Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy first got to know Colby Cave when he was the Providence Bruins coach and Cave arrived in the AHL as a 20-year-old from Saskatchewan in 2015.
So, the news that Cave, now with the Edmonton Oilers, is in a medically induced coma and in critical condition at a Toronto hospital after he had a brain bleed Tuesday and subsequent surgery was particularly jarring to Cassidy and Cave's former B's teammates.
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Cassidy told Joe McDonald of The Athletic that he and Cave's former teammates and coaches are working on get-well video messages for Cave, who had surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
Cassidy said his wife, Julie, had spoken to Cave's wife, Emily.
“It’s very difficult for her because she can’t get in the room and give him a hug, or anything,” Cassidy said.
Cave's wife had a heart-wrenching Instagram post on Wednesday:
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Please wake up. Please wake up. It’s all I can keep asking, “he’s going to wake up right?” We need a miracle. Colby’s parents and myself, got to see him through a window and talk to him with a walkie talkie last night. We are no longer allowed to be in the hospital because Covid-19 rules. We have no idea when we will be allowed to see him again. The nurse has tied his wedding band to his ankle. I am dreaming of being able to touch you, hear your voice, squeeze your hand (3 times), and kiss you again. I love you so much, and my heart is shattered into a million pieces without my best friend 💛✨ Out of difficulties grows miracles- 1 Peter 5:10
Cassidy said that despite the coma, he's hopeful that Cave can perhaps hear the messages. “Anything we can do. Every little bit helps and if we can chip in with some encouraging words then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Jay Leach, Cave's coach in Providence after Cassidy replaced Claude Julien in Boston, told the Athletic, “There’s no one better than Colby Cave with regards to being a person and the way he treats other people."
Cave played 23 games for Boston from 2017-19 and was put on the Bruins top line with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to fill in for Patrice Bergeron when Bergeron was injured in the 2018-19 season. When Cave was sent back to Providence, he didn't clear waivers and was claimed by the Oilers in January 2019.
Another former Bruin, Noel Acciari of the Florida Panthers, who played with Cave in Boston and Providence, echoed Cassidy and Leach's sentiments.
"He’s who you want on your team," Acciari said. "It’s a terrible thing what has happened to him, but he’s a fighter and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones.”