If you were expecting Bruce Cassidy to walk into the Bruins dressing room and deliver a fire-and-brimstone speech to spark his players before Saturday’s Game 7, think again.
That’s not Cassidy’s style
“I’m typically not that guy,” said Cassidy. “In game, between periods and I need to say something, I find myself doing it. I don’t think I’ve ever been that’s going in before the game to truly fire guys up. It happens periodically, but mostly it’s reactionary to what’s going on.”
If the players aren’t fired up enough for a Game 7, then there are bigger problems.
“The motivational part of it is now gone,” said Cassidy. “These guys know what’s at stake. It’s more about keeping guys in a good place. Everyone’s going to have to show good composure. There’s going to be ups and downs. We’re going to have bad shifts when things don’t go well. We’ll have good shifts where we can’t let it get ahead of us. (Game 6) was a great example. They score to make it 2-1 and we got right back on the horse and away we went. That as a great sign for me that, OK, stuff happens, put it behind and let’s go.”
Whatever pre-game message Cassidy was going to give, it leaned toward the technical rather than emotional aspect of the game.
“For us, the main message is the team that executes better I think will win the game,” said Cassidy. “You can talk about the finality of the Game 7 if it doesn’t go your way. But focus on your effort and execution. If you execute better than the guy across from you, our chances of winning should go up. That should be your sole focus, not worrying about 8 o’clock tonight and however it plays out.”…
Foligno on the board
You may not have noticed it, but Nick Foligno picked up an assist on Curtis Lazar’s empty net goal in the B’s Game 6 victory. It was his first point in a month, dating back to an April 14 game against Ottawa when he picked up a helper.
Points have been few and far between for Foligno, but he has carved out a role on the B’s fourth line that showed up in a big way for the B’s in their Game 6 that extended the series to Game 7. Foligno, Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar all finished at plus-2. Their rambunctious play led to Derek Forbort’s goal as well.
For a player with Foligno’s resume, the transition to fourth line grinding left wing could be a tough adjustment, but he has seemed to embrace it for what it can do the team.
BOSTON, MA – May 12: Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) celebrates his goal with Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92), Boston Bruins center Curtis Lazar (20) and Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) as the Bruins take on the Hurricanes in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals at the Garden on May 12, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
“ And he doesn’t love it. He wants to play more. They all do, and he’s had 1,000 games in the NHL and he’s used to playing more, having a bigger role and we’ve discussed that as the year’s gone on, that that’s what’s there for him. I would appreciate it, and the team would, if he accepted it and still played with emotion and was a good leader,” said Cassidy. “I know he’s talked to me and the coaches a couple of times, ‘How can I earn a little more?’ etc. Sometime when you have a good team, and I certainly put us in that category, there’s just other guys we’ve put in roles that are doing a good job, so there’s a little bit of that that goes on as well, but we have other guys there.
“At the end of the day, he’s a high-character guy. It’s one of the reasons he was signed, for this time of year, to help us in these areas and these type of games. You saw more of it in (Game 6). And good for him for getting rewarded. It’s tough playing in that role and never showing up on the scoresheet when you’ve typically never done it. If you’ve been a guy that’s never been on the scoresheet for 10 years, you’ve sort of learned how to (deal with it). But he has been, so there’s a bit of an adjustment, not to let it bother him and block out some of the comments or whatever about his numbers, because he’s not in a role where he’s going to put up great numbers. He’s understood that. We appreciate that and the guys in the room do.”…
Hockey players are used to 7 p.m. starts, or the occasional 1 p.m. matinee. But the 4:30 p.m. puck drop for Game 7 was a little unusual.
“That’s on-the-bus-to-the-rink time. But it’s the same for both teams. They’ve got to go through it and maybe some of the older players their toddlers don’t enjoy their nap, they want to go for a nap and it throws them off. You laugh but that’s what happens,” said Cassidy with a chuckle. “Some of the older guys get in their routine and their kids get in a routine, so sometimes when you’re on the road, it’s a little easier because you don’t have that. Unless you’re in Long Island like last year and there’s a tailgate going on outside the hotel or fire alarms. Sometimes it’s advantage to be on the road. You’re just by yourself. But it’s the same for both teams. I don’t think it will affect much in Game 7. Guys will find a way to be ready, both sides.”…
Asked before puck drop if he’d seen any trends in this series, Cassidy deadpanned, “Yeah, the home team wins a lot. We’re looking to change that.”