Boston Bruins forward Frank Vatrano is the second B’s forward to come forward to complain about their treatment under ex-head coach Claude Julien.
After Thursday’s morning practice, Boston Bruins forward Frank Vatrano discussed his difficult relationship with Claude Julien. Julien was relieved of his responsibilities as the B’s head coach on February 7. Vatrano joins Ryan Spooner is in his critical opinion of the former Bruins bench boss.
Vatrano is certainly happy with the promotion of Bruce Cassidy to interim head coach. Vatrano has worked with Cassidy in Providence. He’s also found a measure of stability with the new coach. He’s currently playing on the third line with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes.
“For me, I didn’t have the best relationship with Claude, said Vatrano to the media. But that comes with time. Obviously now with Butch [Cassidy] here I have a good relationship with him having been with him last year. Obviously Claude had his guys and he trusted the guys that he’d had for a while. It’s something you can understand especially if they had a good relationship with him. At the end of the day I didn’t have the best relationship with him, but I think he liked me as a player. I liked playing for him while he was here.
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“He had those other guys that were ‘his guys’ in those spots where it was a spot you thought you could be playing in. It’s tough when [Julien] had those relationships with those guys that had been there. You thought you’d maybe proven that you deserved to be used in those spots, but maybe it comes with seniority and all that stuff. That’s the kind of stuff that happens.”
The third line, currently known as the ‘VHS line’ has produced under Cassidy. The Bruins third line has put up 15 points (six goals) in eight games for Boston. They’re a collective +12 during that time period, and have gone 7-1 in the Cassidy era.
First Spooner, and now Vatrano. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more of the younger Bruins come forward. Claude Julien’s biggest sin as a head coach was to expect the younger players to play like the veterans. When the young players couldn’t play to that level, they found themselves with limited play time or on the ninth level.
With only 29 games played this season, Vatrano is tied for fifth (with Spooner) on the Bruins with 10 goals. He needed to be in a position where he could best use his skills, and Julien didn’t do that. It’s one of the reasons he was let go after ten years as the Bruins bench boss.
Frankly (no pun intended), Vatrano’s opinion means a little more to me than Spooner. Spooner found himself benched a few times due to some ugly games. With Spooner, his lack of play was sometimes all on him. Vatrano never got unfairly benched.
As the season wraps up, the general opinion of Claude Julien will likely continue to decline. That decline will increase by an order of magnitude for every game Cassidy wins.