The Boston Bruins currently sit in second place in the National Hockey League's East Division but with two games in hand on the first place Washington Capitals you could argue that they are in a prime position to claim that top spot from the Capitals.
In spite of this relative level of success on the part of the Bruins this season it was clear on Sunday that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was not happy with what he had seen from his players in back to back losses. I don't think it is overstating to to suggest that Cassidy was looking to send a clear message to his locker room ahead of their afternoon matchup against the New York Rangers.
Cassidy announced significant changes to his lineup ahead of the game, giving Greg McKegg, Karson Kuhlman and Steven Kampfer a start in today's came as he looks to shake the Bruins out of their rut. The injection of these 3 players also means that 3 other Bruins will be on the sidelines as a result of today's lineup changes and the players taking a seat today will be Chris Wagner, Anders Bjork and John Moore. Now you could look at this and make a direct line between Cassidy's message and the players being cut, but I suspect that the message was directed at the entire locker room rather than just Wagner, Bjork and Moore.
When he was asked about the decision Cassidy also strongly hinted at the fact that there was a message being sent to his players.
"I need to see us play much more to our identity & start feeling good about our game," said Cassidy on Sunday. Usually when we do that we win because we have a lot of good players."
Cassidy also stressed that his players needed to be reminded of the value of being in the lineup on a regular basis, the implication being that he feels some players have gotten too comfortable.
"Shake it up a little bit so that people understand the value of being in the lineup every night," said Cassidy prior to Sunday's game.
The Bruins and their head coach will not have to wait long to see how the team responds.
Photo Credit: Anthony Nesmith/CSM/Zuma