Cassidy: Bruins doing ‘too much thinking, not enough frickin’ playing’

Matt Kalman
April 20, 2019 - 2:43 pm

The Bruins have their backs against the wall trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference first round heading into Game 6 on the road Sunday.

A mix of older players who’ve on the Stanley Cup and younger players that are in the first or second Stanley Cup playoffs run, it would be natural for the Bruins to be tense. That feeling might’ve even settled in prior to Boston’s 2-1 Game 5 loss on Friday.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday he detected some guys may have been too loose in Game 5, and some may have been tight. Whatever the case, he has a cure for them.

“We’ve been pretty much a team that plays on our toes. You win some and you lose some. We won a lot more than we lost, but that’s typically how we play and I’d like to see us go back to our identity in that regard,” he said after a full practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “Now some of that has been ‘well Toronto stretches the zone, we’ve got to be [aware>,’ so maybe there’s just too much thinking and not enough frickin’ playing, and that’s kind of what we’re up against now.”

Upon watching the video of Boston’s Game 5 loss, Cassidy said he saw his players passing up way too many scoring chances and being reluctant to shoot. Cassidy faulted a “lack of urgency” that the Bruins have dealt with throughout the series. He’s hoping the coaching staff and the veteran core can coax that out of the Bruins in Game 6.

“I don’t think this team has reached where it can get to yet in the playoffs in terms of team play,” he said. “We’ve had pockets of it, we’ve certainly played well at times, full value I think for both our wins. Zero-zero [Friday> night, so you’re in the game, 3-2 game in Toronto [a Game 3 los>, you’re in the game, obviously we didn’t like our first game [a 4-1 loss>. But we have to reach our level if we want to expect to advance.

“So you hope that your veteran guys get that message across. You know we’re far on here, Game 6, so I’m certainly working on getting that message across and I hope they get it across. We have no room for error. So whoever gets it across, it needs to be bought into. It’s time, we’ve got step up our urgency.”

If Cassidy knew exactly why the Bruins haven’t shifted their game into full-time playoff mode, he would have fixed it earlier. What unfolds Sunday at ScotiaBank Arena will tell Cassidy and everyone more about the Bruins than anything that’s happened up to this point.

“So we thought after Game 1 we weren’t ready, we’re coming into the playoffs, we had some time off, it didn’t work in our favor,” Cassidy said. “Hopefully it’ll work in our favor down the road. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know because clearly we’ll see in Game 6 and then if there’s a Game 7 whether the rest pays off, or even farther down the road.

“Is it just Toronto that is taking out of our game? Is it we’re just not on time to starting, yet we are some nights? We’re not executing to the level we can because of Toronto or because we’re not focused.

“We made some mental mistakes [Friday> night on our forecheck. Guys that we rely on to be in the right spots in the neutral-zone forecheck, our defensive-kind of players that are playing against [>, they made bad reads. That’s frustrating as a coach at game 87. … So you’re like ‘have I not gone through it or are these guys just not dialed in?’ So we’re going to keep sending that message, but they better get dialed in here. … No room for error now.”

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