Today, the Bruins closed another successful Rookie Development Camp. They had a final day on the ice and the coaches and staff witnessed some very fine young players during camp that all hope to someday wear the spoked B and black and gold of the Boston Bruins. Most will return to their development leagues to play and grow and start the hard chapters of becoming total professionals in the game and off the ice. There is much more to the performance on the ice than the skills they display. It's time to learn how to be professional about everyday habits, with workouts, both on and off the ice. Specific training to improve areas of weakness. To learn nutrition and the value of eating well to keep the bodies healthy and lean. Many of these young men are returning to school to start or finish academic development, many are going to devote themselves to pure hockey development and still others starting their professional careers playing for higher level clubs to enhance their game against larger and already profession competition. Each one receives an out processing interview. A report card of sorts as to how they have progressed in the last year, the next challenges they need to set their sights on and ultimately, what they must do in the next year to be welcomed back next year or during training camp.
Sometimes lost in all this, is what the Team does to bring these players together, what it means to assess the talent versus the team needs, where they fit in the organization and at what point that talented young man is an asset or let go by the organization. The Bruins seem to deeply commit to picking and promoting their talent pool. One quietly unspoken key person in this process, is Bruce Cassidy. Bruce came to the Bruins in 2008 as an assistant down in Providence and became the head coach in 2012 in Providence. Just like any player whose dream is to play in the NHL, coaches wish to coach in the NHL. Bruce had his chance in 2004 with the Blackhawks and when that didn't work out went back to Juniors and worked his way back to the AHL with the Bruins. As a coach he spends countless hours with younger, mistake prone players drilling them in the skills, watching and editing video to make points and pushing levers and buttons to get the best efforts out of young players. He has done a particular good job and perhaps has single minded purpose "Behind the B" to helping the Bruins achieve the core players that have arrived at the NHL level and played well. The Bruins have a coaching spot as an assistant on the big club. I think and most others do also, that Bruce deserves and should get his chance to get back to the show. However, promoting him might negatively effect the development of some of the budding stars that will put on a Bruins sweater this year and over the next few years. I believe his true value, despite what would be fair, is to stay as the head coach in Providence. The organization needs him there, the players in Providence need him there and truly, he would be better suited there as a coach to carry on later after a Claude Jullien exits from the organization.
There is a coach out there without a job, that would fill the open slot better. He started his professional coaching in Tampa in 2009 as an assistant and helped to enhance Steven Stamkos as a player, shooter and face-off performer. While in Tampa, he helped the Lightning to jump up from 23rd in the Power Play to 9th during his season there. In 2010, he moved and signed on with the New Jersey Devils and as an assistant, helped to improve their power play and assist the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2012. I think he would be a valuable asset to help with our centers and improving our power play and he has a connection to the Bruins organization from his past. He is a close friend of Don Sweeney and Cam Neely and a former Bruin and perennial all-star when he played for Boston. He has just finished two seasons as a head coach in the NHL. His name is Adam Oates! With his background as a player and coach, not to mention being a Hall of Famer, I believe he could bring some unique status behind the bench and help take some of the pressures off trying to find ways to get more scoring out of this team. While he will always be remembered for his assists he was a top face-off man for years and a top penalty killer during his hey day while a Bruin. As a coach in Tampa and New Jersey, his reputation was as a players coach. This team needs a less disciplined hockey voice behind the bench as to me it seems they play the system too hard without flexibility and all the coaches fit the mold of hard cases. Oates is a coach that has found a way within defensively responsible teams to help with improving offensive skills in the past. I hope the Bruins invite him to an interview!
Until Next Time!