The Boston Bruins have hit one of their worst slumps under head coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Bruins have lost eight of their last nine games. While the defensive issues are always a concern for anybody in this league, the Bruins lack offensive production.
Meanwhile, in South Florida, former Bruin Noel Acciari has exploded offensively. During the past week, Acciari has scored back-to-back hattricks. He never had a hattrick during his tenure with the Bruins.
After back-to-back ‘tricks,’ Acciari followed with another goal on the road on Saturday. The 28-year-old right-shooting versatile forward is up to 12 goals and three assists for 15 points in 32 games this season. Those are career highs in goals and points for the Rhode Island native already.
During the past offseason, the Bruins decided not to re-sign Acciari, as he chose to ink a three-year deal worth $1.67 million per season with the Florida Panthers. For the money saved, the Bruins practically signed forwards Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie.
Whether it was worth letting Acciari go or not, that’s up to everybody to make their own conclusions. However, the Bruins are not getting the same physical presence, and a scoring touch, from their fourth line without Acciari anymore. It’s worth noting that Acciari scored his incredible back-to-back hattricks playing on the line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck.
Bruce Cassidy pays attention to what Acciari is doing in Florida.
“Did you see their celebration on their bench after the hat trick?” Cassidy asked. “It just tells you what type of kid he is, right? It’s not so much that it’s a guy that normally does all the grunt work scoring. It’s about how happy they are for their teammate,” Cassidy said in an article for The Athletic.
Does he regret seeing Acciari go?
“Listen, we miss Noel. I don’t want to speak for Donny, but I think everyone wanted him back. It was just a matter of fitting everyone in. I don’t know what the ask was. I don’t know anything. But we meet at the end of the year, ‘Yeah, this is a guy we want to have back. Can we fit him in?’ I’m happy for him.”
Cassidy is pleasantly surprised by his goal-scoring explosion for the Panthers.
“I didn’t see him scoring hat tricks in the National Hockey League. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not sure Florida did either. But God bless him. He scored the way he’s supposed to —going to the net. That’s how he scored for us.”