Bruce Cassidy’s training occupation started a quarter mile north of the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida, of all puts.
The Ottawa, Ontario, local had reached the top of his taking part in occupation in 1996 after struggling a knee damage all the way through his ultimate season with the ECHL’s Indianapolis Ice. The Ice’s proprietor, Horn Chen, then requested the shrewd defenseman if he’d be excited by training any other ECHL crew he owned on the time—the Jacksonville Lizard Kings.
Cassidy jumped on the probability, however his tenure went about in addition to you’d be expecting with a crew referred to as the Lizard Kings. “There’s a GM, I think he was 30 or 31, my age at the time, [who] basically said, ‘Here’s the hockey team. I sell tickets. Here’s your team,” Cassidy reminisces.
The Lizard Kings went 15-25-10 in Cassidy’s first season on the helm, however the enjoy supposed the whole thing to the brand new coach. He discovered about each and every function from an organizational point of view and rebuilt the crew, calling different coaches across the ECHL for enter and enforcing what he felt had been the most productive methods.
Cassidy advanced Jacksonville to a 35-29-6 file in his 2nd and ultimate season there.
“It might be the best thing ever to start that way,” Cassidy tells the Weekly. “You’re just diving in, you’re coaching, you’re managing the roster. [You’re also] the GM. You make the trades, you negotiate contracts, you run practice. I thought it was great for me at the time.”
Cassidy has come a long method since his early days within the industry training difficult to understand minor-league franchises (after Jacksonville, he went on to the Trenton Titans and Grand Rapids Griffins). He all the time remained affected person, by no means wavering from his want to keep concerned within the recreation.
Cassidy were given his first run within the NHL in 2002, when then-general supervisor George McPhee—now Vegas’ president of hockey operations—tapped him to coach a star-studded Washington Capitals crew that incorporated Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra and Olaf Kolzig.
“I learned about NHL life,” Cassidy says. “I was a player that was up and down. I was never in the NHL long enough to know what it’s all about, all the demands—media, travel, hotel, the access to people. I learned that that’s important. There’s a certain way to conduct yourself the right way.”
The Caps completed 2nd of their department with 92 issues in Cassidy’s first 12 months however misplaced within the first around of the playoffs, after which started the next season 8-16-1, main to his dismissal. But Cassidy remained undeterred. He believed he had the demeanor to be a a hit long-term NHL coach.
“It’s funny, when I was a player I thought coaches were always grumpy, always going to yell at someone,” Cassidy says. “That just wasn’t my personality, and I didn’t want to be that. I always got along with every one of my coaches, I’d be respectful. I just didn’t know if that’s what I wanted to be.”
Cassidy’s means combines kinds of more than a few coaches he performed below. He says he took probably the most from Daryl Sutter in Indianapolis and Brian Kilrea Jr. with the Ottawa 67s. “And there were a couple other guys I played for where I didn’t like what they did,” Cassidy says, “so I said, ‘OK, I’m not going to do that.’”
Cassidy prides himself on being fair together with his gamers, even if it’s tough. That got here throughout this preseason, as soon as when he referred to as on goaltender Adin Hill to give a boost to after giving up seven targets to San Jose and once more when Cassidy spoke significantly of the fourth line after a win over Arizona.
The Golden Knights had been accepting of that duty whilst additionally they alter to a new device at the ice.
“We got a little bit complacent last year,” Vegas captain Mark Stone says. “You’re going to go through change with every coach. I don’t think it’s changed a ton.”
After Washington, Cassidy changed into an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks after which head coach for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League. In 2008, the Boston Bruins employed him as an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins.
Then-general supervisor Peter Chiarelli knew Cassidy from his days in Grand Rapids. It additionally helped that Cassidy grew up loving the Bruins, and that his spouse, Julia, was once from close by New Jersey.
Cassidy changed into head coach in 2011 and in the end stayed with Providence for 8 seasons. During that point, Bruce and Julie’s two kids—daughter Shannon and son Cole—had been born.
And then, eventually, Cassidy were given his 2nd probability as an NHL head coach in 2017, when he changed Claude Julien in Boston. Cassidy led the Bruins to an 18-8-1 run down the stretch to make the playoffs—the primary of six directly journeys that incorporated a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. He appears to be like again at the ones years fondly.
“In Washington, it was just hockey, and your balance is off a bit,” Cassidy says. “There wasn’t as much of that the second time around in Boston, so you could go home, put hockey behind you, you’ve got a family, [so] go to gymnastics or preschool hockey, doing different things.”
The Bruins got here inside of a hair of saying their first Cup since 2011, shedding in seven video games to a St. Louis Blues crew captained via Cassidy’s new most sensible defenseman in Vegas, Alex Pietrangelo. Yet regardless of constant good fortune below Cassidy, Bruins total supervisor Don Sweeney fired him on June 7 after a first-round playoff go out. Cassidy completed with a 245-108-46 file with the crew.
“I worked 14 years with Don … [and] even though he’s the guy that let me go … I learned a lot.” Cassidy says. “There’s no bitterness there at all. It was just time.”
Cassidy joins a Golden Knights crew that overlooked the playoffs for the primary time closing season after attaining the convention finals the 2 prior years. He and Vegas percentage the similar function: a first Stanley Cup.
“They were disappointed the way their year ended, I was disappointed with the way my year ended,” Cassidy says. “It’s not easy to win, [but] they’ve got guys in the room who understand what it takes. You’re not coming in telling guys something they don’t already know.”
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