It’s safe to say Claude Julien has dealt with his fair share of criticism as he enters his seventh season with the Boston Bruins. Whether it’s making sure he rolls four lines regardless of the situation. Julien tends to not demonstrate a sense of urgency; everyone recalls watching game 4 against the Canadiens and seeing the fourth line out for a crucial face-off about halfway through the 3rd period trailing 2-1.
There has also been complaint after complaint about Julien’s ability to recognize when a line may not be clicking and applying the necessary changes to ensure the team’s success. With the constant pressure and demand for success in the NHL, it’s no surprise that Julien’s name is being mentioned as being the next head coach being on the hot seat of a premier and Stanley Cup contending franchise.
However, has there truly ever been a time where Julien hasn’t been on a short leash besides the year after winning the Stanley Cup. Keep in mind, there were plenty of fans who were asking for Julien to be fired if the team didn’t finish off their series against the Maple Leafs. The fact that coaching is a win now business along with Boston having a very passionate following has put additional pressure on Julien to manage this roster and win consistently.
The loss to the Canadiens left a very sour taste in the mouth of Bruins fans and was seen again as another opportunity loss. The Bruins offseason has seen the loss of Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton, and potentially others as well. Reinforcements do not seem to be on the way and questions are being raised about whether Julien’s mettle will be tested by being forced to think outside of his comfort zone.
With with sounds like an influx of younger players in the Bruins system heading to the big club; Julien will be tested from the start of training camp to figure out how to retool a team that should have expectations to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Julien most likely will not have the ability to roll four lines as frequently due to some missing talent.
However, I understand Julien should be expected to make the necessary changes to ensure his team is successful, but shouldn’t part of the blame go to the fact that he’s not playing with as much of a loaded deck as last year. Thanks to some poor financial management, Julien is challenged in a way he hasn’t been for the last couple of years. Julien has been able to instill and employ a system that has led to consistent success and attempts at a Stanley Cup.
However, if the Bruins fall short of making it to the conference finals for the third time in four years, it could end up being Julien whose seat becomes a lot warmer.