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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 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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