Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has been placed in the NHL’s “Coaching Assistance Program” according to a report from ESPN’s Brian Murphy, citing sources. Cassidy, 44, spent eight seasons as an assistant with the Montreal Canadiens, who advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 2011 before losing to the Boston Bruins.
Selected by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 1996 NHL Draft, Cassidy has been the team’s head coach since 2016 and has a 97-75-10 record. He is still coaching in the playoffs with a 3-2 lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bruins play Game 6 on Thursday in Boston.
Cassidy is the second NHL coach to be placed in the program, joining recently fired Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Quenneville, 52, reportedly is already helping Boston Bruins associate coach Bruce Cassidy with Team Canada in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Quenneville coached Team Canada in 2002, 2005, 2014 and 2016.
Cassidy also is the first NHL coach to be placed in the program in a game-winnable series.
“He’s already had his first meeting with his league,” Cassidy told ESPN’s Jeremy Roenick of Quenneville. “We’re both going into our meetings on Monday. We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on.”
Former Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff spent one season with the Sabres and was placed in the program after the Sabres’ season ended in 2013.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league always provides full support to head coaches in the playoffs, making sure they are evaluated prior to the games, as well as after they are over and leading into the playoffs.
“We have a pretty expansive coverage plan and we support those guys throughout the playoffs to see if there’s any issues that need to be addressed,” Daly said. “There’s been no issues that we’ve seen at this point. But we are always monitoring how the coaches are doing.