Bruce Cassidy was named coach of the Boston Bruins after Claude Julien was fired Tuesday. His first game will be against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNW, TVA Sports, NESN, CSN-CA, NHL.TV).
Cassidy, 51, coached the Washington Capitals (2002-03) and was in his first season as an assistant under Julien after spending five seasons as coach of Providence, the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate.
Cassidy led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his only full season as coach in 2002-03, when Washington finished 39-29-8-6 and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in six games. Cassidy was fired by the Capitals on Dec. 10, 2003, 28 games into the season, after an 8-18-1-1 start. He was replaced by Glen Hanlon.
Cassidy ran his first Bruins practice shortly after getting the job, and defenseman Torey Krug, who played for Cassidy at Providence, said he noticed some changes.
"It was different. Claude wasn't running it, but it was definitely a quicker pace and that's something [Cassidy] has always preached," Krug said. "Down in Providence when I played for him, it was everything was quick, on the go. He doesn't like to spend much time explaining drills or being at the board in practice. It's go, go, go. And I think the more you do that in practice, it translates to the game and it becomes a habit. So that's what he preaches."
Cassidy was an assistant under Trent Yawney with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005-06. Chicago finished 26-43-13 and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
He then coached Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League for two seasons (2006-08). The Frontenacs finished 31-30-7 in 2006-07 but lost to Oshawa in the first round of the OHL playoffs. He opened his second season with Kingston in 2007-08 with a 2-9-1 record and was fired after 12 games.
Cassidy coached Providence for five seasons, from 2011-16. He went 207-128-45 and had a winning record and qualified for the AHL playoffs in each of those five seasons. Cassidy has coached several players with NHL experience during his time in Providence, including Boston forwards Brian Ferlin, Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Frank Vatrano, defensemen Krug, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller, and goaltender Malcolm Subban.
"We've been dealing with him this year quite a bit," Krug said. "Being an assistant coach you're more hands-on and you deal with players more on a personal level. He's a guy that loves to think the game. He's so smart, and everything he does has a purpose, so I think whether it's practice plans or trying to get the attention of a guy in the locker room, he does it with a purpose, and that's going to be important for us moving forward."
Cassidy, a defenseman, played parts of six NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, who selected him with the 18th pick of the 1983 NHL Draft. He had 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 36 NHL games. He also played in the AHL, Italy and Germany before retiring after the 1996-97 season.