Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has not been complimentary towards the Islanders throughout the second round of the East Division series. He whined about the Bruins not getting many calls that would have them on the power play in the series.
He showed once again what an amateur head coach he is by ripping the Islanders for portraying themselves as the New York Saints. He made a reference about the Islanders playing as dirty as the Bruins, but never got called out by the refs on that. He basically called them frauds. He got worked up after a Bruins’ 5-4 loss to the Islanders in Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.
Now with his team being on the brink of elimination, he is using the media as a rallying cry to get refs to call plays against the Islanders.
Just one problem with that thinking. The Bruins have to go on the road for Game 6 Wednesday night, and it’s hard to believe the refs will give them a call at a raucous Nassau Coliseum. He also put his team in a bad spot here. The Islanders fans will be fired up as it is. Now, they will get angry after Cassidy degraded their team, and no one can blame them.
It’s like if someone attacks the team, he or she attacks the fans, too.
It sounds like Cassidy is not handling pressure well. He has gotten outcoached by Islanders head coach Barry Trotz. He has not made adjustments with the secondary lines. He relies more on the first line to score and win games. He hasn’t gotten Taylor Hall going. He doesn’t have a feel for what’s going on the ice the way Trotz does.
He is not composing himself as a coach that knows what he is doing. He actually complained about the refs not giving his team more power plays after Game 4. His behavior the last few days comes off as a guy who is in a mid-life crisis. He sounds like a coach that is desperate to get his team going. It could be he is coaching for his job since the Bruins have Stanley Cup championship expectations. Another flameout does not look good on his resume. His work in this series raises many questions.
Don’t mention Cassidy is taking pressure off his team and putting it on himself. This does not work here because that’s not his style. This is coming out of a head coach’s character to attack the other team and the coaching staff. It just seems counterproductive what he is doing.
The Bruins head coach expected his team to handle the Islanders easily in this series. It hasn’t turned out that way. It’s no wonder why he is acting like a 5-year-old not getting his or her way rather than behaving like a professional head coach.
This is where Trotz is so good at his job. He doesn’t get caught up with stupidity like this. He coaches. He figures it out by making adjustments such as taking Leo Komarov out of the first line and inserting Kyle Palmieri with Jordan Eberle and Mat Barzal to get something out of that line. It produced results quickly with Palmieri scoring two goals and Barzal scoring two goals against the Bruins. He has his team prepared and disciplined. Just look at the penalties the Bruins dished out compared to the Islanders. It tells you the story right there in this series, and it tells you which team has been the better-coached in this series.
Make no mistake. The pressure is on the Bruins to win Wednesday. They can’t flame out again as they had in previous seasons on high expectations. To go out in six games after Cassidy called out the refs would be a terrible look for him and his team.
The Islanders are in a good place, unlike the Bruins. They can finish them off. I expect it to happen right now. They have been good at killing off teams when they are vulnerable. There’s no question the Bruins are it right now.
The Islanders have every right to be loose. They responded when they were behind or when the Bruins tied it by answering with a goal of their own. After David Pastrnak scored the Bruins’ first goal of the game in the first period, the Islanders answered on Barzal’s power-play goal to tie the game. After the Bruins tied the game at 2 in the second period, the Islanders responded by scoring two goals in that period, giving them a 4-2 lead in the second intermission.
When the Bruins cut the deficit to 5-4 in the third period, Semyon Varlamov and the defense stepped up in the final few minutes of the game to keep this score intact.
This is what you call a team holding its composure right there. That’s a reflection of a Trotz-coached team right there.
When you got the other coach trashing the other team and the refs, it means he has lost his way.
Cassidy presents the Islanders an opportunity to finish off his tightly-wounded team on Wednesday night.
For the Bruins head coach’s well-being, the Islanders should put him out of his misery.