On Tuesday, hours before the announcement of the Kevan Miller signing was released, the Bruins announced that they have added Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo to their coaching staff.
Cassidy and Pandolfo will join Joe Sacco and Bob Essensa as Claude Julien’s assistant coaches. Last year was Cassidy’s fifth season as the Providence Bruins head coach where he recorded 207 wins in 380 games behind the P-Bruins bench. Cassidy does have NHL coaching experience, as he was the head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002-04.
Pandolfo recently completed his second season in the Bruins’ front office and his first as Director of Player Development in 2015-16.
Both Cassidy and Pandolfo are excited to be behind the Bruins’ bench and are ready to help with whatever it is they can.
“Obviously, to be able to learn from a coach with Claude [Julien]’s pedigree, a Stanley Cup champion, I know it’s a big honor for me. It’s been great down in Providence with me for eight years,” Cassidy told the media via conference call Wednesday. “To be that much closer to him is only going to make me a better coach, so for me, it’s a very exciting time.”
“I’m really excited as well. To kind of get into coaching, I had a little bit of an opportunity a couple years ago, talking to Claude about it. Didn’t work out at the time, but kind of got into the player development stuff and now I’ve had a chance to get back into it. Really excited,” Pandolfo, who joined Cassidy on Wednesday for the media conference call, added.
Being around the organization the last several years’ gives Cassidy and Pandolfo an edge, and helps their comfort level heading into the season. Both guys are very familiar with the players currently on the roster.
“To go into situations, which I have in the past, there’s good and bad in that. Obviously, you know, starting with a fresh slate nobody knows you, you don’t know them. But coming into the situation where we want to hit the ground running and get back to where the Boston Bruins want to be, I think it’s an advantage to have worked with these guys in the past,” Cassidy said. “They all know my style – not all of them – but there’s probably half the D corps that will have had some experience, maybe a little bit more than that depends on how it shakes out when October comes.”
Meeting with the media via conference call as well earlier in the day, Julien let the media know that Cassidy—a former defenseman himself—will take the reigns as the man in charge of the Bruins’ d-core.
Knowing Pandolfo and Cassidy from their time in Providence can only be a good thing for guys like Colin Miller and Joe Morrow as they enter 2016-17 as two of the Bruins’ younger defensemen who are looking to crack the everyday lineup in Boston. Cassidy could help that become a reality for the two.
“Well you know the veteran guys obviously have been battle tested; they’ve been winners, and they are hard to play against. Some of the younger guys – [Colin] Miller, [Joe] Morrow are still finding their way,” Cassidy said.
“I think the way the game is going they need to be integrated into the lineup if they can handle it and we’re going to find that out quickly enough. They do have some good puck-moving skills, some good foot speed, so if you can blend that with some of the more experienced defenders and sort through your pairs and good chemistry develops then they’re going to be a solid defense corps.”
After two seasons of missing out on the playoffs, the Bruins hope some new blood behind the bench is the first ingredient to getting the Black and Gold back into playoff hockey. Sure, at the end of the day it comes down to the players on the ice, but it certainly starts with the guys in suits behind the Bruins’ bench.
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