Bruins expected to name Kevin Dean as head coach of P-Bruins


Bruins expected to name Kevin Dean as head coach of P-Bruins

WILMINGTON – Bruins general manager Don Sweeney mentioned last week that the team would be making an official hire for the Providence Bruins head coaching gig the following week.

So it shouldn’t be too long before the Bruins announce former P-Bruins assistant coach Kevin Dean as the new head coach of the AHL affiliate in Providence, according to one league source. Dean will be given a promotion to fill the vacancy left by new Boston assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. It’s well deserved after Dean spent parts of six seasons as head coach in the ECHL and the last five seasons served as an assistant coach in Providence.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dean’s promotion when he spoke with the Bruins media following one of the development camp sessions last week, and gave some very well-articulated, smart and candidly honest answers about the B’s prospects. While it’s clear Dean was the most appropriate choice given his knowledge of Bruins personnel, he also carries a strong reputation as a natural teacher that greatly helped the B’s organization develop young defensemen like Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid over the last six plus seasons.

“He’s more than qualified, and players will love him and play hard for him,” said one former Providence Bruins player to CSN about Dean. “He didn’t ever get the credit, but he worked with the ‘D’ personally over the last four years. He’s unreal teaching you the little things.”

The 47-year-old Wisconsin native is a distinguished UNH alumni, and played 331 NHL games over parts of seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks prior to his retirement from pro hockey following the 2001-02 NHL season. Dean was hired in Providence prior to the 2011-12 season, and has been a staple on the AHL staff under Cassidy since that point in time. 

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.