Striking Balance Key To Coaching Bruins For Jim Montgomery

First-year Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery isn’t looking to push perfection onto his players.

Instead, the 53-year-old bench boss seems to have a firm understanding of when to get on his veteran-laden group and when to relax the reins as well.

It’s a delicate balance to find, especially when coaching the team with the best record in hockey at 25-4-2, but Montgomery has struck it this season thanks to a learning experience he had with the Dallas Stars during the 2019-20 season.

“I think it’s a balance you develop,” Montgomery told reporters Tuesday, per team-provided video. “I think my second year as a head coach we had a really good team and I think I pushed too hard with that group. And I think I learned that if you’re trying to be perfect, you become very negative. And then the players kind of start playing safe, and to me safety is a good way to find yourself on the wrong side of a lot of games. You can’t be safe.”

It’s a philosophy from Montgomery it feels Boston needed, especially after Bruce Cassidy’s message seemed to grow stale at the end of his tenure with the club, and one that has paid ample dividends with the Bruins getting off to a historic start and having yet to lose in regulation on home ice.

Montgomery has certainly pushed all the right buttons, including in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets when he felt the team would benefit more from hearing a message from captain Patrice Bergeron than from him prior to a pivotal third period.

That’s some of the balance Montgomery has found in his second go-around as a head coach and the Bruins have responded incredibly well to it.

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