I’ve learned a lot about this Bruins team this year.
Their determination to win games without some of their best players is hard to match, the “next man up” attitude proved they could step up at a moments notice and that the Boston Bruins have been the team to beat this year.
I still haven’t learned what goalie interference is, though.
One of, if not the biggest takeaway from this team this year is that head coach Bruce Cassidy is an absolute genius.
He took over a depleted Claude Julien team just last year, with little to no hope to make the playoffs. You know the story: Boston gets into the playoffs and get an early exit at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.
Cassidy knew he had a lot to prove — to the fan base, to the team, hell, even to himself. And I have to say, he exceeded any expectation I had.
This was essentially supposed to be a rebuilding year for the black and gold. A year to get Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk settled in with their position and line mates. A year to see if Tuukka Rask can have a good season. But mostly, a year to see what Cassidy can do with the Bruins.
And here we are on April 18th, 2018 with Boston up on the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Cassidy has battled through some incredible lows — without having some of his best players in McAvoy, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk (just to name a few) for several games at a time, an unlucky suspension to David Backes and an even unluckier laceration to the right leg and even some goalie controversy in the beginning of the season, Cassidy has handled everything perfectly.
He ended the season with his team locking up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with 112 points, just one point behind the first place Tampa Bay Lightning.
A year after finishing with 95 points, the Bruins finish nearly 10 points better, were in a first place battle until literally the final game of the season and are now an actual contender to win the Stanley Cup.
Man, a lot can change in a year.
Cassidy should win the Jack Adams award, but I know he won’t. But that’s not why I’m writing this.
Cassidy has done amazing things with this team. He lets his players play the way they know and they they’re comfortable with. He knows what works and what doesn’t. But most of all, he knows how to wins hockey games and he has a plethora of talent for years to come.
This team is going to be fun for a long time and as long as Cassidy is steering this ship, we’re going to have a lot of fun seasons like this one we just witnessed.
-Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren)