Well, it looks like the Buffalo Sabres finally bowed to the inevitable and gave Lindy Ruff his walking papers. After 1,165 NHL games (all in Buffalo), Ruff was let go for a long series of suffering seasons. (The last time the Sabres had gotten to the Stanley Cup Finals was 1999.) The 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets proved to be the final straw for the organization. Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News when he was asked who was to blame for their earlier anemic 3-6-1 start that “It won’t be the coach.” Amazing what two weeks and a few more losses will do to your perspective.(Their record is now 6-10-1.)
Fortunately for the Bruins and Bruins Nation, we got Claude Julien. Claude Julien came over to us on June 21, 2007. He is currently the 28th career head coach, and third in all-time wins amongst them. He brought a one great franchise that had taken a turn for the worst and got them back into the playoffs his first year. (In fact, there hasn’t been a year that Claude Julien hasn’t led the Bruins into the post season.) He was awarded the Jack Adams Award for the best NHL coach in 2009. (An award Ruff had earned a few years earlier.)
What we of the Nation will always admire and love Julien for was how he made us a force again. Sure, we had great talent. Yes, Peter Chiarelli made a lot of good trades for the franchise. It was Coach Julien though that took that talent and forged the Bruins into champions. The Bruins have been perennial Cup Contenders. We’ve dominated the Northeast Division for the last few years. We’ve gone from being the seventh and eighth seed to the first or second. Oh, and less we forget there was that little matter of us winning our first Stanley Cup in thirty nine years with Julien at the helm.
I did argue after our first loss to Buffalo that Lindy Ruff’s insulting time out was going to cause a severe karma backlash. *smirk* Well, guess that didn’t take that long did it?