Bruins notebook

Cassidy officially takes the reins in Providence

Assistant receives expected promotion

Big body from BU
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / June 26, 2011

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ST. PAUL — In a mere formality, the Bruins yesterday promoted Providence assistant Bruce Cassidy to head coach of the AHL franchise. Cassidy replaces Rob Murray, who was fired at the end of the season and has been offered another assignment in the organization.

“We had a lot of people that did throw their hat into the ring,’’ said assistant general manager Don Sweeney. “Some really, really qualified people. But we felt we had an inside track with Bruce and had great knowledge there. We felt very comfortable moving forward.’’

During the playoffs, Cassidy traveled with the Bruins and was in charge of on-ice sessions for the Black Aces. The group included Matt Bartkowski, Jamie Arniel, and Colby Cohen, who are expected to push for depth jobs with the big club.

The 46-year-old Cassidy has been a head coach at nearly every level. In 2002-03, the Capitals named him head coach, replacing Ron Wilson. After going 47-45-9-6, Cassidy was fired in 2003-04 and replaced by Glen Hanlon.

Cassidy has also been a head coach in the IHL, ECHL, and OHL. Prior to being hired by the Bruins in 2008, he was head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs for two years.

“He’s traveled a different course to get back to where he is right now,’’ Sweeney said. “I think he’s hungry for the opportunity again.

“He’s done a really good job of developing players at all levels. He’s worked with forwards and defense. The last couple years, we’ve seen a nice impact he’s had on our players.’’

As a Providence assistant, Cassidy worked primarily with the defensemen. Bartkowski and Steven Kampfer earned promotions this past season. In 2008-09, Johnny Boychuk was the AHL Defenseman of the Year.

“Bruce has had a more dramatic impact on our back end because those are the guys he’s worked with,’’ Sweeney said. “Now he’s going to have the whole bench.

“A lot of times, the forwards fall to the head coach. He’ll oversee both sides of it. We’ll find a balance there.’’

Under Murray, Providence didn’t qualify for the playoffs for the last two seasons. Murray was an in-your-face coach who preferred a more abrasive approach than Scott Gordon, his predecessor.

“He’ll carve out his own niche in terms of how he wants to approach the intensity side of it,’’ Sweeney said. “On the bench, off the bench, in front of players. We’ll give him that latitude. It will work.’’

The Bruins have not hired Cassidy’s assistant.

No rush On Friday, Weymouth, Mass., native Charlie Coyle found himself at the center of one of the draft’s biggest deals. Coyle, San Jose’s 2010 first-round pick (No. 28 overall), had his rights moved to Minnesota along with Devin Setoguchi and a 2011 first-rounder. San Jose’s return was Brent Burns and a 2012 second-round pick.

As a Boston University freshman, Coyle had 7 goals and 19 assists in 37 games.

“He’s a big body already,’’ said Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher. “He’s physically strong. But he’s mature. Maybe he’s a faster-track type of kid.’’

Even if Coyle is already showing hints of a pro-style game, Fletcher said he won’t push the Terrier forward to leave school immediately. Fletcher plans to speak with Coyle and BU coach Jack Parker to determine how he’s developing and what might be the ideal approach.

“I’m not a big believer in pulling kids out of college,’’ said Fletcher, a Harvard graduate. “It’s up to the young man and his family to make that decision.

“We’ll certainly sit down and speak to him. We’ll speak to Jack Parker and we’ll try to go through the process of assessing where exactly he’s at and be up front.

“The goal of trading for him was not necessarily to get him in uniform right away. It was to add another piece. Hopefully in the next one, two, three seasons, he’ll have a very positive impact on our franchise and give us a big forward to match up against some of the big forwards in the Western Conference.’’

Here’s to you Upon the urging of College Hockey Inc., several Division 1 coaches were present to offer their congratulations to their players or recruits when they were drafted . . . BU defenseman Adam Clendening was the first player with local ties drafted yesterday. Chicago picked Clendening with the 36th overall selection . . . The Senators picked center Shane Prince with the second-round pick acquired for Chris Kelly. Prince put up a 25-63—88 line for Ottawa of the OHL.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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