By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins and head coach Bruce Cassidy have a good thing going. That made a multi-year extension for Cassidy, the team's head coach since Feb. 2017, an easy deal to finalize for both sides on the eve of 2019 training camp.
"I think it’s a good marriage," Cassidy said at a Wednesday press conference announcing his extension. "I think it’s worked well for both sides, so for me, it’s where I wanted to be. So it’s easy in that regard. I had a representative do it, so you’d have to ask him if it was easy but no, I’m not part of it. I don’t think we were — I don’t think it was ever acrimonious, it was just, took a little while to sort through some things. Cross some I’s, dot the T’s, and on the line."
Per Pierre LeBrun, the extension will pay Cassidy, who had a year left on his original deal, close to $3 million per season. That's not exactly the worst deal for a head coach who was realistic about his comparables to date, as he referenced himself in the same class as Calgary's Bill Peters, the Devils' John Hynes, and Tampa's Jon Cooper.
"He’s earned the right to lead this club and this doesn’t start from two years ago, it starts from a number of years ago, where I got to know Bruce really well, working with him," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. "And to me, those translate into a lot of the ideals he has as a coach, in an everyday approach."
The in-season replacement for Claude Julien, the franchise's all-time winningest coach, the Bruins have been a juggernaut under Cassidy, with a 117-52-22 record since his first game with the team on Feb. 9, 2017. That record is good for the second-best mark in the NHL over that span (only Tampa Bay's 134-45-13 mark is better), while the Bruins have doubled the length of their postseason run in each playoff run with Cassidy behind the bench.
"During the game, [Cassidy is a] really good bench coach to know who’s playing and who’s not. He continues to evolve, continues to be quick on the trigger and move guys around versus have guys to have patience. He’s got a good pulse of room, to allow veterans to do what they do, but also govern what he needs to," Sweeney continued. "[Cassidy] sets up the ideals of the hockey club each and every night, knows what the expectations are, starts on time and have success and hold them to a standard each day.
[Cassidy] can be very critical at home, we’ve had this discussion in terms of how that’s going to be received by players. But then the next day that turns right into a teaching opportunity and moving forward to the next day. And I think that’s what players can identify with, realizing their opportunity is still going to be there. There are some coaches that have longer term memories and Bruce is almost the opposite, you know, trying to plan with what comes forward."
With Cassidy's extension taken care of, Sweeney now has the final two dominoes to take care of to be officially set for the 2019-20 season: Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, the Black and Gold's two restricted free agent.