When the Boston Bruins made the decision to fire head coach Bruce Cassidy on Monday night, the conspiracy theories went from zero to 60 before you could even finish reading the team’s release on the matter.
One of the hotter theories was that the Bruins’ leadership group, led by Patrice Bergeron, had grown tired of playing for Cassidy and demanded his firing. It’d be one hell of a demand, but one that wouldn’t leave Bruins general manager Don Sweeney without much of a choice, especially if this was the pitch to get Bergeron (and maybe even David Krejci) back for another run with the center-starved Bruins.
But the 36-year-old Bergeron wasted absolutely no time putting that one to bed.
“It’s completely unfounded, so I won’t put any energy into it,” Bergeron told a Quebec newspaper (translation required). “It’s a waste of time and it’s really stupid speculation.
“I always played the same way, regardless of the coach. I always had the same desire to want to help the team and give what the coach expects of me, even since minor hockey. It’s a pride to play my role the way my coaches want me to play it.”
Bergeron’s comments also back up what Sweeney said at Tuesday’s press conference, noting that this was not a decision made by the ‘players driving the bus’ for him.
“We have gone through exit meetings; I have done it at every level, you know they’re not driving the bus in terms of making my decisions,” Sweeney offered. “I honestly believe that they impact our hockey club more than any of us. They’re invested and I think they want to know how invested the organization is. I think taking anything away from you know what they’re trying to accomplish as a group, you know I honestly believe it doesn’t matter what they’re necessarily saying individually.
“It’s collectively as a group and to how much they think they can accomplish, and they agreed with me because I had used a statement that we left everything on the table, and they felt the same way. Young or old, I think there is a message delivery that I think a new voice will resonate with them.”
Bergeron, who is slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career this summer, will continue to take time to decide what’s next for him after 18 years and over 1,200 NHL games.
“My whole career I’ve had contract extensions or I’ve had long-term contracts [and] I would head into the summers with that in the back of my mind– [that] I know what I’m doing next year and all that,” Bergeron offered last Sunday when asked about what’s going into this decision. “Now I’m 36 and I don’t have a contract. I can actually take a step back for the first time in my career, the first time in my life [where] I can just reflect on what I do want looking forward for the future, talk with my family, with my wife. And it’s just more the fact that I have that opportunity to do that and just take a step back and take some time for myself and really know what I want.”
Taking a look at the Bruins' options to replace Bruce Cassidy
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA 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.