Claude Julien is the best coach in the history of the Boston Bruins. But, you know what? Nature has run its course, and it is time. Claude, I love you, I mean it, but it is time for the Boston Bruins to fire this man.
Let me start off by saying it is not Julien’s fault that the Bruins did not qualify for the playoffs for the second year in a row. The roster has a ton of flaws and the blue line that Don Sweeney and Cam Neely put together is laughable. If it was not Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, or, occasionally, Loui Eriksson, the Bruins were not scoring. Julien certainly did not have a good roster and that is not his fault.
An average NHL coach lasts somewhere around 4-5 seasons with a club. Julien, if by some miracle doesn’t get fired, will be entering his 10th year in Boston. His success is something that cannot be disputed. Two Stanley Cup final appearances, one Stanley Cup, The President’s trophy winner, and the Jack Adams award winner. With the amount of terrible coaches littered throughout the league, Julien will not have any issues finding a new job.
So, why do I believe he should be fired? To me, it seems like the locker room has tuned out the coach. His message is not getting through to all of the players. In the last two seasons, the Bruins have one of the worst records in hockey in March and April. The roster is not great, but it is good enough to qualify for the playoffs in a weak eastern conference. Julien, by definition has underachieved over the last two seasons.
That is the way it works in sports. You cannot get rid of 25 players, so, to change the culture or the message, you have to change the coach. Julien’s message simply is not being heard like it used too, in the room. Joel Quenneville, the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, has won three Cups in the last six seasons and he is safe. Sutter in Los Angeles, Babcock in Toronto, and Trotz in Washington are all safe. Other than that, coaches go up and down in this league, and guys get fired.
Firing Julien will not help the Bruins get good defenseman, firing Julien will not help the Bruins fix the drafting issues, and firing Julien will not help the Bruins score goals when it matters. But, this team needs a culture change and firing Claude Julien would be a great way to start. The next coach may be worse, but, the message will change, it is immensely important for Don Sweeney to pick the right guy. He won’t be better than Julien in year one, but that shouldn’t be expected.
When Julien got to Boston, the franchise was a joke. Julien is an awesome coach and he was a big part of getting this franchise back to relevancy, but, it is time. Everything comes to an end and this is it. Claude Julien should be, and I think will be, fired by the Boston Bruins.