Boston Bruins fired the wrong guy in Bruce Cassidy

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Bruins offseason has gotten off to quite a horrible start. Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk are all going to miss the start of the upcoming season due to surgeries that have gotten, and there’s a decent chance that their captain Patrice Bergeron ends up retiring as a result.

Things got even messier yesterday when the team announced that head coach Bruce Cassidy had been relieved of his head coaching duties. Finding a new head coach only adds to the laundry list of items the B’s will have to deal with this offseason.

The Boston Bruins firing Bruce Cassidy makes no sense

Cassidy’s tenure with the Bruins has been divisive. Boston has been a consistent playoff team under his guidance, but he was unable to lead them to championship. Aside from their loss to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, they never really got close.

The problem is that this is not all on Cassidy’s shoulders. The Bruins have been fighting to stay competitive for pretty much his entire tenure, and in 2019 it looked like it was going to pay off. But aside from that, they have been outclassed by their competition (usually the Tampa Bay Lightning), leading to their veteran core pretty much disbanding.

Cassidy often made due with the players he had. The fact that Zdeno Chara was on their top defensive line against the Blues, and they made it all the way to the Finals, was impressive. And gradually, those holdovers, such as Chara, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask, have all disappeared.

The real issue is that Cassidy never really got proper replacements for that outgoing talent. The B’s rarely spent big in free agency, and aside from one annual big move at the trade deadline, they don’t really bring in new talent.

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Even when they have, it typically hasn’t worked out. Deadline acquisitions like Ondrej Kase and Rick Nash were supposed to be the solutions, but they both were useless during their time wearing the spoked B.

The Boston Bruins should have fired Don Sweeney instead

Cassidy’s results on the ice have been middling yes, but by firing him, Boston is pretty much blaming all their issues on him, and that’s unfair. The real culprit for these struggles has been Don Sweeney. Rather than firing Cassidy, it should have been Sweeney who got canned.

Throughout his time as general manager, Sweeney has done nothing of note to help the Bruins. He inherited a team that was already in a good spot with a solid veteran core, but he did nothing to add to it. Like at all.

Sweeney has been a miserable drafter during his time in charge. The only pick that he has made that has really been superb is McAvoy. Brandon Carlo is solid, and Jake DeBrusk has been OK, but other than that who else has he drafted that has played consistent minutes?

Sweeney has also thrown caution to the wind when it comes to making trades, especially at the deadline. The aforementioned deals for guys like Kase and Nash failed miserably, and while there’s hope that Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm will pan out, they remain largely unproven to this point.

Cassidy wasn’t the greatest coach admittedly, but he got dealt some pretty poor hands from Sweeney here, and the fact that he got canned while Sweeney didn’t (or hasn’t yet at least) isn’t really a great sign. There was a ton of talent heading out the door on Cassidy, and virtually none coming in. Ultimately, that falls on Sweeney, not Cassidy.

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The Boston Bruins are only making things harder on themselves by keeping Sweeney on board. He’s proven to be incapable of building up an already solid team, so how the heck is he going to deal with a rebuild that could be sprung upon him this offseason? Firing Cassidy is the wrong move, because the guy who should have been fired still has a job.