italy and Germany.

Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours fought to extinguish Langley house fire

Firefighters arrived to find citizens dousing a blaze climbing through the walls of a Langley home.

Dear Santa: the Langley Advance presents local children’s letters to the jolly old elf

During the holidays, the Langley Advance will present letters to Santa. Here is the first selection.

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

VIDEO: Hankering for a piece of Star Wars?

A massive Star Wars memorabilia collection is going on the auction block in Langley.

Car fire destroys vehicle in Langley

Firefighters doused a car fire that sent a lot of smoke into the air in Langley.

VIDEO: Recovering addict shares art and story to motivate others

A Langley City man spends time each day painting in McBurney Plaza.

Kamloops RCMP warning public to stay away from unfolding domestic dispute

The public is being asked to avoid Sabiston Creek Road off of the highway

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Family Christmas fun at Aldergrove’s Loft Country farm

The Loft Country children’s horse camp in Aldergrove is celebrating Christmas in a new way this year

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read