Cassidy has his hands full as Bruins fire Julien

On Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins dropped a 6-5 decision in a back and forth contest that saw the Bruins erase deficits of 4-1 and 5-4. Little did anyone know that this was Claude Julien’s final game as head coach of the B’s Gone are the 760 games of experience behind the Boston bench, including 419 victories(a franchise record). Gone are the two Stanley Cup appearances and one Stanley Cup title. Despite all of the success, Julien was unable to guide the Bruins to the playoffs the past two seasons and was likely headed for a third. I’m not going to get into whether this move was the right one or not, this post is about what the B’s will look like under assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy has 107 games of NHL experience, coaching the Washington Capitals to the postseason in 2002-03 and then getting fired the following season after just 25 games. Cassidy also had been the head coach in Providence up until this season since 2011 with a winning percentage of .544. Cassidy promises to run more up tempo practices and bring some small changes to the Bruins philosophy such as defenseman getting more involved offensively. The practice lines today had David Backes up on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, with David Pastrnak dropping down to the second line with David Krejci and Matt Belesky. Ryan Spooner centered the third line with Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes on his left and right respectively. The fourth line remained unchanged with Dominic Moore centering Tim Schaller on his left and Riley Nash on his right. These lines tell me the Bruins are trying to get more offense from the second and third lines by putting Krejci and Pastrnak together and Vatrano and Spooner together. Putting Spooner at his natural position may improve his play-making ability and create more offense. Hopefully by putting Pastrnak with Krejci, it makes helps Krejci get more involved offensively which can only be a positive. Defensively the pairing should stay the same, but with some players struggling, namely Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller, the B’s may try to switch it up by bringing back in Joe Morrow or John-Michael Liles to get some fresh legs into the lineup. Both Morrow and Liles are more offensively gifted than McQuaid and Miller, and considering Cassidy’s comments about trying to get defenseman more involved offensively, it would not be surprising to see the two of them in the lineup more often. As far as goaltending, Anton Khudobin was recalled today and he’s one guy that needs to step up because Tuukka Rask is playing too much and is starting to look tired. Things probably won’t change overnight with Cassidy but it’s good to see he’s already implementing his style into this team to get a fire lit under their butts.

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