Bruins

Bergeron looks for more consistency from Bruins

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Bergeron looks for more consistency from Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. – Patrice Bergeron has been the picture of consistency with the Bruins in his 12 years in Boston.

The two-time Selke Trophy winner gives maximum effort at both ends of the ice, plays a smart, detail-oriented game and always makes those around him better each time he hops onto the ice. It’s not often that the advanced stats crew and old-time hockey people can come in complete agreement on a hockey player, but No. 37 is one of those rare guys that everybody gives high marks to all around.

So it’s no surprise Bergeron is looking for more consistency out of the Bruins after last year’s erratic group missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. He banged that drum at the bitter end of last season, and he did it again on Wednesday afternoon after leading a group of 11 players at Bruins captain’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.

“It’s something that we lacked last year,” said Bergeron of the “C” word. “If you looked at the end of the year, we had let too many points slip by us by being inconsistent. It wasn’t just stretches during the year, but it was also within games. Sometimes, we were lacking in consistency, and it cost us huge points that could have been the difference in getting into the playoffs.”

So where did the inconsistency stem from that allowed them to accumulate 96 points, but still saw them on the outside of the playoffs?

“I think too many times we were getting comfortable with having a one goal lead, and stuff like that,” said Bergeron, who finished with 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-2 rating in 81 games for the B’s after a slower-than-usual start for his standards. “I think focus might have been part of it, but it’s hard to pinpoint one thing that caused the inconsistency. But it’s something that we definitely have to fix. Going out in games and wanting to be the difference in the whole game is something we have to accomplish, and we have to resolve it early if we want to be a better team.”

It sounds like the rest of the Bruins have their marching orders from Bergeron, and now it’s a matter of going out and showing it on the ice amid an Eastern Conference that’s got some vastly improved teams headed into this season.

NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

The 2019 NHL Draft is scheduled to begin Friday, and less than two weeks later free agency will open for all 31 teams.

It's going to be a busy and important couple of weeks for franchises looking to make major changes to their rosters with the hope of winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and beyond.

Let's take a look at the top unrestricted and restricted free agents that could hit the market in July.

Click here for the top 25 free agents of the 2019 NHL offseason>>>

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Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

As Bruce Cassidy enters the final year of his contract as head coach of the Boston Bruins, it probably goes without saying that he deserves an extension. 

The good news for B's fans, according to Joe McDonald of The Athletic, Boston is pleased with Cassidy's performance and plans to address his contract. 

'He’s under contract, so we have decisions that we’re going to progress with, and he’ll be part of that,' general manager Don Sweeney said. 'He’s under contract, so it’s not a concern right now, but we will address it.'

After a 107-point 2018-19 campaign, good for the second-best mark in the NHL, Cassidy led the Bruins to the brink of a Stanley Cup only to fall in Game 7 at TD Garden to the St. Louis Blues.

One of the major themes of this year's Bruins team was their resiliency under Cassidy. Boston fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto and a 2-1 deficit against Columbus to win those series, and then won another Game 6 on the road down 3-2 to the Blues. 

The Bruins have made the playoffs in each of their first three seasons with Cassidy leading the charge, improving their finish in the postseason each year. 

BRUINS UNDER CASSIDY

2016-17: 44-31-7 (95 points), lost in the first round (4-2)
2017-18: 50-20-12 (112 points), lost in the second round (4-1)
2018-19 49-24-9 (107 points), lost in Stanley Cup Final (4-3)

Cassidy is the second-fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins as he has cemented himself as one of the best coaches in the league. And team President Cam Neely certainly thinks highly of him. 

'He’s done a very good job for us, obviously,' Neely said. 'Coming in when he did and getting us to the playoffs and then almost having two, back-to-back 50-win seasons — pretty impressive. He learned from our playoff losses and how to maybe coach a little bit differently in the playoffs.'

We'll see if the Bruins extend Cassidy before the 2019-20 season starts, but it definitely seems like they view him as their long term answer on the Black and Gold's bench. 

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