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Know Your Role

P-Bruins coach talks identities, team turnaround

Thursday, 12.13.2012 / 9:04 AM ET / Features
By Evan Sporer  -
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Know Your Role
PROVIDENCE, RI — Bruce Cassidy never guaranteed victories.

However, throughout the ups-and-downs of October and November, the second-year head coach of the Providence Bruins simply assessed the talent he had in his locker room and pronounced his team better than its sub-.500 record.

Now, having won seven of its last eight games and five of its last six, Cassidy feels his team is doing a much better job mirroring its on-ice success to that of its skill level

But the Providence bench boss still believes the P-Bruins can achieve more.

"We’re the type of team that plays with a certain level of pace and execution, otherwise we’re going to struggle," Cassidy said after putting his team through practice on Wednesday. "We’ve seen that in games the last three or four weeks; we’ve been able to do it, and it’s resulted in some positive results.

"There’s still some guys that are pressing to put the puck in the net that are going to score that have proven they can do it at this level.


"When they come around, all of a sudden, we’re getting two [goals] consistently, maybe three. If we get three and turn it into four, we’re going to be one of the better hockey clubs," he said.

The offense is beginning to come around for the P-Bruins, as the lamp is being lit at “The Dunk” more frequently, and Cassidy’s squad has been able to find a more consistent attack.

Still though, through the team’s ups and downs, it’s been its back end that has bolstered Providence’s play.

"We’re defending well most nights," Cassidy said. "We’ve had a couple [of games] that have gone the other way on us, but that part of our game is solid.

"We’ve had different defensemen in-and-out of the lineup. Our young kids that we have like Tommy Cross has come up and has been good for us, and [Ryan] Button the other day played well.

"With a couple of veterans out, we’ve still managed to be good back there. It’s just a matter of getting one more goal a night from our skill guys."

There are plenty of candidates to produce that one extra goal for the AHL’s Black & Gold. And with dynamic players like Ryan Spooner and Chris Bourque leading the team in points, Cassidy and the P-Bruins are beginning to see what they envisioned in the preseason.

"The AHL—very few coaches can put the pencil in the same lineup night-to-night," Cassidy said. "That’s just the way it is, but these young guys need to be ready.

"It’s kind of a next-man-up mentality, and when your chance comes, hopefully you’ve prepared yourself appropriately."

And now that the puck is beginning to bounce the right for Providence, Cassidy sounds less like a fortuneteller, and more like a coach with a very good sense of what his team can accomplish.

"[We're] just going out there, and capitalizing on our opportunities," said Bourque. "Offensively, I think we were struggling a bit at the beginning of the season. That comes with the territory of having new guys, and guys not having chemistry.

"You kind of have to build that in the locker room, and have that translate onto the ice. Guys are getting of used to playing with each other, and it’s showing."




1 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
2 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
3 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
4 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
5 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
6 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
7 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
8 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47


P. Bergeron 52 19 26 8 45
L. Eriksson 52 16 24 11 40
D. Krejci 42 12 27 2 39
R. Spooner 52 11 27 -5 38
B. Marchand 47 24 12 12 36
Z. Chara 50 7 20 8 27
M. Beleskey 50 8 17 10 25
T. Krug 51 3 21 6 24
J. Hayes 50 11 12 -5 23
B. Connolly 49 7 9 -5 16
T. Rask 19 15 5 .918 2.47
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .915 2.38
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