On a seat that had been burning ever since the Bruins failed to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Boston has let go head coach Claude Julien after almost ten campaigns behind the bench.
The Bruins have 26 wins and 58 points in 55 games this season. They currently sit one point out of the playoffs, trailing the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot. However, as the Bruins have not had their “bye week” yet, they have played more games than most of the teams they are competing with.
Claude Julien Fired By Boston Bruins
The 56-year old bench boss had been the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL, raking up 419 wins with the organization and passed Art Ross for most wins in the organization’s 93-year history with #388 on March 7th of last season.
Under Julien, the Bruins came from two consecutive seasons out of the playoffs and five of the prior ten campaigns to a playoff berth in his first year and history the next. The 53-win 2008-09 year was the best in the franchise’s history since the ’71-72 season when the team won its second championship in three years and earned the Blind River, Ontario native his first and only Jack Adams Award. Two seasons later, Julien lead his team to capturing the first Cup for the city in over 40 years with a playoff run that saw them survive three seven-game series, including the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins enjoyed the type of extended success that hadn’t been seen since the NHL record 29-year playoff streak from 1967-1997. The Bruins would win another Eastern Conference Championship in the lockout-shortened 2013 season. In the Stanley Cup Final, the B’s fell short of forcing a Game 7 on account of the Blackhawks, well, doing this. A Presidents Trophy would soon follow in 2013-14. The team set another organizational record for consecutive road wins with nine in a season. They also went 15-1-1 in March. The run from 2007-14 included four division championships, two East titles and the lone Cup from 2011. It was a run of success not seen in the modern day by many of the Bruins faithful.
The past two campaigns have been met with some disappointment the franchise has not been accustomed to during Julien’s tenure. Late-season collapses in 2014-15 (0-2-1 in final three, miss playoffs by two points) and last year (had chance to make postseason on final day and lost 6-1 at home) saw a cause of concern with new general manager Don Sweeney, who took over for nine-year GM Peter Chiarelli when he was let go in the summer of 2015 in a philosophical revamp that has taken another victim.
Potential Landing Spots
The results overall for Julien speak for themselves among potential suitors. Las Vegas will definitely take a look in their field of candidates, the New York Islanders could move in with Jack Capuano recently biting the bullet, and the Florida Panthers could have an eye in the sky on account of Gerard Gallant now being a free agent. Since taking over, Boston’s 419 wins rank sixth in the league. Over the years the team has had a strong defensive group allowing just 2.41 goals per game. They have also been one of the best teams in the NHL at generating shots. The power play, penalty kill, and goals-for per game all ranked in the top ten. Since 2010, Julien’s puck possession system has slotted the team in third with a 52.57% Corsi-for percentage; including the best rate so far in 2016-17 at an impressive 55.87%.
Given his resume, it will be safe to say he’ll be getting calls to go back behind the bench again.
Assistant coach Bruce Cassidy will take over the Bruins on an interim basis.