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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 - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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