Boston Bruins: Claude Julien Likely To Lose His Job


One of the biggest failings for the Bruins poor season lies at the feet of their head coach. While Claude Julien didn’t have the best possible hand to play this year, his inability to play the right cards at the right time doomed the Black and Gold this year. When the Bruins choose a new general manager, it’s likely that Julien’s firing will be the first thing on his agenda.

Claude Julien’s system is designed to stop goals. When the Bruins have a healthy core of defensemen, then the Julien system will work. The season looked promising for the B’s with nine NHL-ready blueliners at the start of training camp.’

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Then everything went to pot for the defensive core in Boston.  The Bruins traded away their best healthy defenseman before a game was played. Then their two most veteran blueliners(Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg) had to deal with injuries that severely hurt their chances. Even when the players came back, they certainly weren’t at one hundred percent.

This put the Bruins in the unlikeable position of playing Matt Bartkowski. While Bartkowski is a strong technical skater, he still has a strong ability to over-think plays. That led to mistakes, which led to goals, which led to losses. Out of necessity (or exasperation), Claude Julien had no choice but to bench his least injury-prone defenseman.

While the situation on the blueline was rough for the B’s, the offensive situation wasn’t entirely rosy. The Bruins were without the services of David Krejci for half the season. The loss of Krejci further eroded the game of Milan Lucic (who was probably the biggest disappointment on the team this year). This left the Bruins ‘top line’ as a mere shell of itself, and the line centered by Patrice Bergeron essentially became the B’s top line for the rest of the season.

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  • Claude Julien told the fans and the media that the Bruins would have a new, faster fourth line this season. On opening night, Julien sent a very mixed message by not playing the younger, faster, and certainly more talented players. He chose to suit up Bobby Robins. This gave the impression that Julien was going to go with a slightly different Merlot Line.

    Julien’s greatest mistake this season was not using the young talent he had at his disposal.  He kept using his veteran players that were under-performing while neglecting the AHL talent in front of him (One or two of those players should have beaten out the veterans for jobs this year). He didn’t use those players until injury and incompetence gave him no other choice but to use them.

    It’s not often that a head coach rips a player a new one in front of the media. Julien did it repeatedly to Ryan Spooner. For a while, it seemed that the Bruins bench boss just had it out for the guy. Spooner was bringing some offensive punch back to the team, and Claude just didn’t like it.

    Finally, Claude Julien couldn’t stop tinkering with the lines.  When the Bruins had a bad line, Julien would mix up the lines to find success. This worked with adding Chris Kelly to the ‘How Swede It Is’ line. There was good chemistry there, and it let to some success. It also led to some spectacular failures when he would mix up lines that didn’t need to be played with.

    A lot of this seasons’ failures were not the fault of Claude Julien. A lot of the fans and the local media agree with that assessment. Unfortunately, they also agree that enough of the problems can be laid at the feet of the head coach. Those failings are what will likely cause Julien to be dismissed once a new general manager is hired in Boston.

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