Bruins extend contract of coach Bruce Cassidy
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins signed coach Bruce Cassidy to a multiyear contract extension Wednesday, a reward for leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in just his second full season on the bench.
“I think it’s a good marriage,” Cassidy said at the team’s training facility the day before training camp begins. “I think it’s worked well for both sides. So, for me, it’s where I wanted to be.”
Cassidy took over when Claude Julien was fired during the 2016-17 season and led Boston to an 18-9 record the rest of the way. He was kept on and given a three-year deal that had one year remaining.
Terms of the extension were not disclosed. But general manager Don Sweeney said it was important to the team to have the new deal worked out before the start of camp.
“Peace of mind not only for Butch, but for ourselves and probably the players a little bit too,” he said. “He’s earned the right to lead this club.”
In all, Cassidy is 117-74 as the Bruins coach, leading them to back-to-back 100-point seasons. Boston reached Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in June, losing to the St. Louis Blues 4-1.
Team president Cam Neely said Cassidy did a good job during the season integrating new players into the lineup because of injuries. The Hockey Hall of Famer said Cassidy’s ability to communicate with the players was a key to his success.
“He’s got an open door policy; I think he communicates well — not only with the veteran leadership group but also the other younger players,” Neely said. “I think in today’s game, you can’t just stick someone in a hole and tell them what to do and think they’re going do it. I think it takes a lot more communication.”
Cassidy, 54, was a defenseman who played 36 games over six seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks. He had a 47-53-9 record in his first head coaching stint, with the Washington Capitals from 2002-04, before he was fired 25 games into his second season.
“As for getting a second chance, you never know. I always hoped I’d get one,” he said. “I think every coach will tell you that ... they’d like to learn from their mistakes and get another kick at the can. I did, thankful for it and it’s worked out well so far.”