A couple of days have passed since the Bruins lost in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The players, coaches, and personnel have returned home to Boston (and likely beyond). Now, we’re getting into injury updates.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy is ready to get back at it to prepare for next season. In a Zoom call with the media, he said that he knows there are things that he needs to work on to be able to match up better with teams like Tampa.
“(Tampa’s) a bigger team, harder D, do you get through, do you make the changes early maybe with the depth you have or do you wait to see where it goes and then make the changes or is too late? A lot of decisions a coach has to make,” Cassidy said. “Clearly, you know ,we lost in five so we’re all going to get evaluated in that regard. So I needed to do better with our lineup, attack a different way against that team. We certainly didn’t want to change our game a lot, because we are a good team, but we didn’t do enough to win, to finish plays, to score. And at the end, defensively, the last two goals, Game 5 is a good example, scored two deflection goals. The heart and soul of our team is our team defense, net front coverage, they exposed us on that, so not only is it the scoring part, it’s a part of our bread and butter game that broke down as well.
“So is that them just being better or do we have to look at a different player, change systems, and trust me I thought about that the last few days. I think we do have to be quicker in the d-zone coverage to eliminate some of these teams that use their points a lot. It’s something we discussed, but it’s a quick adjustment, so we have to build it into a full 82-game schedule next year.”
One thing’s for sure: whatever changes he made for Game 3 should never, ever be done again. No more 7D.
Another decision that the team, including Cassidy, needs to make is whether or not they should make an emphasis on younger, quicker talent or to retain a heavier veteran presence. With just $15 million in cap space, they are not likely going to make a splash in free agency. It also remains to be seen if Don Sweeney will try to offer Torey Krug another deal before he hits UFA status in October. That will further deplenish the cap space that’s needed to resign RFAs Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk. Luckily, Cassidy only has to make decisions on those under contract as opposed to whom to sign. His decisions will be likely on players like Jack Studnicka making the big club out of camp.
Cassidy addressed the injuries that seemed to plague the team in the second round. Most notable and least shocking is that David Pastrnak was dealing with a lower body injury that impacted his speed down the ice. Cassidy also commented that Pasta fellow Czech quaratine-breaker, Ondrej Kase, lacked proper conditioning due to missing Phase 3 of the reopening plan. Sean Kuraly and Nick Ritchie both had lower body inuries. And Butch declined to comment further on whatever injury Chris Wagner had. My inner 12-year-old boy wondered if it was a penile injury or testicular torsion since it seemed to be a taboo topic. We’ll never know, I guess.
Anyway, the Bruins have a little extra time to get themselves together before training camp, which looks to be in mid-November. We’ll see what the team starts to look like once this season is finally, mecifully over in October.