Dean promoted by P-Bruins for his teaching, hockey development strengths


Dean promoted by P-Bruins for his teaching, hockey development strengths

After years of paying his dues as an ECHL head coach and an assistant coach with the Providence Bruins teaching and developing defensemen in the Boston system, Kevin Dean is getting his shot as head coach of the P-Bruins. Couple the coaching experience with over 330 games of NHL experience with the Devils, Thrashers, Stars and Blackhawks, and the 47-year-old Dean is in the right place at the right time for a key developmental role within the Bruins organization.

Dean mentioned names like Larry Robinson John McLane, Ken Hitchcock, Jacques Lemaire and Robbie Ftorek as hockey coaches that influenced his style along with previous Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy. But Dean also made it clear that he’ll be his own coach adhering to his strengths as a teacher, and as a coach that will demand the very best out of his players.

“It’s a position and a job I’m excited for the challenges that it’s going to present. I’ve been coaching now a long time. I’ve learned a lot but I know that I have a lot to learn yet in front of me. Those challenges are exciting to me,” said Dean. “It’s exciting to work with the tremendous young athletes we get a chance to work with. It’s even more exciting when I think of all the young talent that the Bruins have coming into the organization quickly in the next few seasons.

“We saw it last week at Development Camp. To me, all those things are exciting. I’m very grateful to a number of people, like I said, the Jacobs family, Cam [Neely], Donny [Sweeney]. Working with Butch Cassidy the last five years was just terrific. You talk about a smart hockey mind, I’m not sure, on the offensive side of the puck especially, that you’re going to find a better one. Claude Julien has always opened his office to me when I’ve had questions. I have a lot to be thankful for at this time, [and] a lot of hard work ahead.”

Sweeney continued with his organizational mantra of rewarding internal candidates with the hiring of Dean after five seasons developing defensemen like Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, David Warsofsky and Kevan Miller among others. Above and beyond that, it was pretty clear Dean was the best candidate to fill the vacancy created by the promotion of Cassidy to Julien’s staff, and now the search begins for his assistant coaches.

“Development was at the forefront of our decision-making in this process and we felt that Kevin has worked very well with Bruce. I think the continuity there and the understanding what the philosophies of our organization are, and they align with what he believes in in trying to work with younger players, to have all their games rounded to the point where they can play at any different role in the National Hockey League,” said Sweeney. “Kevin is obviously going to be a head coach here at the American Hockey Level for the first time, but he has the learned skill set from working with other coaches and he’s looking forward to applying it in a more foundational role without leaving behind the development tools required.

“He sees across the spectrum. I think that his personality lends to teaching every day and communicating every day. His players understand there’s a trust factor, but there’s also a requirement as to what’s going to be needed for them to continue to get better and he can convey those things. Obviously it’s incumbent upon us now to work with Kevin to find the right assistants that can complement what he does, and what he’s going to have to continue to learn on the job a little bit. But I think the familiarity piece and the development as being the fundamental principal here, those two things really align with what we want to do going forward.”

With young players as varied and talented as Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen, Robbie O’Gara, Matt Grzelcyk, Jake DeBrusk and others that will be coming through Providence in the next couple of years, Dean will be an important figure in sending players up to Boston in a position to succeed when the big club needs them. 

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.