If you want to know something about Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins, all you have to do is ask.
In a sports world where lineup decisions and injury news are treated as state secrets, the Boston head coach remains a breath of fresh air.
It’s admittedly not very difficult to stand out as a forthcoming sports coach in Boston where Bill Belichick is celebrated for treating even the slightest roster news like classified information in his public press briefings. But if you want to learn something about hockey, you just need to open your ears when Cassidy is talking.
The Bruins coach was especially loquacious following his team’s season-opening 2-1 win Thursday night in Dallas. Cassidy was asked about his decision to flank Coyle with Danton Heinen and Brett Ritchie on the Bruins’ third line, a decision that paid off in spades with the trio potting both B’s tallies.
“We wanted to keep some speed on (Coyle’s) left side,” Cassidy said, referring to the swift-skating Heinen. “He likes to hold the puck in the middle, so Ritchie was more of a big guy to go to the net.”
The results spoke for themselves, as not only did the line score both goals — one coming on the power play — but the three skaters combined for 10 shots, with a handful coming as Ritchie plopped his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame in front of 6-foot-7 Stars goalie Ben Bishop.
Cassidy’s shrewd decision making was necessary in part because David Krejci wasn’t able to play. Ultimately, Par Lindholm centered the second line, while Cassidy reflected on last season to fill out the fourth line.
“And then the domino effect of that (third line), without taking up too much of your time, is Backes has played with Kuraly and Wagner,” he explained.
“Wagner has played the left wing. I like how they played last year at times and that left Lindholm with Kuhlman and DeBrusk. I find both of those wingers and Lindy are good responsible players.”
Essentially, Cassidy knew this lineup construction would make his life easier, especially on the road when Dallas would get last change as the home team.
“On the road, then you’re comfortable with every matchup,” he said of his lineup. “We didn’t have to chase anything, we didn’t have to yank guys off unless we didn’t feel they had it. We’re not concerned about the makeup of which line would play against which line.”
Well, there you have it. Simple as that.
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images