Boston Gives Former Stars Head Coach Second Chance in NHL The Bruins made it official, officially stating that Jim Montgomery is set to be their new head coach. The Blues assistant and former Stars head coach will be the 29th coach in Boston franchise history and the third since 2007. Montgomery was the coach of the Stars for the 2018-19 season and the beginning of the 2019-20 season. He was fired in December 2019 for “unprofessional conduct.” Montgomery later announced that he was checking himself into a rehab for alcohol abuse and it was reported that Stars GM Jim Nill had fired Montgomery because of concerns about his drinking.
Boston Gives Former Stars Head Coach Second Chance in NHL
The 53-year-old has since gotten clean and spent the past two seasons as the assistant for the Blues on Craig Berube’s staff, focusing especially on the power play. This season, the Bruins made the playoffs as the first wild card team in the Eastern Conference, but fell in the first round to the Stars Head Coach Second Chance in NHL Hurricanes in seven games. The front office elected to fire Bruce Cassidy after six seasons with the organization, opening a spot on the bench. Cassidy was hired a week later by the Golden Knights.
Why did the Bruins hire Jim Montgomery?
Wherever Montgomery has gone, the teams have found success, and all signs were pointing toward him being able to do the same in the NHL before he was forced to step aside and take care of himself. He began his coaching career in the NCAA as an assistant at Notre Dame and RPI before he was hired by the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2010. During his first year with Dubuque, Montgomery helped the team to win the USHL championship. The team would win it all again two years later in 2012-13.
Montgomery was hired to be the head coach at the University of Denver starting in 2013, spending five seasons with the school. Denver went to two Frozen Fours and won an NCAA championship in 2017 during its time with Montgomery at the helm. He was regarded as one of the top up-and-coming coaches when the Stars hired him in 2018 to take over for Ken Hitchcock. In his first season in the NHL.
With the Blues, Montgomery worked with the power play and created a very effective group in St. Louis. After ranking sixth in the league during the 2020-21 season, the Blues were second to just the Maple Leafs this past year, producing at a rate of 27.0 percent. He’ll be able to help a Bruins power play that dropped off this season, finishing 15th with a success rate of 21.2 percent.
In addition, according to Joe McDonald of The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a former Bruin and current NHL player told him, “Jim Montgomery is great coach and even better person. The guys will love playing for him and he will make this team a contender.” That bodes well considering the reports that part of the reason for the Cassidy firing was that some of the players did not see eye-to-eye with the coach. After two seasons as an assistant, Montgomery gets his opportunity again to prove he can coach in the NHL.
It is a bit of a surprising move, as Bowness was not previously linked to the opening in Winnipeg. The long-time coach had chosen earlier in the offseason to step down from his position with Dallas. While rumors of retirement circulated, the 67-year-old made it clear that he intended to coach again, and he gets that chance with the Jets. During his time in Dallas, Bowness compiled a record of 89-62-25. After making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020, the team failed to make the postseason last season and was bounced in the first round of the 2022 playoffs in seven games by the Flames.