LAS VEGAS — Bruce Cassidy wasn’t out of a job for long after being hired to coach the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, little more than a week after being fired by the Boston Bruins.
Cassidy becomes the Golden Knights’ third coach and replaces Peter DeBoer, who was fired after Vegas missed the playoffs for the first time in its five-year history.
“I am excited to join an organization that shares my commitment to winning and can’t wait to get to work with the talent that has been assembled in Vegas,” Cassidy said in a statement. “It’s been impressive to watch the city embrace the Golden Knights from afar, and my family and I look forward to becoming a part of that.”
Cassidy, 57, had a 245-108-46 record and led the Bruins to six straight playoff appearances after replacing Claude Julien in the final months of the 2016-17 campaign. He was fired on June 6, a month after the Bruins lost a seven-game first-round series to Carolina.
Vegas becomes Cassidy’s third stop as a head coach after a two-year stint with Washington (2002-04), where the Ottawa native worked under Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee, who was the general manager at the time. Cassidy coached the Capitals to a playoff appearance in his first season after compiling a record of 39-29-8 during the 2002-03 regular season.
Cassidy boasts an overall record of 292-155-53, accompanied by 38 postseason victories. His most successful campaign was in 2018-19, when the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to St. Louis in seven games. Cassidy led Boston to the best record in the NHL (44-14-12) the following season, when he won the Jack Adams Award as the top coach in 2019-20.
Cassidy goes from coaching a veteran-laden team in transition in Boston to coaching one of the most talented rosters in the league.
“The Golden Knights are very pleased to have Bruce come in to coach our team,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said in a statement. “His success in Boston over six years is extremely impressive. His teams have had a clear identity, having been among the very best in the NHL in terms of goals for, goals against, goal differential and special teams. This is the right coach for our team at this time.”
DeBoer was 98-50-12 in three seasons with the Golden Knights and led them to back-to-back semifinal appearances his first two seasons, but was let go May 16 after they missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history this season.
Cassidy inherits a team that was pegged as one of the best in the Western Conference prior to last season, but underachieved and collapsed down the stretch in part due to a series of injuries. Per NHLInjuryViz.com, the Golden Knights finished with the second-highest man-games lost with 505.
Nevertheless, in control of its destiny with five games left in the season, Vegas lost three straight shootouts down the stretch to fall out of contention. They lost five of their last seven and went 0-2-3 against the last five non-playoff teams they faced.