Bruce Cassidy attributes lineup changes to meeting his top guys


It was an ideal time for a shakeup.

Bruins players and coaches gather at Warrior Ice Arena. Mark Stockwell for The Greeley Tribune Globe

Bruce Cassidy felt the need for change after Greeley Tribune Bruins returned to the ice His COVID-19 Stagnation,

As always, the sixth-year Greeley Tribune bench boss discussed specific lineup changes with his coaching staff after a 16-day hiatus between games. But in this particular instance, he turned to his mighty top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pasternak for advice ahead of a New Year’s Day matinee with the Buffalo Sabers.

A slim COVID protocol list allowed Cassidy to adjust its lineup accordingly. And he received a backing from his powerful top trio with one caveat: moving Pasternak to the second line with Taylor Hall and Eric Houla.

The domino effect continued with Craig Smith rising to the top line with Marchand and Bergeron. Jake Debrusk, Charlie Coyle and Nick Foligno formed the third line and Curtis Lazar, Tomas Nosek and Trent Frederick rounded out the fourth trio.

“I’ll be honest: I met Burgie, March, and Pasta for a kind of pow-wow. They have a great pulse of room,” Cassidy said of his discussions with three of his top offensive producers. “Obviously [assistant coaches] that [Sacco] and kelso [Chris Kelly] forward tackle but it was more just for me with all three of them [Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand] To get some feedback from them. ,

It was an ideal time for a shakeup. The Bruins had a favorable three-game slate, coming out of their COVID stagnation against a lowly Sabers bunch, an improved but nonetheless Detroit Red Wings squad and a shorthanded New Jersey Devils club during a four-day stretch. reconstruction.

The Bruins encountered a few hiccups along the way. He needed a behind-the-scenes effort from the third period to bring down the Sabers in overtime on Saturday. They had to recover from an early loss in Detroit 24 hours later and on Tuesday, New Jersey’s three equalizers needed to extend their winning streak to three games.

Through in-game adversities, the Bruins scored 14 goals in a trio of matches. Thirteen different players lit the lamp, including Oskar Stein, who filled in the third row for Debrisk after the Edmonton native entered COVID protocol. Only fourth-liner Trent Frederick found the net twice in that stretch.

Even more amazing? The Bruins had only a couple goals from the powerful broken trio of Marchand, Bergeron and Pasternak. The former didn’t hit the scoresheet, while the latter eventually ended their goal drought – dating back to November 30 – with a second attempt on Tuesday night.

“It’s great when it works. As a coach, sometimes you think, ‘What was I thinking? I should have done it a month ago, right?’ Cassidy said.

“We’ve been playing really well. Every line has contributed. It’s great to see the lineup up and down. When everyone is rewarded, it helps everyone’s confidence and it’s everyone’s overall.” Helps,” said Coyle, who netted an overtime winner against Cebres. “And that’s what you need. You need a good solid team with all four lines running and rolling. And when they’re contributing and playing well and finding their chemistry together – even if they haven’t played much [beforehand] Maybe — it’s great to see.”

The Bruins didn’t face last week’s toughest competition. Still, every pace counts during another COVID-hit season.

They haven’t completely survived the outbreak of COVID protocol, which Tomas Nosek joined on Wednesday along with Debrisk and Carson Cullman and four staff members. Still, unlike his last game before the break, where he trotted 17 players to Long Island, the Bruins have a healthy complement of players to work with.

Cassidy’s squad has a hectic but more fluid schedule to establish more chemistry with each other after a relatively sparse slate at the start of the season. The recent aggressive production from four new lines could not have come at a better time.

“We started the year in a healthy way and never really came back. [The changes] Cassidy said, being pushed down the road a bit and I thought the brakes weren’t a bad time to do it. “We had a reset. I thought it brought good energy to everyone, so let’s have a discussion with the players who are being transferred and explain why and talk to them about the benefits to the team and see if How does it play?

Obviously, the Bruins responded well to the changes. The changes so far have proved beneficial across the lineup.

The reset gave Hall and Pasternak a chance to read each other’s dynamic puck traits from the crowd. This allowed Coyle to demonstrate his versatility with hard skating and vocal foligno, while gaining chemistry in third-line duty with Debreux and Stein. This allowed Smith to break out of his early season rut in promotion with Marchand and Bergeron. And it provided the fourth line of Lazarus, Nosek, Frederick — and sometimes even Stein — to showcase other elements of the game beyond their blue-collar work ethic.

“I don’t think it was one particular person. I think it was the team. We need to score more; we need to generate more [offense] Finish more,” Cassidy said. “Sometimes turning things around helps, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this particular case, we’re getting some pretty good results now, and we’ll see how it sustains itself going forward.” Keeps and if it is the best model.”

Line changes provided immediate results. But can they extend this effort beyond a three-game run against teams out of the playoff picture? He’ll have a better idea on that front during the more difficult three-game stretch against the Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning.

“People at the bottom of the lineup and people who weren’t scoring at the top of the lineup jumped in here,” Cassidy said. “Let’s see how this translates against some elite teams here on the ice.”