By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
Super genius interim Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t fretting over the 3 p.m. NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday.
“I’m going to go to practice in the morning, have a good breakfast, do a little video and see what happens,” Cassidy said dryly when asked about his mindset for the trade deadline after the Bruins won yet another game under his tutelage, 4-1 against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday at TD Garden.
“That’s out of my control,” he continued. “I think that’s a question better served for management. We go from there, see what we’ve got.”
Cassidy has no reason to feel stressed. He’s done all he can do, and more than anyone could have expected, to turn the Bruins around. Even if Boston doesn’t take the interim tag off his title, Cassidy’s going to be coaching in the NHL somewhere after what he’s done the past eight games, as the Bruins have gone 7-1-0. They went 3-1-0 on a road trip that included games against all three California teams. They’ve won four in a row at home after looking like a team desperate to play all its game on the road or at a neutral site for most of the season.
General manager Don Sweeney might consider adding at the deadline based on the Bruins’ hot play and the weakness of the Eastern Conference. His best bet, though, is to stand pat. When your team is running like a fine-tuned machine, don’t take a chance throwing a monkey wrench into the works.
At least before the Bruins moved into a second-place tie with Ottawa on Tuesday, Sweeney didn’t seem eager to pull the trigger on a trade.
“You recognize what the team needs and how well they’re playing,” Sweeney said. “Do you have enough depth? But it’s always been with an eye towards the commitment to what we’ve put in place and moving forward. Most of the conversations revolve around some of the particular prospects that we feel are going to be a big part of our organization and we’re not going to deviate.”
Enough depth? Who needs depth when you have 20 skaters (one extra forward, one extra defenseman) playing with the confidence and precision of the ‘80s Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins are scoring more than four goals a game since Cassidy unleashed his hounds. And they’re giving up more scoring chances around the home plate area than was thought possible but Tuukka Rask has again found his groove, possibly aided by the emergence of Anton Khudobin as a reliable backup (who’s actually played twice in one month).
Should the Bruins run into injuries or a lull in their play sometime during their final 19 games, their best bet would be to call up help from Providence. It’s worked so far with Peter Cehlarik playing in the top six. The youthful enthusiasm and naivety would probably provide the Bruins another spark. Don’t they remember the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk are waiting in the wings on defense, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly and Anton Blidh could give the Bruins a boost up front. Perhaps Charlie McAvoy and/or Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson will depart Boston University in time to help the Bruins’ playoff push.
With prices so high and the pool of available players thinning out after teams got an early jump on the deadline, Sweeney would be better off staying on his trade hiatus (no trades made since the deadline last winter) and letting the players he’s already imported or drafted try to push the Bruins back into the postseason.
“They’re going to do what they think’s best for the team and regardless if we get someone or not, we’re going to keep working,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “We’re going to push here to get into the playoffs, it’s all we care about. So whether we do something or not, we have the same goal at the end of the day. We’ll see what happens but we believe in this group in here and we know we can do some damage when we’re playing the way we are and that’s all that matters.”
No one’s begging for the Bruins to make an addition. They already triumphed in the acquisition standings by upgrading their coaching to Cassidy. Sweeney should join Cassidy for breakfast and video and let it ride up to and after 3 p.m.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.