American Hockey League

Cassidy ‘never unnoticed’ in Providence: Sinden

In three stints as coach of the Boston Bruins over six seasons and in 28 years as their general manager, Harry Sinden learned a lot about how to manage and get the most out of a team, including when he coached Boston to the Stanley Cup in 1970.

So when the 87-year-old Bruins legend lavishes praise upon a fellow coach, it means something. And, as he said Monday, he noticed the work current Boston coach Bruce Cassidy was doing early on.

“His job in Providence, that he was doing in Providence, was never unnoticed by Don [Sweeney] and Cam [Neely] and certainly not by me,” Sinden said in a Zoom call arranged by the Bruins as part of their celebration of the 50th anniversary of that 1970 Cup-winning team. “I thought that we had a gem here.”

Cassidy came to Providence of the American Hockey League as an assistant in 2008, after 110 games as coach of the Washington Capitals in 2002 and 2003. He spent three seasons as a Providence assistant before being promoted to coach June 25, 2011, just after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.

He ascended to the Boston bench as an assistant to Claude Julien on May 24, 2016, before taking over Feb. 7, 2017. He has had a lot of success since, including guiding the Bruins to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, when it lost to the St. Louis Blues. When the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, Boston was leading the NHL with 100 points.

“His relationships with players, I wouldn’t say it’s unique … but it’s what you want,” Sinden said. “It’s, ‘I’m in charge, but I’ll help you out, I’ll make you a better player. But just always remember I’m in charge of this business this year.’ He knows what he’s doing.”

Sinden, who coached the Bruins from 1966-70 and again in 1979-80 and 1984-85, cited the quotes that Cassidy gives to reporters in his pregame and postgame sessions and after practices as insight into the way that Cassidy deals not just with the media, but with players as well.

“You can just read what he tells you guys and the statements he gives and how he answers your questions that he makes you feel like he’s treating you properly, I think,” Sinden said. “I know he treats the players the same way. They think he’s treating them properly, and that’s a big step in coaching a team.”

When the Bruins fired Julien and replaced him with Cassidy in 2016-17, they were one point out of the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference. They went 18-8-1 in their final 27 games to finish third in the Atlantic Division but lost in the Eastern Conference First Round to the Ottawa Senators.

The Bruins made it to the second round the following season and the Stanley Cup Final last season under Cassidy.

With the Bruins, Cassidy is 161-66-34 (.682 points percentage).

“He knows the game,” Sinden said. “He knows how to play. I can’t say enough about him. You’ve got to remember when he came in here, we were out of the playoffs. We weren’t out mathematically, but we were heading out. We were definitely heading out when he came aboard. We ended up making them, and I think he’s had one of the best records of any coach in the League since he took over.

“He didn’t take over a [Wayne] Gretzky-led, Bobby Orr-type team. He did not. And his record is not to be reckoned with. Pretty [darn] good.”

Articles You May Like

NHL Rumors: Brock Boeser’s agent has permission to speak to other teams about a trade
Fasching: Recall is ‘what we work for’
Flames put on offensive clinic to take down Panthers in Tkachuk’s return to Calgary
3 Non-UFA Canadiens Likeliest to Be Traded During Rebuild
The Maple Leafs’ Core Four After 25 Games

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *