The National Hockey League’s coaching carousel continues to be an ever-revolving door.
Just eight days after being fired by the Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy found a new home as head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Much like that of New York’s handling of Barry Trotz – another free agent coach – the Golden Knights relieved head coach Peter DeBoer after one difficult season to which injury, COVID and travel wreaked havoc on his team’s performance.
Without a coach, GM Kelly McCrimmon quickly made some calls and scheduled an interview with Cassidy once news of his firing in Boston broke. One week later, he was signing papers in Vegas as the team’s third head coach in its now six-year history.
“The Golden Knights are very pleased to have Bruce come in to coach our team,” McCrimmon said. “His success in Boston over six years is extremely impressive. His teams have had a clear identity, having been among the very best in the NHL in terms of goals for, goals against, goal differential and special teams. This is the right coach for our team at this time.”
The 57-year-old went 245-108-46 with the Bruins and got his club to the playoffs all six seasons. Cassidy also made it to the Stanley Cup in 2019.
“I am excited to join an organization that shares my commitment to winning and can’t wait to get to work with the talent that has been assembled in Vegas,” he said. “It’s been impressive to watch the city embrace the Golden Knights from afar, and my family and I look forward to becoming a part of that.”
Then just one day later, news got out that John Tortorella had agreed in principle to join the Philadelphia Flyers as the team’s new head coach. That report has not yet been confirmed, but it does narrow the list of potential suitors for Trotz, who will likely now get to choose from Winnipeg, Detroit or Dallas – amongst other teams currently sporting ‘interim’ coaches (Edmonton, Florida, Chicago).
With the odd new face entering the ranks every few years, the standard has come to be a pool of former NHL coaches vying for open gigs, and typically being given the reins based on past NHL experience, rather than their younger, or fresher faced peers.
In most cases, it’s easy to ask why a certain team wouldn’t take a chance on an American or Canadian Hockey League coach rather than kick the barrel on yet another washed up NHL coach who has bounced from team to team. However, with Cassidy and Tortorella, those notions certainly wouldn’t stand a chance against such proven winners.
Much like that of Trotz, Cassidy has been above .500 for his recent career on the bench. Tortorella, too, has been a top-shelf style coach. But when the Trotz domino falls, there will be a massive splash. It is believed that his runners up will begin to announce their ‘backup plan’ coaches as the offseason continues.