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Cassidy says taking Golden Knights job was ‘no-brainer’

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LAS VEGAS (AP) – Bruce Cassidy is the third coach for the Vegas Golden Knights in the franchise’s sixth year, and he said the decision was “a no-brainer” from a hockey standpoint.

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After all, Vegas has been one of the NHL’s most successful teams since entering the league in 2017, making the playoffs four times, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in its first season.

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A bigger challenge for Cassidy was convincing his wife Julie and children Shannon and Cole to move to Las Vegas.

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“I’m from Canada, she’s from New Jersey, how will this affect the kids?” Cassidy said Thursday during his opening press conference. “I will have to convince Cole that he will have to join the Black and Silvers (Raiders) and not the Pats. That would be a problem because, hey, he’s a New England guy, right? I’ll tell him he can get the Red Sox, but you have to give up the Pats.

However, in hockey they are officially the “Golden Knights”.

Cassidy, 57, coached the Boston Bruins in six consecutive playoff games after replacing Claude Julien in the closing months of the 2016-17 campaign. He had a record of 245-108-46 for Boston when he was fired on June 6, a month after the Bruins lost a seven-game series to the Carolinas in the first round.

Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said Thursday that Cassidy embodies the traits the franchise has always expected from a coach.

This includes a team with a defensive structure that can quickly move the puck in the opposite direction, stay in offensive mode by keeping the opposition on their heels, high-quality shooting guards who can pick up the pace, a goaltender-friendly system, and most importantly, a successful game. special teams.

Boston last season was in the top five in the number of goals scored. The Bruins have posted third in the league in power play (23.9%) and penalties (82.9%) under Cassidy’s watch since he took over in 2017.

“I think overall I’ve done a good job in certain aspects of the game that are important to the National Hockey League,” Cassidy said. “That’s the style of play that I think I can bring and I’ve been trying to get our teams to play. It looks like this group of players will want to play that way and thrive in that style.”

The Golden Knights finished 25th in the league last season with an 18.4% powerplay completion rate. During former coach Pete DeBoer’s 2.5-year tenure, Vegas was 21st in powerplay (18.6%).

“I know there have been difficulties here at various times in the past,” McCrimmon said. “Bruce did it again, and again, and again. Maybe that’s what impresses me. There are different teams and different coaches that with the right staff and the right year you have a really good powerplay or a really good penalty. Or maybe one is better than the other significantly.

“In Bruce’s case, penalties and power plays have consistently been very, very good over a long period of time.”

Cassidy said knowing that the team quickly changed two coaches, neither of whom lasted more than two and a half seasons, was not a problem.

Cassidy first served as head coach at Washington, where he led the Capitals to a playoff berth in his first season after posting a 39-29-8 record in the 2002-03 regular season. He worked under Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee, who was the general manager at the time and fired Cassidy in just 25 games in his second season as coach.

“Postseason win. I think when you get close to winning the Cup you always think about it and you want to finish the job and definitely have that attitude,” he said. “I thought I did a good job in Boston and here I am.

“I want my name on the Stanley Cup…and I believe this team has the ability to do it.”

Vegas also announced that the veteran quarterback Shea Weber was acquired as a result of an exchange with Montreal for forward Evgenii Dadonov. Weber, 36, did not play for the Canadiens last season due to multiple lower body injuries and will remain on the reserves.


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