The Boston Bruins made a surprising move following the conclusion of the regular season when they announced the unexpected firing of long time head coach Bruce Cassidy. Even Cassidy himself appeared surprised by the decision when it was made, but it was a credit to how well respected he is as a head coach in this league that it was only a matter of days between the time he was fired by the Bruins and the time he was hired by the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
That of course beckons the question, why did the Bruins fire Bruce Cassidy if he is such a good head coach? Well for weeks there has been speculation that the players may have played a role in the decision, specifically as it pertains to their exit interviews following the conclusion of the regular season. While that still has not officially been confirmed, this week during the 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Bruins president Cam Neely may have accidentally revealed too much.
After making it clear that the players had been unhappy under Cassidy, Neely would go on to reveal that veteran Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk had since rescinded his trade request. For those in the know, DeBrusk's trade request had been looming over the Bruins for the better part of a year and this certainly made it look like his desire to be traded was directly related to the head coach.
To make matters worse former NHLer Ryan Whitney would reveal that "the players really hated [Cassidy]" on his podcast, and when given the chance to downplay those comments Neely did nothing of the sort.
"I like to keep things in the locker room," said Neely as per the Boston Globe. "Obviously, if others want to talk, that’s their prerogative. Right or wrong, when you have a coach five, six, seven years and the players remain on a club . . . unfortunately at some point the voice does get old."
This definitely makes it seem like the decision to fire Cassidy was player motivated, and it may even be an indication that Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk played a significant part in that.