Bruce Cassidy was surprised by Bruins firing, wants to coach next year

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talks to his team during a practice. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

The Boston Bruins shocked the hockey world by firing head coach Bruce Cassidy earlier this week despite making the playoffs in all six seasons under his watch.

In his first comments since the dismissal, Cassidy says he was just as surprised by the decision as everyone else.

"I was under the assumption and preparing (to be back next season)," Cassidy said in a Zoom call with Boston media Thursday, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. "But at the end of the day, you are always on the clock as a coach. So it did catch me a bit by surprise."

The Bruins promoted Sweeney to the head coaching job — replacing Claude Julien mid-season — in February of 2017. Over six seasons he posted a 245-108-45 record while leading the team to to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 and winning the Jack Adams Award in 2020.

General manager Don Sweeney told reporters this week that the decision to move on from Cassidy came because he felt "a new voice will resonate with (the players)."

“In my next challenge, I’ll make sure that I’m mindful of the messaging,” Cassidy said in response to that criticism. “Because I respect Donny when he talks to me about what you need to do to be better."

While the news was disappointing for Cassidy, the coach says he's already had teams reach out to him about their openings. Currently, the Jets, Flyers, Stars, Red Wings, Blackhawks and Golden Knights are searching for new bench bosses and it wouldn't be surprising if Cassidy eventually lands with one of those clubs.

"I want to get back to work — hopefully, it’s the best fit possible," he said. "That’s not always the case, but that’s what I am hoping for, for both sides, and we’ll see where it gets to."

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