Claude Julien Denies the Boston Bruins Are Rebuilding.


Don Sweeney knew that he was going to agitate a lot of people in the Boston Bruins fan base. First he traded Dougie Hamilton, which flew in the face of common sense and started the use of the word ‘rebuild’ to describe Boston.  Then he moved Milan Lucic as if to say “I’ve played Old Time Hockey, and I say it doesn’t work here anymore.”

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So, what can a busy GM do after he’s alienated a fair portion of the fans? Go and make some interesting (and one downright puzzling) draft picks. Did this mollify the fan base? If you heard the boos at the Draft, or catch the bewilderment of the fans on social media, that answer is a plaintive ‘No!’. (This being Boston I’m sure there was a colorful expletive or two before the ‘no’.)

So, in a rather unusual bit for the Bruins organization, they went into damage control mode.  Don Sweeney and Cam Neely took to the air waves and cyberspace to defend their team’s positions. They even got Claude Julien in front of the microphones to help support the ‘rebuild that’s not supposed to sound or look like a rebuild’.

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  • “I think you’ve got to give Donnie [Sweeney] a lot of credit,” said Julien of his new GM’s actions. He just stepped into this role with a lot on his plate,” said Julien when addressing the media after the B’s general manager had made his three picks at the 13th, 14th and 15th spots in the first round. “There was a lot going on, and some tough decisions to be made. Personally I’m pretty impressed with how he handled it.

    “That’s not to say I’m happy that Doug Hamilton and Milan Lucic are gone. We just lost two pretty good players, but those were moves that probably had to be made with the situation we were in, and the cap and everything else. They decided to make some decisions regarding the future of the Bruins, and they had to make those decisions. I’m a coach that likes to have the support of upper management, so I’m going to support upper management on that.”

    Julien knows what it means to be on the downside of upper management. He was fired from two clubs (Montreal and New Jersey) in spite of having winning records at the time of his release. So, you can’t blame the guy for covering his hindquarters here.

    “I’m the coach here and I’ll work with whatever players we have because there’s obviously going to be some new players,” said Julien. “We’re going to make it work. I’m not looking at this as rebuilding…not at all. We’re going out there to win hockey games, and to be a really competitive team. That will be part of my job.”

    So, it’s not a rebuild.

    While the Bruins front office may say it’s not a rebuild, the fans and the analysts disagree. During the draft, the commentators kept using the ‘R-word’ to describe Sweeney’s actions. Now the Bruins do now have a lot of spots unfilled. The fourth line is gone. Krejci has no wingers, and the Bruins defensive lines are questionable after Chara-Seidenberg.

    In three years, Sweeney’s moves might be an outstanding example of foresight. Right now, a lot of people are wondering just what’s going on in the TD Garden.

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