Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney appreciates what interim head coach Bruce Cassidy has accomplished with the team but is not yet ready to make a long-term commitment.

Sweeney promoted Cassidy to replace Claude Julien, who was dismissed on Feb. 7. The Bruins responded to the change by winning four straight and finished February with a 7-1 mark.

“Am I ready to hire Bruce Cassidy?” said Sweeney in response to a reporter’s question during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts. “I’m certainly enjoying the fact that we are in a playoff race here and getting that done, and we’ll go from there.”

The Bruins currently sit in the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot, three points clear of Tampa Bay, which has a game in hand.

Boston won five of the first seven in March before spiraling into a four-game losing streak. The Bruins recovered with consecutive wins over the Islanders and Predators and will host the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

WILD: Forward Zach Parise will likely miss the next three games, with bruising and swelling around his eye from a high stick to the face that led to blows to the head as he fell.

Parise was struck Tuesday by Washington’s Tom Wilson before he crashed into the knee of another opponent and hit the ice. Parise needed assistance to the locker room and didn’t return.

THE NHL will release teams’ protected and available lists to the public before the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft in June.

The league announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday. NHL general managers had expressed a desire to keep the lists private.

All 30 existing teams must submit their list of protected players by 5 p.m. EDT June 17. Vegas must submit its selections by 5 p.m. June 20, with the announcement of those picks made June 21.


BLACKHAWKS 5, PENGUINS 1: Artemi Panarin and Richard Panik started a four-goal first period as visiting Chicago moved closer to locking up the Central Division title.

Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa also scored during an explosive first period as the Blackhawks moved nine points clear of second-place Minnesota with five games left in the regular season. Tanner Nero added a breakaway goal in the third. Patrick Kane picked up two assists to move past Sidney Crosby and into second place in the NHL scoring race.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots for Chicago, which beat the Penguins in regulation on the road for the first time since 1997.

Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 31 saves but received little help outside of Bryan Rust’s third-period goal. The defending Stanley Cup champions saw their winless streak reach four games, and their chances to catch first-place Washington atop the Metropolitan Division took another hit.