Bruce Cassidy eager to coach again as early as 2022-23 NHL season

bruce cassidy
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Bruce Cassidy said Thursday that he’s already been in contact with “a number of teams” days after he was surprisingly fired as head coach of the Boston Bruins.

Speaking on a Zoom to local reporters, Cassidy he wants to get back behind a bench as early as next season.

“Another opportunity hopefully will arise because of the work we’ve done here,” Cassidy said via Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com. “Great memories. Part of the business – learn from it and be better next time.”

As of Thursday, the open NHL head coaching jobs are in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Vegas, and Winnipeg. The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers used interim coaches during the season and no one has been given the full-time job yet with those teams.

In explaining the decision to fire Cassidy, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that he felt a new voice was needed, despite the move being an unpopular one in Boston.

“I felt both the message and how it was being delivered, and more importantly maybe how it was being received, young and old — players felt they were very well prepared, but young and old, at times, they struggled,” Sweeney said. “Sometimes that’s the voice in their head.”

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Cassidy took over as Bruins head coach on Feb. 7, 2017. Over six seasons, they went 245-108-46 under Cassidy (.672 points percentage), making the playoffs all six seasons. The 57-year-old won the 2020 Jack Adams Award. Back in 2018-19, he led the team to within a win of a Stanley Cup, falling to the St. Louis Blues in a Game 7.

Sweeney said that Cassidy did not take firing well, and you can understand why after Cassidy said the GM came to his house this week to deliver the news. Cassidy added that he was told during the team’s exit meetings following their First Round defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes that he would stay on as head coach and everything would be “status quo” for next season.

“I wanted to come back and coach the Bruins. It’s been a privilege and an honor. Fourteen years here in different capacities in the organization. The Bruins basically tattooed to me,” Cassidy said. “Raw deal? I don’t know about that. I felt I did my job.”

Cassidy said that his experience in Boston made him a better coach, and it certainly shows in the amount of interest he’s garnered among the current open NHL jobs. The coaching market this summer is crowded with plenty of names that have had success in the league. But you’ve got to imagine with what he did with the Bruins he won’t be out of work very long.

“At the end of the day did I still want to be here [in Boston]? Absolutely,” said Cassidy. “Do I want to coach in this league? Yes, and as soon as possible. It’s what I do, is to coach, and I love to do it. Obviously I have a family, so I have to make sure it’s the right opportunity for both myself and my family. And that I’m the right fit for them and they’re the right fit for me. But yes, 100 percent.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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