Sabers finally out of the NHL coaching carousel, which turned faster with the surprise dismissal of Bruce Cassidy by Boston | Buffalo Sabers News

Think back to a year ago at this time. The Sabers had no coach. Don Granato was in limbo after finishing the season in the interim slot after Ralph Krueger was fired. Fans wondered if the club should go with another big fashionable name in Dan Bylsma or Phil Housley. Bruce Boudreau was perhaps the biggest on the market, and he and Rick Tocchet spoke to general manager Kevyn Adams about the job.

Adams, ultimately, interviewed several people for the job, but did so primarily as part of a fact-finding assignment. He was gathering outside intelligence on his own club as part of the process which ultimately ended with Granato getting the job. And, especially based on what we’ve seen over the last 30 games of the season, that call is going in the right direction.

The Sabers have been in the coaching market too often over the past few years, with Granato being the sixth bench manager since Lindy Ruff was fired in 2013. For once, they can sit out this year’s edition of the carousel, but Adams & Co. needs to take notes on who gets the jobs, because they’ll affect things in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

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Detroit, Winnipeg, Philadelphia, Vegas and Dallas still need coaches. Chicago and Florida have interim coaches they need to decide. And things got crazier on Monday night when the Boston Bruins surprisingly floored Bruce Cassidy after six straight playoff berths that included a run to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals against St. Louis.

If Bruce Cassidy wins the Stanley Cup, you’ll have to add him to the names of the heavyweights the Sabers have to deal with on a regular basis, Mike Harrington

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney spoke to reporters in Boston on Tuesday morning and said the team may be looking at a “change in management” next season, a euphemism for a rebuild. Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk are all out until Thanksgiving, and maybe later, after surgeries. Captain Patrice Bergeron, who just underwent elbow surgery, is unsigned and could retire. Star winger David Pastrnak is entering the final year of his contract and could be traded if he does not agree to an extension.

The Bruins will have to opt for more young players and several reports have said the team’s prospects feel Cassidy has too much of an iron fist when it comes to their on-ice game.

“You can’t worry about not coming back out there. I think that’s one of the things we need to change,” team chairman Cam Neely said last month in comments announcing Cassidy’s ousting. “When young players make mistakes, they worry that they won’t play the next game. Well, that game continues.”

“I felt both the message and the way it was delivered, and perhaps more importantly, how it was received, young and old…sometimes they struggled,” Sweeney said Tuesday. “Sometimes it’s the voice in their head. … I think his confidence as a head coach and the message he wants to convey is exactly what he wants him to be. Has it changed with the group that is still there, is it as effective with the group that is still there? That was my determination: not as effective as it was.”

Just as often happens with players’ free agency, coaching moves appear to be stalled while the biggest contender makes up his mind. In this case, it’s Barry Trotz trying to figure out what’s next for him after he was surprisingly let go by the New York Islanders. Is Trotz going home to Winnipeg, taking on the Philadelphia challenge or perhaps the closest lineup to the Cup in Vegas?

There are so many other training questions besides Trotz too.

Is deposed Vegas coach Pete DeBoer sitting on his one-year salary or will he immediately seek another job? Would Joel Quenneville get Commissioner Gary Bettman’s blessing to get behind a bench after Florida fired him in October when his role in Chicago’s Kyle Beach scandal became clear? Is there an interest in retreads like Claude Julien, Mike Babcock, John Tortorella, Rick Bowness, Jim Montgomery, Travis Green, Paul Maurice, Alain Vigneault or Rick Tocchet?

It’s quite a market. Here is a brief overview of each team’s position with an opening with their training situation:

Atlantic Department: Boston speculation has it that the Bruins are going with a developmental coach like Seattle assistant Jay Leach, who was formerly their AHL coach at Providence. Don’t overlook the Bruins watching Nate Leaman of Providence College or former Rangers coach David Quinn, who coached Jack Eichel at Boston University.

The direction general manager Steve Yzerman is turning in Detroit is a crucial turn for the Sabers as they face the Wings to climb the standings and possibly challenge Boston next season. Yzerman has fired Jeff Blashill and needs a coach to take his standout young players to another level. Is it Trotz or DeBoer? Is it Cassidy, who coached the Detroit Farm Club in Grand Rapids for over 20 years? Or is it an assistant who comes up from another team?

Why didn’t Florida strip Andrew Brunette of the acting tag after a Presidents’ Trophy season? You wonder how sour General Manager Bill Zito and the property are after the playoff sweep at Tampa Bay and the 1-for-31 power play in both rounds of the playoffs. Does Cassidy interest them?

Metropolitan Division: Philadelphia is known for interviewing Tortorella, and ESPN announcer John Buccigross — who worked in the studio with the former coach all season — raised eyebrows on Monday with a two-image tweet that included Tortorella and Flyers mascot Gritty. Hmmm.

Central Division: Winnipeg bet everything on Trotz and is still waiting to hear from him. Former Jets player Scott Arniel, a former player and assistant for the Sabers now in Washington, would be an interesting choice. Dallas seems to want a big name, whether it’s Trotz or DeBoer. Chicago seems to be looking away from interim coach Derek King, but new general manager Kyle Davidson has offered some advice on retreading or developing the coach.

Pacific Division: Vegas should be a plum job with a star-studded roster and a healthy Jack Eichel and Mark Stone to start the season. Once Trotz decides if the position is still open, there will be a lot of interest.