Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) skates by the Vegas Golden Knights bench as head coach Bruce Cassidy looks on during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Back in Boston on the eve of the sixth-month anniversary of the Bruins firing him from his post with the organization, ex-Bruins coach and current Golden Knights bench boss Bruce Cassidy was welcomed back to Boston with a video tribute and a loud ovation from the TD Garden crowd on Monday night.

    Played on the Garden jumbotron during a stoppage in the first period of play of an eventual 4-3 shootout win for Vegas, the video ended with both benches tapping their sticks in a show of respect for the former Jack Adams winner. And it certainly appeared to stir some emotions in the 57-year-old Cassidy.

  • “Listen, that’s something that I’ll get choked up about, obviously, probably in about three seconds,” Cassidy said after the game. “But, you know, I appreciate that. It’s that simple. I appreciate it. You know, I did what I could here [in Boston] to help the team win. And now it’s on to Vegas, and I’ll do what I can now.”

    Behind the Boston bench for six seasons (and with the organization for 12), Cassidy led the Bruins to a 245-108-46 record during his time with the organization, and helped guide the team to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Cassidy also led the Bruins to a Presidents’ Trophy win in 2019-20 in what was a pandemic-shortened regular season, and the B’s qualified for the postseason in all six of Cassidy’s seasons running the show in Boston.

    It was certainly a tribute video-worthy resume.

    The video tribute to Cassidy also came with a fellow former Bruin, Reilly Smith, handing the Vegas coach a towel should he have needed it given the emotional nature of the situation.

    “I mean, listen, you don’t know how it’s going to be,” Cassidy said of that moment. “As I said, I didn’t know what the reaction was going to be. So it was a really nice gesture by the Bruins organization. I appreciate it. I’ve said it all along, I’ve gone a tremendous amount of respect for them knowing and I’m thankful they did it. Grateful.”

  • In Boston since Sunday, Cassidy did what he could to enjoy his brief return to Boston.

    He went to Ray Bourque’s restaurant and had dinner with Bourque and the coaching staff on Sunday night. Prior to Monday’s game, Cassidy came out to the bench during pregame warmup and said hi to one of his son’s (now former) hockey coaches and his son. He also spent the downtime of pregame answering some texts from those who had reached out prior to the showdown with the Bruins.

    Cassidy was also happy to put this one behind him.

    “Yup, it’s over,” Cassidy offered. “Like there’s been a lot of talk and some of that’s on me [and] some of it’s just the way it’s played out. But as I said, I really enjoyed my time here and it’s time to focus on [Vegas].

    “I’ve been focused on Vegas, but this game was kind of one of those ones where my kids are like, ‘Can we come to the game? No, you got school.’ There’s different things like that. It’s just not an ordinary game.”

  • And though the Bruins and Golden Knights will wrap up their season series next Sunday, there’s always the possibility of these teams meeting up in the Stanley Cup Final. Most years, that would seem like a mere pipe dream and nothing more, but with both teams at the top of their conference, it’s entirely possible.

    “I would like to be here in the spring. Wouldn’t that be nice, eh?” Cassidy said of a possible playoff showdown. “That would be two good hockey teams that are trending that way. A lot is going to happen between now and then, I’m sure. But you know us as coaches, we’re focused on our next opponent Wednesday night.”

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