Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,

There’s no shortage of reasons for why the Bruins are where they are right now as a slumping, middle-of-the-pack club.

One of the reasons some are trying to sell right now (and loudly), though, is that the B’s are where they are in the now due to their lack of a toughness and/or an enforcer. They’ll cite the Bruins’ injuries, their past success as a ‘tough’ team, and the team’s historic identity as reasons why the Bruins must do something to address this issue.

But don’t count Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy among those that believe in any of that.

“I don’t know,” Cassidy began, “I don’t think we need an enforcer.”

Cassidy himself tends to believe that the Bruins are plenty tough enough, but that it’s the team’s considerable injury bug throughout their lineup that’s left them without the most noticeable figures on that front.

“I think a couple of our heavier guys are hurt that take care of a lot of that,” Cassidy offered. “We look at our lineup, we thought we’d have enough [toughness], then guys get hurt. Even a guy like [Patrice Bergeron] that plays hard against everybody goes out, he’s certainly not a fighter by any means but he’s hard to play against, so you lose [Kevan] Miller, [Zdeno Chara], so are you going to disrupt your whole team to [add an enforcer]? I mean that’s [Don Sweeney]’s call.”

In other words, the Bruins have bigger fish to fry right now. They currently rank 28th in scoring, and are mired in a 10-game stretch that’s seen them score just 16 goals. Their all-situation shooting percentage also stands out in an ugly light as the third-worst in all of hockey (8.18 percent), and they’ve generated the fifth-fewest all-situation scoring chances this year.

At the same time, though, Cassidy is not blind to the fact that teams have tried to pick on them.

“I think there’s been some game that we could certainly have used [an enforcer], teams I thought have taken a little bit of liberties with those guys out,” the third-year Boston head coach admitted. “But I think we always answer the bell. Might not be with our biggest guys now, because they’re out for obvious reasons. But I don’t think we need an enforcer.

Cassidy also believes that this narrative could change if the Bruins get back to doing what they well, and that’s being the initiators of contact and pressure, which he believes forces teams into bad spots, and typically gives the B’s a lead.

“We just need to have a team toughness mentality,” said Cassidy.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.