The Boston Bruins have hired Jim Montgomery as their new head coach. Montgomery replaces Bruce Cassidy, who was fired on June 6.
“Jim has a winning history, and throughout the interview process he conveyed his ability to connect with all types of players while also demanding that his teams play with structure. We are excited for Jim to begin to make his imprint on our team,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
The 53-year-old Montgomery had spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. The move was made official on Friday, the same day his contract expired.
This will be Montgomery’s second NHL head coaching job. He was behind the Dallas Stars’ bench from May 2018 until Dec. 10, 2019 when he was fired for a “material act of unprofessionalism,” according to general manager Jim Nill. Three weeks later Montgomery checked himself into a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse.
Montgomery and the ‘process’
The new Bruins head coach brings a “process” for success to Boston. It’s a recipe that was inspired by the late Shawn Walsh, Montgomery’s head coach when he was a player at the University of Maine. It includes winning 60% of face-offs, blocking shots, giving up at most three odd-man rushes, dishing out 50 hits, winning special teams and net front battles, and staying disciplined when it comes to committing penalties.
“If we’re four out of seven in a game, we’re probably going to win that game,” Montgomery wrote on The Coaches’ Site in 2016. “And if we’ve got five or six, the games actually become lopsided in our favour.”
Over the last two seasons, with Montgomery heading special teams, the Blues rank second in the NHL on the power play (25.5%) and 10th (81.3%) on the penalty kill. (The Stars were No. 4 in face-offs, fifth in blocked shots, and fifth on the penalty kill in his only full season in charge in Dallas.)
Stars missing from the start
When Montgomery gathers his players for his first training camp in Boston, he’ll do so without a number of familiar faces. Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk will miss the start of the season while Patrice Bergeron has not officially made a decision on his future — though, it appears he will be back, possibly with David Krejčí, who is pondering what’s next for his career.