Bruins hire Jim Montgomery as new coach

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Andrew Raycroft reacts to hiring of Jim Montgomery

The Bruins have found their man.

The team officially announced on Friday afternoon that it has hired Jim Montgomery as its next head coach. Montgomery will replace Bruce Cassidy, who was fired earlier this month.

"The Boston Bruins are pleased to introduce Jim Montgomery as the next head coach of the Boston Bruins and welcome Jim, his wife, Emily, and his children, JP, Colin, Ava and Olivia, to the city of Boston," said general manager Don Sweeney in a statement. "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."

Montgomery beat out the likes of David Quinn, Jay Leach and Mike Vellucci, who were all believed to be finalists.

Montgomery, who turned 53 on Thursday, has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues, where he helped run a power play that ranked second in the NHL this past season.

He was the head coach of the Dallas Stars for almost one and a half seasons from 2018-19. After leading the Stars to the second round of the playoffs in his first season, he was fired 31 games into his second for “unprofessional conduct.”

Montgomery later revealed that he had a drinking problem and had checked himself into rehab in Jan. 2020. He has said that the Stars made the right call in firing him and that it forced him to finally confront his alcohol abuse.

Montgomery was previously the head coach at the University of Denver for five seasons from 2013-18. The Pioneers made the NCAA Tournament every year he was there, made two Frozen Fours, and won the national championship in 2017. Montgomery also won a national title as a star player at the University of Maine in 1993.

Montgomery, a Montreal native, played 122 games in the NHL across parts of six seasons with the Blues, Stars, Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks. Prior to taking the Denver job, he was head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL and led the team to two Clark Cup titles in three seasons. Montgomery's teams have made the postseason in all nine of his full seasons as a head coach.

Montgomery will be tasked with helping the Bruins compete now -- with reportedly at least one more year of Patrice Bergeron -- while also working to develop younger players as the team inevitably transitions away from Bergeron in the next couple years.

Montgomery has generally drawn positive reviews from players wherever he's gone, and he obviously has experience working with youth in the USHL and college.