By Kyle Benson ’19
On Sunday the 19th, Bruce Cassidy and the reinvigorated Bruins won their fourth game in a row since Cassidy took the position from Claude Julien to become the interim head coach. The B’s defeated the San Jose Sharks in overtime, 2-1, with the team looking loose and a little more confident.
The win against the Sharks was the Bruins’ first game back from their league-mandated bye-week, a game in which around the league has not been kind to teams. After their bye-week the Bruins became just the fourth team out of 20 (4-12-4) to win coming off the break. Cassidy can certainly take some credit for this. He has changed the mindset in the locker room and the first game coming back from the bye did not phase the team, which at one time it probably would have.
Coming out of San Jose, the Bruins are back in third place in the Atlantic Division and are very much in the playoff race. While off for a week, teams chasing the Bruins in games played, flopped and kept the Bruins in a safe position. Other than the Florida Panthers, who went 3-0-0, the other teams were miserable, the Toronto Maple Leafs went 1-2-0, the Philadelphia Flyers went 0-2-0, and the New York Islanders went 1-2-0. You can’t thank Cassidy for that, that is just some good luck.
With the team looking a whole lot better since Julien’s departure, you’ve got to give Cassidy a look at dropping the ‘interim’ title, and promoting him to head coach. There are some veteran head coaches without a job right now, but sometimes it can be better with someone that’s been in your organization, since they already know the team and the feel in the locker room.
It has only been four games since the transition, so of course a little more time and evaluation is needed to make the decision, unless Don Sweeney and crew want to make a hurried move. If Cassidy wins at least four or five of the next six games, that is when he should be seriously considered for the actual head coaching spot. If the team suddenly made a turn for the worse in the next few games however, Cassidy could be demoted quickly in favor of a new hire. It is easier to get fired than to get hired in the NHL.
It’s a double-edged sword for him, so he has got to keep doing what he is doing because it’s working, and hope the team responds as they have been responding to him. Right now though, Cassidy and the team have to worry about all the teams trailing them by a few points, and how to keep winning.