Don Sweeney’s reasoning for moving on from Bruce Cassidy as head coach of the Bruins is fairly simple: The Boston general manager believed the coach’s message wasn’t getting through as it had in the past.
As such, Sweeney made the difficult decision Monday to relieve Cassidy of his duties following six incredibly successful seasons behind the Bruins bench.
Sweeney expressed those sentiments in a statement Monday and elaborated during a Tuesday morning press conference to explain the decision-making process.
“I felt that both the message and how it was being delivered and maybe more importantly, maybe how it was being received — young and old (wasn’t getting through),” Sweeney explained. “That’s where I referenced both younger and older players taking ownership of it, as I would and I do with where our roster is at and the changes I have to make. I think the players felt they were very well prepared, but at other times, young and old, they struggled. Sometimes that’s the voice that’s in their head. I think ultimately I had to make a decision that takes us in a different path.”
Cassidy was certainly honest and open about his assessments of his team. He even expressed those opinions publicly after games or practices. Cassidy typically got the most out of his team, as evidenced by getting two out of every three points for his run in Boston.
However, it sounds as if Sweeney and the Bruins front office believe Cassidy squeezed as much juice out of the fruit as possible.
“The messaging, the direction and some of the things that aren’t resonating as loud as they did, that’s part of the exercise,” Sweeney said.
If Cassidy was at times grating, Sweeney doesn’t believe it ever got to a point where the coach lost his veteran-laden locker room.
“You don’t go out and get 107 points, and win 51 games if the players aren’t responding to you. That just doesn’t happen,” Sweeney said. “He’s able to push the buttons that are necessary, but it takes its toll. Over the course of time, it takes its toll. You’ve gotta find a way to deliver that message a little differently or the personnel changes and you cycle it out. That’s a little bit of the way the cycle happens.”