It was early February, and the Boston Bruins needed a spark.
The Bruins entered Feb. 7 of last season with a sub-.500 record that had them in danger of missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive campaign. But that also was the day Bruce Cassidy took over as Boston’s interim head coach after the team parted ways with Claude Julien.
The B’s immediately found their groove under Cassidy, going 18-8-1 over the final 27 games of the season to finish third in the NHL Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division and earn a playoff berth. Part of the reason for their success was a revamped offense that scored at an impressive clip down the stretch. So, how did Cassidy help the B’s find the net more often?
Cassidy and Bruins center Patrice Bergeron joined WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” on Wednesday during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation, and Bergeron revealed what changes his new coach made upon arrival.
“Yeah, I think the biggest thing I noticed was probably the help from the defensemen coming off the rush and having a quick transition,” Bergeron said. “I think Bruce — the first thing that he changed was (not only) the tempo of our practices but also of our games, and that definitely translates into more offense, because (it results in) more skating, more help and transition form your defensemen to your offense, to your forwards.”
Bergeron also admitted the mid-season coaching change helped he and his teammates from a mental standpoint.
“I also think when there’s a change like that, you look at yourself in the mirror individually,” he added, “and you realize that you have to be better when you lose the coaching staff, when you lose the coach. So, I think a lot of guys did that, and that also helped the outcome and the result after that.”
To hear the entire interview with Bergeron and Cassidy, check out the video above.
The 16th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon takes place Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, and you can help strike out cancer by donating here.
Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images
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