Bruins president noncommittal on Cassidy's future: 'We'll see where it goes'
Boston Bruins president Cam Neely respects head coach Bruce Cassidy but didn't give a definite answer when asked if he wanted the veteran back behind the bench in Beantown next season.
"I think we have to look at making some changes as far as how we play and the way we do some of the things," Neely told reporters Thursday. "I think Bruce is a fantastic coach. I mean, he's brought a lot of success to this organization. I like him as a coach. We'll see where it goes."
Neely said he intends to extend the contract of general manager Don Sweeney, who'll make the decision on Cassidy's job. Cassidy has one year remaining on his deal, according to CapFriendly. He has a 245-108-46 regular-season record and a 36-37 playoff mark since taking over in 2017.
The Carolina Hurricanes eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of the opening round last Saturday. It's the third straight season Boston failed to make it past the second round since falling to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
Neely identified the team's power play as a particular sore spot this season.
"I think there's times when players need to be more reactive out there instead of thinking about, 'This is how we have to play,'" he said. "Sometimes on the power play, I found it frustrating where we were continuing to try to gain the zone the same way with the same results that weren't as good as they could have been."
Boston doesn't have a first-round pick in 2022 or a particularly deep prospect pool. The Bruins are also trying to navigate an aging core and uncertainty surrounding captain Patrice Bergeron's next steps.
"As your core players and your better players are starting to age out, you do have to look at that," Neely said when asked about a potential rebuild. "There's no question."
He continued, "I don’t think anybody really wants to watch losing hockey. That’s not the plan. … I think we've done a pretty good job the last 10, 11 years of trying to stay in that window to win.
"But eventually it does catch up to you. We do have some good young players in this lineup that, hopefully, we can build around in the next couple years so we don't have to do a complete rebuild."