Morning Free Association: First Years, Practice Lines, and a Signing

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Bruce Cassidy has been coaching for a Boston associated team for roughly the past ten years, 9 years in Providence and for a full year now with the big club up in Boston. IN Amalie Benjamin’s latest piece on the success of this season’s team, Cassidy explains why he’s drawn to working with the bear cubs.

“I’m used to younger guys,” said Cassidy, who helped Boston go 18-8-1 in its final 27 games last season after it went 26-23-6 under Julien. “It’s my background. I have a lot of time for them, and some of it is because when I was a younger player I never quite made it. A lot of that had to do with my health and talent, obviously, but I always thought when I was a young guy I was a little bit lost, my personality. I wasn’t a gregarious type. So some of these kids, I find you don’t want them to slip between the cracks.”

He has spent this season doing exactly that, helping the rookies blend nearly seamlessly with the veterans. Those six rookies, plus Donato, were responsible for 172 points. Heinen finished fifth on the Bruins with 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists), DeBrusk was seventh with 43 (16 goals, 27 assists), and McAvoy 10th with 32 (seven goals, 25 assists). McAvoy was second on Boston in average time on ice (22:08) behind partner Zdeno Chara (22:54).

It seems his approach varies from player to player, many of the younger players he coached down in Providence. For instance, he seemed to be harder on Torey Krug, which took a while to work out.

“I think more than anything it’s a mentality thing, realizing that, hey, my coach is on my side and he’s not against me,” Krug said. “That’s a big part of it. … Bruce and I really butted heads and got in a lot of battles, then you realize that he just sees the potential in myself and realizes the plays that I should be making on a nightly basis and if I’m not doing them, he’s going to let me know about it. It took me a while to figure that out.”

“He’s definitely very hard on younger guys, but it’s in the right tone and it’s in the right context,” Krug said. “As long as the player isn’t taking things too personally, then he’ll be able to get better. Now working with a veteran group he’s more understanding that guys have a longer leash in terms of things you can do on the ice and making mistakes, but also he’s very hard on the older guys to maintain that level of standard that we play by.

Noel Acciari, who signed in Providence after winning a national championship with the Providence College Friars, see Cassidy a little differently.

“He’s a newer coach up here and he’s open for anything, suggestions from guys,” Acciari said. “He’s always asking guys, ‘Do you want something different? Let me know and we’ll talk about it.’ He’s easy like that.

“I think that helps a team out because, yeah, he’s going to teach us everything he can along the way, but he also wants to learn too.”

Cassidy knows that there’s a learning curve and that he will and has made some mistakes.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m still learning that, to be honest with you.”

He pointed to Brandon Carlo, the 21-year-old defenseman in his second NHL season who was excellent (16 points; six goals, 10 assists in 82 games) as a rookie under the tutelage of Cassidy and Chara. This season did not go as well, with Carlo (six assists in 76 games) taking a step back at times before fracturing his ankle against the Florida Panthers on March 31 (he is out for the season).

“I’ve moved on to Charlie and DeBrusk and haven’t had much time for Brandon,” Cassidy said. “I feel bad because I think there’s parts of his game that we worked on last year, the offensive part of it, that aren’t quite there again this year and I want to go back to it, but it’s only in bits and pieces and you’re working with everybody.”

Carlo was beinen to turn his game into something else before he was injured. Cassidy and his staff will be able to work on that when he comes back..


Some notes from practice in tweet form:


The Bruins announced the signing of Minnesota-Duluth forward Karson Kuhlman to a two-year deal.


You have until 6:59pm EDT tonight to submit your bracket to our leagues (BobbytoBergy and BearlyonTopic in the NHL Bracket Challenge. I have noticed that there are some people who have joined that may not have saved their brackets yet because they appear to be a blank space. Make sure you check them over and save them to join in the fun!

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the german hammer

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40 Comments on "Morning Free Association: First Years, Practice Lines, and a Signing"

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Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Too yummy not to tell you about – the everything bagel hummus i’m eating right now!!!! The oyster stout is also pretty yummy!!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Three leagues, three brackets!!! One thing in common….. Bruins winning it allllll!!!!!!!!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

I use a very scientific method – blind faith!!!!

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Did my brackets. BRING ON THE PLAYOFFS!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

I’,’ll be all over the Flyers – Pens series. Glad they’re not on the same night!

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Going to have a lot of fun watching that one!

MadScientist72
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MadScientist72

It’s an Intra-Pennsylvania Rivalry!

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

Alright! The playoffs start at 7PM tonight with Wild @ Jets!
That sounds like it will be loads of fun!
Who’s with me?
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Anyone?
Hello?

The other two games sound fun.
Philly @ Pittsburgh
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(a.k.a. Mean Girls 2)

And Kings @ Knights
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Vegas has sort of become my pet Western Conference team

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney

You summed those up pretty well.

I am not a “2nd team” person, but Vegas is firmly in the territory of “if I were a 2nd team person, they could be my 2nd team” – the Blues are also in that category.

There’s another team that I don’t hate but should that is sort of in that category out of respect for the animals that cheer for them…. yep, Philly.

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney
Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Agree with you about Philly. Flyers fans are dicks and they embrace being dicks.

MadScientist72
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MadScientist72

I hate the Flyers (because Randy Jones), but I hate the Pens more (because Ulf Samuelsson and Matt Cooke).

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Obligatory “Fuck both those assholes” comment.

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney

This is a 100% valid opinion as well

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

“I’ve moved on to Charlie and DeBrusk and haven’t had much time for Brandon,” Cassidy said. “I feel bad because I think there’s parts of his game that we worked on last year, the offensive part of it, that aren’t quite there again this year and I want to go back to it, but it’s only in bits and pieces and you’re working with everybody.”

I really like his honesty. Alex Cora did something recently where he admitted where he goofed on something. I like seeing coaches hold themselves accountable. Sets a good example for the players.

phonymahoney
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phonymahoney

Me too. Nothing but respect for Bruce… and Carlo is doing just fine when he’s in one piece.

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Hiya folks,
Cassidy has worked wonders with the cubs. And with the league trending younger maybe that’s why Clode’s system wasn’t working so well. He hasn’t exactly done great things in Montreal (and we thank him for that!).

I’ve got a busy week ahead and some early mornings this weekend, so I think I’m gonna take a break from social media then binge watch the Leafs series when I get a day off.
See you on the other side to discuss the Bs resounding win!