HASH(0x292cdc0)

Bruins will bring back Bruce Cassidy as head coach

Bruins will bring back Bruce Cassidy as head coach

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins are bringing Bruce Cassidy back next season, dropping the interim tag from his title as a reward for leading the team back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Cassidy replaced Claude Julien, the winningest coach in the history of the Original Six franchise, on Feb. 8 and led the team to an 18-8-1 record to finish out the season and earn a post-season berth. They were eliminated on Sunday by the Ottawa Senators in six games in the first round.

Julien led the Bruins to the NHL championship in 2011 and back to the Stanley Cup finals in 2013. But they missed the post-season the last two seasons and were out of playoff position on Feb. 8, having lost six of their last nine games, when Julien was fired.

After Cassidy took over, the Bruins led the league in goals per game and tied for second in wins. They won their first four games after the change and added a six-game winning streak to clinch a playoff berth. In all, they went 18-8-1 to close out the season, finishing third in the Atlantic Division.

“It was for sure something that shook up the whole team, all of the players, the whole organization,” defenceman Zdeno Chara said. “We’d had a coach that has been here for 10 years and he’d done a lot of good things, created a lot of personal relationships, and obviously, was here when we won a Stanley Cup.

“But I thought that kind of brought a true realization that we needed to be better and was a big wake-up call for everybody. I think from that day, we really started playing a little bit more together and we were getting results.”

But they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Senators. Afterward, players expressed their hope that Cassidy would return.

“We obviously had some success with Butch and it shows with the way that we played,” defenceman Torey Krug said. “The guys were excited to play for him. I think the guys in this room would echo that same message and hopefully it does happen. It’s out of our hands, but the guys like playing for him.”

Cassidy, 51, had spent five seasons as head coach of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence before joining Julien’s staff as an assistant this season. He coached the Washington Capitals for parts of two seasons from 2002-04, leading them to 39-29-8-6 record and a post-season berth in his first season with the team.

A left-handed defenceman, Cassidy was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983 who recorded four goals and 13 assists in 36 career NHL games. He also played in the OHL, AHL and IHL, as well as in Italy and Germany.

Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kaleden

Kaleden community organizing forum to plan for future wildfires

Snowfall warning between Merritt and Hope

As much as 20 centimteres of the white stuff is expected along a stretch of the Coquhialla

Pen High Lakers make strong showing against KSS Owls

Penticton Lakers fought hard through to final set

Back-to-back wins for the Vees this weekend

Penticton Vees take down Capitals 10-1

Reel Reviews: Justice for a classic

We say, “Murder on the Orient Express is pretty, but maybe too familiar to be perfect.”

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Most Read