Terry O’Reilly, known for his hard work and rough playing style as a Boston Bruin, resigned Monday after nearly three seasons as the Bruins’ coach to spend more time with his family.
“To do your best at this job takes total, total commitment,” he said. “I recognize that and I have to say, ‘Not right now.’ ”
General Manager Harry Sinden said Mike Milbury, coach last season of Boston’s American Hockey League team in Maine, and current Boston assistant John Cunniff were the only candidates to replace O’Reilly, but others could materialize.
Sinden said O’Reilly would remain with the club in a position yet to be determined.
“A lot of the players are disappointed,” forward Bob Joyce said. “He was definitely a players’ coach. He was a motivator. He wasn’t a technician.”
O’Reilly, 37, retired as a player in 1985 after a 13-year National Hockey League career, all with Boston. He succeeded Butch Goring, who was fired Nov. 5, 1986. The Bruins were 5-7-1 under Goring that season and 34-27-6 under O’Reilly.
Boston, eliminated in the first playoff round in each of the four previous seasons, made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1987-88, its first full season under O’Reilly. The Edmonton Oilers won that championship round, four games to none.
This season, the Bruins beat the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, before being eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, in the second round.