Bruce Cassidy wants the Boston Bruins to go for it.
Take a risk to make a play.
Throw caution to the wind.
And if that doesn’t sound like Claude Julien, well, that’s probably the point.
“I’d rather see – we’re going to err on the side of hopefully aggression, playing on our toes early on here and then, you know, we’re going to have to dial it back in,” Cassidy told reporters after last night’s 6-3 win over the Sharks, his first game as interim coach.
“The day will come when we pay the price for that aggression and we’ll see from there when we find that happy medium. Tonight it worked out for us. I liked that our D were up and assertive in the neutral zone, killing plays, and trying to make quick-ups. Some nights it’s going to bite you so you have to find that balance, but we do want to play this way. We’ve said that for the last two days. We want to play on our toes and be a little more assertive in our overall game and see where it goes.”
It’s all part of Cassidy’s opportunity to put his “imprint” on the Bruins. That was the word GM Don Sweeney used Tuesday after firing Julien, who’d been on the job since 2007.
For all that Julien accomplished during his Boston tenure, including a Stanley Cup victory in 2011, he did have his share of critics. Mostly, they said he was too conservative, too defensive-minded, too unforgiving of mistakes that led to goals against — especially if the mistakes were made by youngsters.
Granted, it’s hard to argue with the success Julien enjoyed, and he’ll surely have job offers to consider very soon. But Sweeney did concede there were some philosophical differences between management and head coach. Enter Cassidy, with his philosophy of, “Everybody in the room is capable of scoring goals.”
Last night, the biggest goal the Bruins scored may have been by the fourth line.
To set the scene, it was the second period and the Sharks had made it 3-2.
Naturally, TD Garden was getting a bit nervous.
The Bruins made it 5-2 a few minutes later, on a terrific power-play goal by David Pastrnak, and they cruised to victory from there.
OK, so it was only one game. But the two points did put the B’s back into a playoff spot, displacing the slumping Flyers in the process.
The Bruins host Vancouver Saturday and Montreal Sunday. Win those and they can enter their bye week feeling pretty good about themselves, with a tough trip to California looming right after the break.