On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced that Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Boston’s Directory of Player Development Jay Pandolfo would be joining the Boston club as assistant coaches for the 2016-17 season. They join Joe Sacco and Bob Essensa under the oversight of Head Coach Claude Julien. Cassidy and Pandolfo fill the slots vacated by the departure of Doug Houda and that of Doug Jarvis who, it was announced, will not be returning to Boston.
There is familiarity for many of the current Bruins team of Cassidy, as they have spent some time in Providence with him behind the bench there. In Providence, Cassidy served for five years as the head coach for the Bruins AHL affiliate and before that as assistant coach for the Providence team.
Anyone who has interviewed Cassidy is immediately impressed with his hockey IQ. His hockey smarts were mentioned by defenseman Kevan Miller during his teleconference about his own contract extension.
“Yeah, he’s a very intelligent guy and he has a certain way of coaching that I loved down there [in Providence],” Miller shared. “I’m definitely looking forward to him being in Boston.”
Cassidy’s player development is well known within the Bruins organization. He’s been cognizant of not only what the players he has been given can do, but also in regard to what they may need to do to fit in with the Boston club.
“It always starts with—you have to draft good players,” Cassidy said back in 2014. “You have to have guys to work with, and then you have to find what makes them tick. Some kids come in there, and they are scorers. They’re not necessarily going to do that in Boston, so you have to find another way for them to fit into Boston but still enjoy playing the game and play to their strengths.”
There has been no word as to who will fill his spot in Providence, though the Boston club has definitely added an serious asset to their coaching staff with Cassidy’s promotion.
Pandolfo has played for the Bruins at two different times, with his last year in the NHL played in the Spoked-B before he retired in 2014. Since that time he has worked with the front office first as a player development coach and this past season was named Director of Player Development. He could often be seen in Providence—many times standing behind the bench alongside Cassidy.
During his 15-year NHL career the Burlington, Massachusetts native played for the New Jersey Devils, who drafted him in the second round (32nd overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft before also playing for the New York Islanders and the Bruins, as previously mentioned. In his 899 games he amassed 100 goals and 126 assists for 226 points. Along the way he won two Stanley Cups with the Devils in 2000 and 2003.
The Boston Bruins announced that both men will be available for a teleconference on Wednesday afternoon and it is likely that there will be questions directed at both of them as to the direction they see the team moving in the coming season. Additionally Julien along with General Manager Don Sweeney will also be addressing the media on Wednesday morning.