Bruce Cassidy did not see the writing on the wall when it came to his job status with the Bruins.
Perhaps that’s because Cassidy, who was fired by the Bruins on Monday with a year remaining on an extension signed in Sept. 2019, was told his job was “status quo” just weeks prior.
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“At the end of their meeting, [Bruins management] said I would be coaching on the final year of my deal. That’s how it’d be proceeding moving forward. That was it,” Cassidy revealed Thursday. “Sometimes there’s talks after every year, right away there’s coaches let go, there’s extensions, [and] there’s status quo. That was the message— it’d be status quo.”
The Bruins even let Cassidy make the decision to fire longtime assistant coach Kevin Dean.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to Cassidy.
“We had a meeting at the end of the year with the entire staff and a little bit of review,” Cassidy said. “There’s exit meetings that get talked about. You can’t do it all in in a few hours [and] go over the whole year. But, you know, it was [a] typical ‘let’s rehash a little bit of what happened in the playoffs, etc., what we did well, what we need to improve on, and let’s talk about the roster a little bit’, and we did that as a group. I met with Donnie after to discuss a little bit of ‘Okay, where do I stand? What about the staff?’ We discussed those things. So I was under the assumption and preparing for [next season].”
But on Monday, Sweeney asked Cassidy if he could come over to Cassidy’s house. And it was there that he delivered the news that Cassidy would not be returning to the Bruins for the 2022-23 season.
“At the end of the day, you’re always on the clock as a coach, [but] it did catch me a bit by surprise when he came over,” Cassidy admitted. “He explained his process. I respect what he has to do as a general manager. He’s in charge of the head coach. So that’s how it ended.
“Don was very respectful in how he delivered the message. I don’t always agree with it. Obviously, I want to be the coach of the Boston Bruins. But again, here we are.”
Cassidy will not be unemployed for long, however, as he’s been in touch with multiple teams since Sweeney delivered the news Monday, and made it clear that he wants to get back on the horse as soon as possible.
“Absolutely,” Cassidy said when asked if he wants to coach next season. “This is what I do. Obviously, I have a family [and] you have to make sure it’s the right opportunity for myself and my family. And that [the team] is the right fit and I’m the right fit for them.”
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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.