After a few days of player, coach, and management press availabilities, Boston Bruins president Cam Neely took the podium today to speak with the media and updated the status of some high-level employees. Neely admitted that he and Bruins ownership were disappointed in how the team bowed out of the first round, and that changes may be on the horizon.
On general manager Don Sweeney, who does not yet have a contract for next season, Neely indicated that they would sit down and work out a deal in the coming days. He praised the work that Sweeney did at the deadline to give the Bruins a better chance and expects to reach an extension without issue. Sweeney said earlier this week that he expected a resolution in “short order” suggesting that he too thinks there won’t be an issue with working out a new contract.
With regards to head coach Bruce Cassidy, Neely was a little more uncertain. He told reporters that while he believes Cassidy is an excellent coach, there is a need for change in terms of how the team plays. He suggested that it will ultimately be Sweeney’s decision whether to bring Cassidy back next season, and that the two hadn’t really spoken about it to this point because of Sweeney’s own uncertain future throughout the year.
Cassidy, 56, has one year remaining on his current contract and is owed $3MM next season. He took over as head coach of the Bruins during the 2016-17 season and has led them to plenty of success, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2019, which they ultimately lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games. It’s likely the results since then that have put some doubt into Neely’s mind, especially this year’s game seven performance that he mentioned specifically several times.
There is of course a long list of highly qualified coaching candidates available, including names like Barry Trotz, Pete DeBoer, Paul Maurice, Mike Babcock, Jeff Blashill, Joel Quenneville, Claude Julien, John Tortorella, and many more. While there is no indication that the Bruins will make a change just yet, that deep pool of candidates likely has several executives around the league at least considering their options.