New Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy is confident and excited to do something with the Golden Knights that he and the Boston Bruins couldn’t accomplish during his time in Boston:
“Winning in the postseason. I think when you come close to winning the Cup, it’s always in the back of your mind and you want to finish the job and definitely have that mindset,” Cassidy said in his first meeting with the Las Vegas media Thursday. “I thought I did a good job in Boston — and here I am. I want my name on the Stanley Cup … and I believe this team has the ability to do that.”
After spending the better part of the last six seasons behind the Boston Bruins bench, Bruce Cassidy was fired by the Bruins on June 6 with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney citing the team’s need for a ‘new voice’. Well, their former voice behind their bench and in their dressing room didn’t have to wait long for a new coaching gig. This past Tuesday, the Vegas Golden Knights hired Cassidy as the third head coach in the young but very successful NHL franchise that made the Stanley Cup in their first season of 2017-18.
According to friend of Boston Hockey Now, Shawn Simpson of TSN Radio, the Golden Knights gave Cassidy a five-year contract that pays him $4.5 million per year. Simpson added the note that the state of Nevada does not have an income tax.
Seabass did Bruce Cassidy a huge favor firing him. He was entering the final year of his contract in Boston, and now signs a 5 year 4.5 million per deal in the no tax state of Vegas.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) June 17, 2022
While Cassidy said that he is extremely happy to have (pun-intended), hit the jackpot with his new contract and the hockey situation he’s walking into, he still needed to make sure it made sense for his family. It did, and now he has to help his son Cole switch allegiances to the Vegas sports scene.
“I knew, hockey-wise, it was a no-brainer for me,” Bruce Cassidy said. “It was gonna be, how’s it gonna affect your family? And everyone’s on board. I’m from Canada, she’s from New Jersey, how it would affect the kids? “I’m gonna have to convince Cole that he’s gonna have to get on board with the Black and Silver (Raiders) and not the Pats. That’ll be a challenge because, hey, he’s a New England kid, right? I’ll tell him he can have the Red Sox, but you gotta give up the Pats.”
As they always were under Cassidy’s watch, the Bruins were a top-five defense in terms of goals allowed this past season. They had the league’s third-best power play (23.9%) and penalty kill (82.9%) under Cassidy’s watch as well.
“I think in general I’ve done a good job with certain areas of the game that are important in the National Hockey League,” Cassidy said of his coaching resume. “That’s the kind of style of play that I believe I can bring and I’ve tried to get our teams to play. It looks like this group of players will want to play that way and excel in that style.”
That style is one of the main reasons that Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon hired Bruce Cassidy. The Golden Knights’ 18.4% power-play conversion rate this past season ranked 25th in the league and over former coach Pete DeBoer’s 2 1/2-year tenure, they ranked 21st with its power play (18.6%).
“I know that it’s been a challenge here at different times in the past,” McCrimmon said. “Bruce has done it again and again and again. I guess that’s what to me is impressive. There’s different teams and different coaches that with the right personnel and the right year you have a really good power play or a real good penalty kill. Or, maybe one is better than the other significantly. In Bruce’s case, the penalty kill and the power play consistently have been very, very good for a long period of time.”
While Cassidy is admittedly defense first, he does preach an attack off the rush. In Boston, Cassidy wasn’t always blessed with the offensive weapons that could finish off that attack but he’s excited to have that with his new team.
“What I see in Vegas is a lot of guys that can finish,” Cassidy said. “Guys who have been through playoff series who know what it takes to get there. I’ve seen ‘Petro’ [Alex Pietranglo] win a Stanley Cup. I saw ‘Petro’ a little too closely, to be quite honest with you.”
That 2019 Stanley Cup loss to Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues and getting scapegoated by the Bruins clearly has Bruce Cassidy ready to earn some redemption and prove his former bosses wrong.