Breaking down the Boston Bruins head coach opening

Former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Bruins need more grit, but it will take more than just talk

It’s flattering for any coach to be called to be cosidered for the Bruins head coach job. But there’s a lot to think about before getting to handshakes and a contract signing. Imagine thinking about whether or not to apply for the Bruins head coaching vacancy:

Position: Boston Bruins head coach

Summary: This is your opportunity to lead one of the Original Six franchises, a six-time Stanley Cup champion, the legendary Boston Bruins! Move to historic Boston and be supported by a passionate fan base in a city experiencing an unprecedented run of 12 pro sports championships over the last 21 years! Can you lead the Bruins to the city of Boston’s 13 trophy?

12? What about the Boston Pride (hockey) and the Boston Renegades (football)? Both women’s pro sports teams claimed three championships each and the Renegades are favorites to win a fourth. The ladies don’t get the respect they deserve. Sorry. I’m gonna end my rant now.

More. The Boston Bruins championship window has officially closed. light

The city of Boston loves its’ history, and the Bruins certainly has some great history. Original Six. Willie O’Ree broke the color barrier as a Bruin. Bobby Orr. Ray Bourque. The Big, Bad, Bruins. But that’s the problem. Past accomplishments don’t matter to the present day team, and the present day team doesn’t feel promising.

The team has been declining since they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. Since then it’s been two second round exits and a first round dismissal. They’re heading in the wrong direction. The right coach can help turn things around, but it’s going to require an injection of some attitude.

Slowly, the Bruins have lost their edge. They’re not big and bad anymore. The intimidation is gone. Yes, the sport has changed, but they’ve gone too far towards skill and needs to bring back the snarl.

How that happens is not as simple as new instructions. For some players, being mean and physical isn’t in their DNA. The next coach won’t get these players to change their game by plugging in a VCR, dusting off a cassette and showing highlights from the big, bad years. The Bruins don’t have enough of the physicality and nasty required to succeed. A philosophical change is a start, but it’s going to take more than that.