On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced the firing of head coach Claude Julien after almost 10 seasons behind the bench and one Stanley Cup championship in two attempts.
Julien was the longest tenured head coach in the NHL, but his prior success and pedigree no longer matter for Don Sweeney and Cam Neely. Currently, the Bruins are just one point out of a Wild Card spot, which is surprising, based on the lack of overall talent on the roster. Assistant head coach Bruce Cassidy will now finish the season as interim head coach.
There have been rumors, for a couple years now, that Julien’s run with the B’s was coming to an end, so the firing should not be a major surprise. However, the way they announced the firing proved that the upper management and front office of the Boston Bruins is cowardly and refuse to hold any accountability for the numerous mistakes they have made since reaching the Stanley Cup in 2013. It epitomizes what has become once a proud and great franchise, into one that I am currently ashamed to root for.
The announcement was made just a few hours before the Patriots Super Bowl parade, which was the big storyline of the day. Neely and Sweeney clearly wanted this firing to fly under the radar. I was at the Patriots parade, and when I returned to school plenty of students, who are your average hockey fans, had no idea the firing had even happened.
The press conference for the announcement was scheduled for 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, approximately 30 minutes after the Patriots parade started. Clearly knowing that the majority of eyes would be glued to the festivities in Boston, the Bruins held their own little gathering that hardly anyone watched or cared for.
This is much more than just a firing of a head coach. This is about a front office that had no decency. There’s not an organization out there that wants to fire a head coach, but Claude deserved more on his way out the door. There has never been such a thing as a “pretty” firing, but the way he was let go was shallow, especially for all the great things Julien has done for the franchise.
(actual footage of me hearing the news of Claude’s firing)
Julien was doing the best he could with a roster full of names that, quite frankly shouldn’t be in the NHL, even guys who I happen to like watch play. Should guys like Riley Nash, Austin Czarnik (who I happen to like), Tim Schaller, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid be getting a decent amount of minutes in the NHL? Absolutely not. Half of these guys were castoffs elsewhere, and now see time on the power play.
Julien’s top defender is a 39 year-old man who can’t move anymore and has lost plenty of power on his slap shot.
It’s certainly not Claude Julien’s fault that the Bruins decided to sign Matt Beleskey, trade for Hayes and John Michael-Liles, sign David Backes, Nash and extend McQuaid and Kevan Miller. I won’t even begin to talk about Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson because that would be overkill. The only signing that has really paid off is Dominic Moore, a 36 year-old penalty killer that has never scored more than 20 goals in a season.
The guys making the decisions have screwed this team now, and for the future. There is still not a lot of cap space with a team with an aging core that has seen better days.
A rebuild is imminent, and at least the firing of Julien makes me believe that Cam Neely and Don Sweeney are starting to realize it. But to rebuild, you need a complete overhaul. But what is the value of players like Backes, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara. The guys who have no long-term (hopefully) future with the team?
It’s time to focus on developing young players such as Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano and Brandon Carlo. For a good as David Pastrnak is, the sky is the limit for the 20 year old winger. There is talent in the farm system, but recent history shows that this is a franchise that can’t develop their own talent.
From top to bottom, the Boston Bruins need a makeover. The players lack talent, and without a great new head coach, this team could be in the dumps for a while. The front office knows they need to rebuild, but want to stay somewhat competitive and don’t know how to start the rebuilding process. A deadly combination. Figure it out, Bruins.
Cover Photo via The Boston Globe
Gif via Ride The Pine