There is something to be said about Claude Julien. Julien was the only head coach in the NHL to be fired while having winning records in two seperate franchises. He was fired by both the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils( In the 2005-06, 2006-07 years respectively.) It’s a dubious honor for sure, but there was something in his demeanor, something that impressed the Jacobs family, and it’s what brought Claude Julien to Boston at the start of the 2007-08 season. The Bruins have never finished below third in their division, and have made the playoffs every year since.
Currently, he’s the second-longest tenured head coach in the Eastern Conference behind Detroit Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock. Partially, his time in office speaks to the way some teams go through coaches like they were toilet paper. On the other side of the coin, it speaks to the willingness of the Bruins home office to accept the logic of the defensive-minded, three zone hockey that Coach Julien subscribes too. Three hundred wins since 2007-08 also speaks to the desire of players wanting to come to Boston and play for a championship-caliber team.
It should be said that the Julien system does not work for everyone. For every Patrice Bergeron who is willing to sublimate himself to a system that makes sense, there is a Phil Kessel who just wants to play offense alone. (The fact that Kessel hasn’t made it past the first round with the Leafs should have illuminated his personal error in judgment. For every Brad Marchand who is willing to give up a part of his feisty chirpiness in order to be a better mesh with the team, there is a Tyler Seguin who just wants to play the part he wants to, and not be part of a group mentality.
(For those of you who would like to argue, I in no way will argue that Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin are not outstanding hockey players. They are. Their “problem” is that they still want to play hockey around themselves, and not completely buy in to a team mentality. It will probably take Tyler Seguin a couple of seasons of scratching and clawing for the number eight post season berth to realize just how amazing it was for him in Boston. As for Phil Kessel, I think he’s understands now, but in his case it comes down to ‘right man, wrong team’.)