Patrice Bergeron has spent the last eleven seasons in the Boston Bruins organization. The veteran forward and alternate captain got to share his thoughts on the coaching change and how the B’s have responded under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Boston Bruins forward and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron shared his thoughts on the team’s coaching change with Comcast New England. He offered up his opinion on how the B’s are feeling under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, and the changes during the transition.
Patrice Bergeron was one of the Bruins that never worked with Bruce Cassidy while he was in Providence. Bergeron got his first taste of Cassidy as one of Claude Julien‘s assistants. When Julien was let go on February 7, there were some concerns that it could have been a rocky change of the guard. So far, it has been rather seemless. The B’s have gone 6-1 under Cassidy and are back in an Atlantic Division playoff spot.
“It was a pretty good transition,” shared Bergeron with Toucher and Rich. “Bruce has been there all year this year. He was in the organization for nine years. The system, there’s lots of similarities to it, so the change has been pretty smooth so far.
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“Like I said, the biggest change is he really wants us to play with more tempo, more speed and go up the ice in a hurry. The practices are maybe a little different in that way. It’s always lots of energy and drills where you’re always moving your legs, which is a good thing. You kind of duplicate that in games.”
The biggest thing Cassidy has done so far was to change-up the forward lines. Those tweaks have given all four lines to capacity to be a threat offensively. That’s something we haven’t seen from the Bruins since 2011.
Cassidy has quickly found a way to get the entire team to go all-in with him. In the last seven games, the Bruins are averaging over four goals a game. During those seven games, the B’s have been the trailing team for just 29:24.
The third forward line was the B’s most invisible line under Claude Julien. Now, the unusual pairing of Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner, and Jimmy Hayes have reaped impressive dividends. In seven games, the ‘VHS line’ have put up 15 points (six goals) and a +11 rating.
That’s outstanding. Ryan Spooner has been in and out of the doghouse all season. Frank Vatrano came in later in the season after an injury. Jimmy Hayes (no doubt grateful for getting out of the ninth level) has been playing his best hockey in a Bruins uniform. Cassidy’s ‘new voice’ in the locker room has made a noticeable difference.
“I think it was just one of those things where we started playing better hockey,” said Bergeron. “We had a new voice, I guess, and it was definitely a wake up call seeing Claude go. It seemed like everyone kind of looked at themselves in the mirror and had to be better.”
While the B’s aren’t out of the woods just yet, they’ve been playing some of their best hockey of the season. A month ago, the Bruins chances of making the postseason were slightly over one in four. They’re now three-in-four. The Bruins have rallied around their new head coach, and it look as if the Black and Gold are finally playoff bound again.