When Patriots fans woke up this morning ready to head out to the streets of Boston for the Super Bowl parade, Bruins fans woke up feeling ready to riot when they heard that Claude Julien had been fired by Cam Neely and Don Sweeney. Julien, now formerly the longest tenured coach in the NHL, had been sitting on the hot seat for the better part of two seasons, and after an exhausting loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night, ownership believed it was his time.
In all honestly, I feel bad for Julien. After leading the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011 by winning three Game 7s, they’ve missed the playoffs the last two seasons. What’s really to fault though? Is it Claude’s coaching? Maybe. It certainly isn’t everything, and for the rest (which feels like a lot), the front office is very much to blame. Maligned moves like trading Johnny Boychuk, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, in hindsight not keeping Martin Jones for more than 24 hours, left Julien hampered to find consistency. Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes, especially the latter, haven’t panned out as well as Bruins under Julien’s reign. Is that because Julien couldn’t coach them well or because they aren’t the best fits in the Bruins system? That remains to be seen.
Sitting now just out of a playoff spot after their loss on Saturday, the B’s are 26-23-6 (58 points) through 55 games. The timing of this move feels fishier than the fresh catch coming through the wharf this morning. In the end, is this going to change the luck of the team (ironically, the team has a tremendously low PDO) and propel them into the playoffs? Again, it remains to be seen, but with how many games in hand better looking teams like Toronto has and the Bruins bye week coming up, it doesn’t feel likely. For right now, all eyes are pointed right at the front office. If this is the change they want to make to rationalize they want success, then they’re going to have to do a lot more to back that up.