Taking a look at the Bruins’ options to replace Bruce Cassidy

Taking a look at the Bruins’ options to replace Bruce Cassidy

The Boston Bruins made their first big change of a surely busy offseason Monday with the decision to fire Bruce Cassidy after over five years on the job.

The Boston Bruins made their first big change of a surely busy offseason Monday with the decision to fire Bruce Cassidy after over five years on the job.

The decision to move on from Cassidy after the Black and Gold’s first first-round exit since 2017 was certainly something, and replacing the 2020 Jack Adams Award winner will be no easy feat for the B’s one-two front office braintrust of general manager Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely.

“Today I informed Bruce Cassidy that I was making a head coaching change,” Sweeney said in a team-released statement confirming the decision. “After 14 years working with Bruce, this was an extremely difficult decision. I want to thank and acknowledge Bruce for all his work and success with the Bruins organization. His head coaching record for the Bruins is impressive, and we are appreciative of Bruce both professionally and personally.

“After taking some time to fully digest everything, I felt that the direction of our team for both this season and beyond would benefit from a new voice. I want to wish Bruce, Julie, Shannon and Cole much success as a family and with their future opportunities.”

“After taking some time to fully digest everything, I felt that the direction of our team for both this season and beyond would benefit from a new voice. I want to wish Bruce, Julie, Shannon and Cole much success as a family and with their future opportunities.”

“I want to thank Bruce for his time and service to the Boston Bruins organization over the last 14 years,” Neely said. “Bruce has been a fantastic coach and has helped this team win many games and achieve success over his tenure behind the bench. I also want to extend my gratitude to Bruce and his family for everything they’ve done over the years to support the New England community and Bruins organization.

“We wish them continued success in the future.” The Bruins did make one thing clear in their statement: Sweeney, whose contract extension is a mere inevitability at this point, will be the one conducting the search for Cassidy’s replacement. So, just who could be getting a call from Sweeney this summer?

If the Bruins want to step into the wayback machine for their next coach, the 67-year-old Rick Bowness is available after stepping down from his post with the Stars following their first-round exit.

If the Bruins want to step into the wayback machine for their next coach, the 67-year-old Rick Bowness is available after stepping down from his post with the Stars following their first-round exit.

Bowness, who has been coaching in the NHL since 1984, went 89-62-25 during his three-year run with Dallas, and helped guide the team to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final inside the bubble. The Neely-Sweeney braintrust is certainly familiar with Bowness, as he served as Boston’s head coach in 1991-92, back when Neely and Sweeney were both players on the Bruins. Before his move to Dallas, Bowness spent five years in the Atlantic Division as an associate coach with Tampa Bay.

Overall, Bowness has 639 games of NHL head coaching experience. (This a hire that would scream that The Old Boys’ Club is in effect and thriving in Boston, which is one of many reasons why I’d almost have to think that they don’t go this route, but then again, I didn’t see them scapegoating Cassidy so quickly.)

One of the market’s younger options, the 40-year-old Spencer Carbery is coming off a 2021-22 season spent as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In Toronto, Carbery helped run a power play that finished the year as the league’s most potent unit, at 27.3 percent. That was a 15-spot jump from the year before, with Toronto’s man advantage finishing in 16th by way of a 20 percent success rate in 2021, and Carbery was credited for revitalizing what many felt was a stagnant attack.

Prior to his NHL jump, Carbery served as the head coach of the AHL Hershey Bears, and went 104-50-17 during that run. Carbery does have some experience with the Bruins, too, as he served as one of former P-Bruins head coach Jay Leach’s assistants in Leach’s first season as Providence’s bench boss back in 2017-18.