With the unexpected firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy last week now behind us, the Bruins have now set their sights on the future. It took Bruce Cassidy less than a week to find a new job, as it was announced yesterday that he would be taking over as the new head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. It was released today that the Bruins will begin their coaching search by interviewing five candidates. Don Sweeney and Cam Neely will be busy in the coming weeks as they look to nail down their future leader to help weather the storm this duo has created. The five candidates the Bruins have lined up are Jim Montgomery, Jay Leach, Joe Sacco, Spencer Carbery, and David Quinn.
Considered to be a front-runner alongside Jay Leach, Montgomery has made a name for himself at different levels of the hockey world. The former Denver head coach won the NCAA title in 2017 and turned his successful five-year run as head coach of the Pioneers into a head coaching gig in the NHL with the Dallas Stars. In his first season in Dallas, he compiled a 43-32-7 record and secured a playoff berth in 2018-2019, where they ultimately fell in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.
Montgomery’s time in Dallas did not end well, as he was relieved of his duties in December of the 2019-2020 season for what the Stars deemed “unprofessional conduct.” He later revealed that he was dealing with alcohol abuse and had checked himself into rehab.
Montgomery seems to be back on track as he’s been an assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues since September of 2020. Montgomery played college hockey at Maine as the 52-year-old looks to return to New England as the Bruins’ next head coach.
With his connections to the organization, Jay Leach certainly has a leg up on most. The current assistant coach of the Seattle Kraken was also the man who took over for Cassidy in Providence. In four seasons as the head coach of the P-Bruins, Leach compiled a 136-77-26 record and also lead the team to the best record in the AHL Eastern Conference in 2019-20 before the season was canceled due to COVID.
Leach was known in Boston for developing the Bruins’ young talent and was constantly praised for the seamless transitions they made from the AHL level to the NHL. Will Leach once again replace Cassidy as a head coach? Only time will tell, but the cards look stacked in his favor as he is a Neely and Sweeney favorite.
Joe Sacco is another internal option the Bruins are looking at, as the 53-year-old has been on the Bruins’ staff since 2014. The Medford native, a Boston University alum, brings some head coaching experience to the table. Sacco spent four years as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2009-to-2013, finishing with a 130-134-30 record and one playoff berth.
Like Jay Leach, Spencer Carbery is young and unproven at the NHL level as the 42-year-old has only been an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2021. Carberry does bring ten years of coaching experience from his days in the ECHL and OHL, in addition to his brief stint with the Providence Bruins in 2017.
Prior to joining Toronto’s staff, he was named head coach of the Hershey Bears in 2018. He helped lead the team to the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy in 2021, the AHL’s regular-season league championship, and went on to win the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for coach of the year.
David Quinn brings a connection to the city of Boston as he is a Boston University alum and spent time coaching alongside Jack Parker on his staff. Quinn took over for the Hall of Fame coach in 2013 after he helped the team win an NCAA Championship in 2009. He would spend five years on the BU bench before getting the offer to coach the New York Rangers in 2018. While in New York, Quinn went 96-87-25 with one playoff berth over his three years before getting fired in 2021. Quinn brings much experience to the table and an understanding of coaching young players that are still developing as well as established veterans, thanks to his coaching in the college ranks and in the NHL.