SUNRISE, Fla. — It’s time for Boston Bruins fans to admit they were so wrong this summer.
There was a near-total flare-up of Bruins management a few months ago when the decision was made to make a stunning head coaching change, dropping successful head coach Bruce Cassidy without a successor chosen and ready to go.
The media was well attuned in its frothy criticism of the Bruins as well, with some directing much more at black-and-gold slander than others.
– NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 7, 2022
Full disclosure: Boston hockey now Their shooting doubts were based more on the team’s performance than on the players Cassidy busted.
Coupled with the early absences of Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, the Boston Bruins’ expectations bar was lowered dramatically with the feeling that they were falling behind no matter who was on the drive.
Welp, everyone who spoke of the conventional wisdom was wrong and the Boston Bruins were right when it came to firing Bruce Cassidy and bringing in Jim Montgomery to coach the B-group. It’s indisputably evident in the on-ice performance as the Bruins achieved a 17-2-0 start to the season while setting franchise records, and it’s absolutely evident in the way the system, dynamism, and culture adjustment have allowed so many players to thrive over the past few months.
Some like using weak side defense more to break the ball out of the defensive zone, or having an overall philosophy of quality over quantity with shots at the net from attackers.
“We have, I think, 8 forwards in our top 3 lines that we’ll mix and match throughout the year. Charlie Coyle, you’ve seen me use him on the right wing and as a second-line center sometimes to close out games in particular,” said Montgomery. “I think the actors of us should be comfortable holding the puck in the O-zone game. The movement that comes with it and the confidence that the other four guys’ jobs are opening up to the guy with the puck, and the guy with the puck job is making good decisions with it.
“So, ups and downs happen. The person I’m going to hold accountable is the person who holds the puck because we always have to know where we are and know where our options are away from shooting at the net.”
This has been well documented Nick Foligno He was annoyed by Cassidy’s ruthlessly critical style last season when it came to challenging players and calling them out often, and that played into his performance on the ice. Foligno had some injuries to finish with two goals in 64 appearances, but it seemed to do with the obvious need for a coaching change.
At this point, Foligno is on pace with 17 goals and 47 points this season, and has been an important part as a leading presence and locker room owner who is constantly on the ice. It was Foligno’s powerful up front goal on the rebound in Monday Night’s game versus the Lightning that snapped the B’s from their first funk, and sparked a second period blast that eventually carried them to victory.
It came after Foligno had taken three or four stitches after taking a blow to his chin earlier that morning added to the whole thing.
“It’s unreal. He’s another guy who’s been a leader in this league for a long time and you can see why,” Montgomery said. “He’s really dedicated to the team, and he enjoys his role where he really helps with the power play, helping us 5-on-5 and helping us with our crushing game. The acquisition game. It’s nice to be rewarded. “
But it’s not just Foligno.
Look at the way Conor Clifton played in the first few months. Many have pointed to Brandon Carlow as a player who might really thrive with a coaching change, but it was Clifton who reached his potential with coaching staff who encouraged him to take calculated risks, practice his game and be a player who would impact the game both physically and on the attacking end at times.
Clifton can chill pic.twitter.com/dsFSj3wEm4
– a (twistedleafs) November 6, 2022
Clifton has been playing well this season after experiencing emotional low points last season. Anyone should know that a coaching change has worked wonders for their game.
And Jake DeBrusk has been consistently strong this season as well with the Boston Bruins after being the most visible player to suffer Cassidy’s issues after requesting a trade midway through last season. DeBrusk is actually on pace for the first 30-goal season of his career and has played very much with the kind of speed, second effort, and all-around game that’s been missing in the last few years.
The Boston Bruins are interested in the modifications made to the system they play and how they fared in being the only NHL team to still average more than four goals per season. What they don’t say is how much better it is doing than they did last season.
“I think the cool thing about (head coach Jim Montgomery’s) system is that it’s so quick but predictable, and I think we really enjoy playing in it,” Foligno said last week when trying to explain why the Bruins’ offense really takes hold. score this season. “I think it’s designed for a lot of the guys in the room, and I think we feel like when we’re playing, we know where the guys are supposed to be.
“You can kind of have that sixth sense. It’s dangerous because we’re playing really fast as well. And so, when those guys are in the right places, it makes it really difficult for other teams, and I think you’re seeing that now.”
There are even some who question whether David Krejci’s return is related to a change in head coach, though the playmaking center denied it even though he’s been a huge difference-maker this season again as the Boston Bruins’ second base.
One obvious area where the Boston Bruins are significantly different this season?
In the past few years, the talk and focus has always seemed to be about line perfection, power play and Boston’s best players, while other support players have struggled to produce secondary offense and scoring versatility.
This season, there have been 19 different scorers for the Boston Bruins before Thanksgiving, and there has been a clear cultural emphasis on the whole team being greater than the sum of its parts. The fourth line B has been given the starting job in each of the first two regular season games this season when it was usually a foregone conclusion that the Boston Bruins had been a perfect starting streak over the past few seasons.
Shotblocking, stay-at-home defenseman Derek Forport was singled out for the first few days of training camp as a standout player, a nod to what little-known Boston players bring to Boston’s table. It all seemed like Montgomery had engineered this for a hockey team who knew they had their heads screwed straight.
“We have great leaders. It’s that simple,” Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s a luxury not to have to go and warn the team to ‘let’s not get caught reading our press clippings.'” Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, Krejci, McAvoy… It goes on and on, Foligno. There is an army of leaders and obviously I’ve said this before: We have the best captain in all of the sports [in Patrice Bergeron]. “
In the past few seasons, the Bruins could go 13 weeks without a useThe tenth forward or 7The tenth Defenders as these reserve players can huddle in the press box watching matches and waiting for injuries to open up a spot.
This season, these types of backup players wouldn’t last more than a week or two without getting into the squad because it was a clear focus of keeping everyone involved in the team concept.
Some of these things may seem minor or insignificant, but they are very important when it comes to building a proper and successful hockey team where everyone is at their best and contributes to the common good. All of these subtleties greatly improved the Boston Bruins, who won 51 games last season and are now regarded as one of the best NHL teams. Boston Bruins fans wondered who could succeed the sacked Claude Julien six years ago when he boxed, and Bruce Cassidy proved to be just the right guy at the right time.
Now Montgomery has done the same thing in a situation where Bruins fans can’t imagine anyone would be a better option than Cassidy. Managing the Boston Bruins doesn’t beat 1.000 as the Mitchell Miller debacle of the past few weeks will see, but the credit is where it deserves.
The Boston Bruins nailed hiring Jim Montgomery as their new head coach this summer, and everyone owes it to them to make a big mistake even if the letter wasn’t received at the home office.