Bruins firefighting coach Bruce Cassidy after the first round exit of the play-off

BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Bruins have fired coach Bruce Cassidy, who led them to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, a league best record next year and at least 100 points in each of the four full non-pandemic seasons. the seat.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced the move Monday night, three weeks after the team lost in the first round of the playoff to the Carolina Hurricanes.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Sweeney said in a statement. “His coaching record with the Bruins team is impressive, and we value Bruce both professionally and personally.”

The Bruins have fought in the playoffs in each of Cassidy’s six seasons since he took over as coach of Claude Julien in February 2017. He coached them within one Stanley Cup win in 2019 against the St. Louis Blues.

But the team hasn’t made it out of the second round since then, including losing Game 7 to Carolina this spring. After that, team boss Cam Neely said: “We have to look at making some changes in terms of the way we play and the way we do some things.”

Speaking to the media at the end of the season, Neely said, “I think Bruce is a great coach.” “He has had a lot of success for this organization. I love him as a coach. So, we will see where it goes. But I think we need to make some changes.”

On Monday, Nellie delivered the verdict.

“Bruce was a fantastic coach and helped this team win many matches and achieve success during his time behind the bench,” he said in a statement. “I have complete confidence in Don to conduct thorough research to identify the best candidate that will help our team reach their full potential.”

Winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 2020, Cassidy has become a leading candidate for job openings in Philadelphia, Chicago, Winnipeg, Vegas and Detroit. Others may open due to availability.

After struggling for two seasons with Washington in his first job as a head coach in the NHL, from 2002-04, Cassidy worked his way back to the NHL with the Bruins’ American Hockey League branch in Providence.

Cassidy, 57, took over in Boston from Julian, who led the team to the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship and back to the final two years later. With Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Toka Rusk overturning, Cassidy brought the team to the cusp of another title in 2019 before losing to St.Louis in seven games.

During the pandemic-stall 2019-20 season, the Bruins scored 100 points in 70 games and achieved the President’s Cup as the league’s best record. But after Raske left the post-season bubble to deal with a family emergency, the team lost in the second round.

After another knockout in the second round last year, the Bruins qualified for the post-season this year with a wild card berth and didn’t get out in the first round.

The team has since announced that Marchand, the team’s top scorer, and Charlie McAvoy, the No. 1 defender, will miss the first two months of next season while they recover from surgery. Bergeron, who won the Selke Cup for the fifth time as the best striker in the league, neither signed nor committed to playing for another season; He is also recovering from surgery.

Overall, Cassidy was 245-108-46 in Boston and 292-155-9-7 in his NHL coaching career.

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Associated Press hockey writer Stephen Winno contributed to this report.

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