Boston Bruins Claude Julien Making All The Right Moves


Even though the Boston Bruins have not had the start that they wanted to the regular season, Claude Julien has done an excellent job in putting the right players on the ice every night. Every move he has made thus far has had a positive result and has allowed the team to climb out of their slump.

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  • For the goalies, Claude Julien was able to play backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson precisely when a backup should be played; when the team needs a big win and the starter isn’t able to get the job done. Not only was Julien able to get a win with the backup, but he was also able to throw Tuukka Rask back into the net assuring him that he is the guy that the Bruins will play and win with. With a win in Arizona, Rask has hopefully regained some confidence going forward.

    On defense, when Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were both out with injuries, Julien chose to keep up the organizations top defensive prospects, Joe Morrow, Colin Miller and Zach Trotman, to give them the experience of playing big minutes. Instead of sending one of them down to the Providence Bruins, Matt Irwin got put on waivers. Also, when another defenseman was needed, Julien chose not to bring Matt Irwin back up and instead turned to longtime Providence Bruins defenseman, Tommy Cross, to fill the void. Cross was able to get an assist in the Bruins win against the Arizona Coyotes.

    Jan 13, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    Claude Julien’s decisions on forward have been especially impressive during the early stages of the regular season. Julien has benched and also played fourth liners Joonas Kemppainen, Max Talbot and Tyler Randell. Already instilling in them that every game they play could be their last one if they don’t do the right things, the fourth line players have become very impactful on a nightly basis.

    Choosing to move Chris Kelly up to the third line and Brett Connolly up to the second line, when Brad Marchand was injured was another example of Julien using the team, and players, that he was given. Kelly has always been more of a third line player throughout his career, so to have him available when injury strikes is very advantageous. It is also, very helpful to have such talent on the third line, like Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Brett Connolly, so that if the top six forwards ever do need a hand, they are there to help.

    Out of the all the moves that Claude Julien has had to make so far, his best one came prior to the game against the Arizona Coyotes. With Brad Marchand coming back into the line up, Julien decided that he liked how the third and fourth lines were looking and did not want to change them. So, he sat Brett Connolly, who was filling in for the absent Marchand. This move shows that, not just the bottom nine, but all of the forwards on this team can be sat at a moment’s notice. Tyler Randell, one of the more likely players to have sat if Connolly did not, scored his second goal of the season and cemented himself even more into the fourth line role.

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    The way that Claude Julien is managing the Boston Bruins right now is how a team, regardless of who is on it, becomes a hard team to beat. Everything else aside, the thing players want to do the most is just play. When just making the on ice roster is something you can no longer take for granted, the motivation and urgency increases. This has been evident in the Bruins last three games and has resulted in better player and better results.

    There have been some impressive players on this Bruins team in the first two weeks, but if I were to choose an MVP for the first half of October, it would be Claude Julien. He is showing Bruins management and fans alike that he wants to win and will make any decision necessary to put the best team he can on the ice every night.

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