Over the past few years, the Boston Bruins have been perennial contenders in the Eastern Conference.
While that is partly due to their talented core, head coach Bruce Cassidy has also played a significant role. On Wednesday, Cassidy’s efforts were recognized as he was named a Jack Adams Award finalist for the second time in the last three years. The award is given to the coach who has contributed most to their team’s success.
Despite a shortened regular season, Cassidy’s Bruins finished with a 44-14-12 record. They not only lead the Eastern Conference but were the only team in the NHL to reach the 100 point mark. It was also the third time in the last four seasons that the Bruins have recorded at least 100 points.
Although the Bruins have been successful over the last decade, Cassidy has brought consistent excellence to one of hockey’s original six teams. Since taking over midway through the 2016-2017 season, the Bruins have gone 161-66-34 under Cassidy. In the postseason, they have a 22-20 record and fell one game short of winning the Stanley Cup last season.
OK, we'll try this again…
"A lot of credit goes to the players who get it done on the ice. I believe if we don't have the strongest leadership group in the league it's easily in the top two or three."
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 16, 2020
While Cassidy’s record speaks for itself, the Ottawa native has come far after a disastrous stint as the Capitals head coach 2002-2004. During his time in Washington, Cassidy was criticized by many of his players due to his coaching style. After an 8-18-1 start in 2003-2004, he was let go and forced to start over.
During Cassidy’s second chance, he has earned the trust of his players and improved his coaching skills. He has also shown an ability to get the most of his players regardless of who is in the lineup. Before Cassidy took over, the Bruins were at a crossroads. Although Claude Julien has the most wins in franchise history from 2014 to 2016, the Bruins missed the post-season after two late-season collapses.
Over the past three seasons, the Bruins’ lowest point has been 100. Each season they have progressed deeper in the playoffs and have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup. It would be the Bruins seventh championship in franchise history and first since 2011.
Although the voting is weeks away, Cassidy would join impressive company if he is the winner. He would be the first Bruins coach in eleven years and the fourth in Franchise history to win the award. He would join a list that includes Claude Julien (2011), Don Cherry (1976), and Pat Burns (1998).
At the moment, however, Cassidy’s focus is on the postseason, set to begin in two weeks. The Bruins coach has already proven that he is one of the leagues best and will be looking to bring a championship to Boston.