Boston Bruins: The Curious Case of Claude Julien


Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few months there has been a tremendous amount of print generated regarding Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and the tenuous position his job may be in. Whether he should be dismissed or not is a huge debate. For myself I am ready to move onto someone who is more forward thinking, possesses better player recognition skills and can handle a hard salary cap, while also having the ability to communicate well in trades and with his coach.

Let’s assume that PC will be relieved of his duties (at the end of this season), just for the sake of argument. In most cases a new GM will want his own coach but not always. So let’s take a look at what we have and don’t have in Claude Julien.

For me Claude is one of the more frustrating coaches that the B’s have had over the past 20 years or more but there is no arguing with his Regular Season win percentage (.637%), which is the highest among Bruins coaches since Mike Milbury (.628%) and Brian Sutter (.609). You have to go back more than 30 years to find a higher Regular Season winning percentage. Then you add in that almost every year he has taken his team to the Post Season, something management demands given the large amounts of money invested in the team.

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We also cannot forget that during his tenure here he has won a Cup, something that had eluded the Bruins since the days of one Robert Gordon Orr.

As you read the above statements you may be thinking “Why on Earth would anyone want to fire Claude?”  And you may be right in that assessment but it isn’t all “roses” on Causeway Street.

Yes PC is the biggest reason for the Bruins downfall this season but he is not alone. I have felt as though there have been far too many games where Claude hasn’t had his team ready to play. I revert back to why Claude was fired as the Devils coach. Lou Lamoriello cited he felt the Devils players were unprepared to enter the Playoffs.

I also feel as though he has been unable to make in-game adjustments and or “reach” his players with any consistency.

I have also grown sick and tired of him giving the 4th line more minutes than they are worthy of having. In the recent game against the Anaheim Ducks he actually gave the 4th line more minutes than he gave to the Spooner line. This just cannot be, especially for a team that has struggled to score even strength goals. If the 4th line were a shut-down defensive line than I could understand the minutes given but that just isn’t the case.

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I also have been disappointed with the lack of progression from our defensive core given that Claude himself was once a Defenseman.

One of the last things he does or doesn’t do goes hand-n-hand with my above statement regarding adjustments. Claude has his Defenseman play mostly Zone coverage vs man to man. This is ok against the slower or less skilled teams but doesn’t work against the more skilled and faster teams.

Add in his propensity to want his players to “Dump” the puck into the offensive zone vs skating it in, keeping possession and making the opponent back into their zone. Those are the biggest reasons why they struggle against teams like Montreal.

Claude is a very good coach and he has served the B’s very well over the years but maybe, just maybe it’s time for him to go along with PC, what do you think?