Four wins away from the Stanley Cup, it’s pretty safe to say that the Boston Bruins have had themselves one heck of a season.
The B’s registered the third-most points in hockey through the regular season while owning one of the most-highly touted top lines in the game and playing some phenomenal team defense throughout the season. But perhaps lost in the shuffle has been the effectiveness of Bruce Cassidy behind the Bruins’ bench.
Cassidy was not one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award for the NHL’s coach of the year, but that shouldn’t diminish what has been a truly stellar performance from Cassidy in his third year as head coach in Boston.
And that’s not lost on opposing coaches and general managers who showered Cassidy with praise ahead of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.
Here’s what some opposing coaches and general managers told The Athletic’s Joe McDonald:
Eastern Conference GM
“Cassidy doesn’t get enough credit there. People talk about their top line but I think the key for the team has been how he handles the team. He’s more demanding on guys than people know but really consistent with his communication and defining everyone’s role.”
Eastern Conference assistant GM
“He’s done a great job. He has balance up and down his lineup. He does a good job of convincing guys of roles that will help the team win and advance their own career. His teams are always well prepared and never deviate from the game plan. The structure his teams play with is obvious.”
Metropolitan Division coach
“The best in the NHL. When Chara and Bergeron went down and they stayed the course, that was it for me. Plus, they work like dogs, which also goes with drafting and free-agent signings. Their bottom six work as hard as any, which is the identity of the organization.”
Former NHL coach
“I was skeptical when they let Claude go, but Bruce has re-energized the organization. Quite frankly, he brought their style of play into the modern game. They play with speed and they’re on the attack all the time; with and without the puck. They transition quickly with speed and numbers and they make plays. He’s encouraged that and it’s very evident with the way they pass and move the puck. They press hard in all areas. Claude obviously had great success in Boston, but the change to Bruce has allowed the team to move to a modern style of play. It’s very evident.”
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images