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Monday, June 23
Updated: June 23, 11:48 AM ET
Sullivan's a perfect fit
By Barry Melrose
Special to ESPN.com
Finally, one of the worst kept secrets in the NHL is out of the bag: Mike Sullivan is the new coach of the Boston Bruins. Sullivan had experience with the Bruins last season as an assistant and already has a relationship with some of the players.
This move should be a perfect fit for the Bruins.
At 35 years old, Sullivan's not far removed from his playing days and will be able to relate to his players. With such a young team, this should be quite an asset. There will be pressure because of his youth, but if he's a good coach it won't be a problem. Also, his time in Providence as the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliates' coach will serve him well because he's already coached some of the Bruins. That will allow him to continue his relationships with these players without the "ice breaker" phase that's often needed when a coach starts with a team.
The only weakness on this team is their goaltending and that will be a priority because it's contributed to their inability to get to the next level. But they have a superstar in Joe Thornton, they're a strong defensive team and are young. And most importantly, they have an owner who is not afraid to spend money to better this team. That's incredibly important to the success of the franchise.
It also can't be forgotten that at the end of last season, this team looked as good as any in the NHL. And as proven by Anaheim this season, once you get to the playoffs it's anybody's game.
Sullivan is from Massachusetts and that will help because he'll understand the fans' frustrations and he knows how rabid they can be. Knowing that going into the situation is incredibly helpful to a coach because he knows how high the expectations will be.
I think Sullivan will do a fine job and hope that he understands the importance of coaching an original six team. It's time for the Bruins to reclaim their past glories and hopefully he's the right person to lead them back to the top.