8:00 AM Tuesday February 7th 2017; The Boston Bruins announced the firing of Coach Claude Julien. Bruce Cassidy was taking over behind the Bruins bench effective immediately. Shockwaves went soaring through the Boston Area.
Fast Forward one week.. The Bruins are now 3-0 and including their latest, a 4-0 blanking of the Canadiens at TD Garden. Rask earned his first home win against the Habs of his career and the Bruins beat the Canadiens at home for the first time since January 12th 2012. (That night Tim Thomas was in net.)
Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy speaks to players on the bench as the Boston Bruins take on the Montreal Canadiens at the TD garden in Boston on Sunday, February 12, 2017.
The first line was immediately changed, putting David Backes with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. He has 1 goal and three assists since this change. The move looks to be bringing more physicality to the top line.
The second line is now David Krejci, with fellow Czech Republic country men, David Pasternak and Peter Cehlarik. Krejci has a goal and 4 assists. David Pasternak who always looks like he’s about to bust the game open, has 3 goals and an assist. Peter Cehlarik has 2 points in his first 2 NHL games.
Peter Cehlarik is back in Providence to keep him playing during this “bye” week.
Third line features Frank Vatrano who has 2 goals 2 assists in the last 3 games.
The Bruins have scored 19 goals in 3 games. They are first in the league on the penalty kills at 86.3% and 14th on the power play at 20.1 %.
They now are in 3rd place in the Atlantic division. 6 points behind the Canadiens, tied with Ottawa with 64 in 2nd place and puts them 3 points ahead of Toronto at 61 points.
The Bruins were on a downward spiral before the firing of Julien. Everyone was writing Claude Julien’s obituary (but we’ve heard that every year).
Outrage from the Boston community came soon after the news hit that Julien had been fired. Now, many people are singing a new tune. Experts say a new coach will spark a team, but can the Bruins sustain it?
To this point, the Penguins last year who fired their coach in the mid-season, hired Mike Sullivan and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Can the Bruins do the same?
Or even more recently; the New York Islanders (who now have as many points as Toronto after a humiliating start) fired Jack Capuano and are now thriving under Doug Weight.
The outcome of the Bruins? That hasn’t been written yet. What I do know is that a “bye week” seems to come at a bad time, with the Bruins finally finding a spark.
Confidence is at a season high. Scoring is coming in bunches and defense has improved.
This coming Sunday starts a 4 game west coast trip against the Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Dallas. This will be the defining moment of the season for the Bruins.
Then the trade deadline will be upon us. Will the Bruins be buyers to help for a playoff run?Or will they believe that this team, with the talent occupying the roster, is better than anyone they could bring into the fold? Time will tell.
Bruce Cassidy is the coach of the Bruins, he has them playing a brand of hockey that’s fun to watch. He doesn’t seem afraid to shorten his bench giving his best players the opportunity on the ice in key situations.
So far he’s proving he’s up for this challenge.