Bruce Cassidy was surprised Bruins fired him, hopes to be a head coach in 2022-23

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Cassidy was surprised Bruins fired him, hopes to be a head coach in 2022-23 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Bruce Cassidy being fired as Boston Bruins head coach earlier this week wasn't a total shock based on comments made by general manager Don Sweeney and team president Cam Neely at their end-of-season pressers last month, but it still was a bit or a surprise.

It sounds like Cassidy was caught off guard to some degree as well.

Bruins should consider these five head coach candidates to replace Cassidy

Cassidy did a Zoom call with several reporters Thursday where he gave his first public comments since the Bruins relieved him of his coaching duties. Among the topics were his discussions with Sweeney after the Bruins' playoff run ended in mid-May.

“The end-of-year meeting was that I would be coaching on the (final) year of my deal, and that’s how we would be proceeding forward,” Cassidy told reporters, including WEEI's Scott McLaughlin. “Sometimes, there’s talks after the year, right away there’s coaches let go, or there’s extensions, there’s status quo. So that was the message: It will be status quo.”

Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday that "Cassidy was told he was safe during his season-ending exit meeting with upper management two weeks ago."

So, what changed from the exit meetings between management and Cassidy last month to his actual firing earlier this week? Did ownership step in?

Either way, this is a pretty bad look for the Bruins. They clearly did not handle this process well, and that's excluding the fact that the actual firing made little sense given the excellent job Cassidy did as head coach over five-plus seasons with the B's.

The whole situation has a look of dysfunction, which isn't an encouraging sign for a franchise that could face some major decisions this offseason depending on what happens with Patrice Bergeron's future and David Pastrnak's contract extension talks.

Cassidy, meanwhile, is hoping to land with a new team by next season. He wants to coach, and several teams have already contacted Cassidy since he was fired by the Bruins, per the Ottawa Sun.