Bruce Cassidy is getting ready to coach in his first championship series with the Boston Bruins, who open the 2019 Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night at TD Garden.
Boston is fortunate to have four head coaches with loads of playoff experience, and two of them, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, have championship rings. Cassidy recently sought their advice, and he was asked about those conversations during a Wednesday morning appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub morning show "Toucher and Rich."
“I’m going to keep that in-house, but I spoke to both the football team and the baseball team, and I’ve had some conversations with the basketball team as well,” Cassidy said. “So, I’ll let you figure it out from there. I don’t want to get into all those conversations, that’s private. But they’ve been very good, to share whatever they can — very supportive. It’s been great for me.
"We practice different than a football team. They're typically used to having a week off. They have that long window of preparation. For us it's a little different, but at the end of the day, there's a mental side of it that I think is important. How to keep players on their toes and don't let their mind drift and get their focus back. I think that was more the discussion than anything."
Cassidy noted that Belichick was "insightful" during their conversation. Belichick would know about long layoffs before a championship series/game. The Patriots have played in nine Super Bowls since Belichick took over in 2000, and each time they had two weeks of preparation.
The Bruins' layoff is 11 days, which is the longest between a conference final and a Stanley Cup Final in the salary cap era (2005 to the present). Boston might be a bit rusty early in Game 1 of the series, but the energy inside the arena should provide an extra boost of adrenaline.
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