The Boston Bruins find themselves looking at an all-too-familiar sight. The B’s could find themselves out of a playoff position due to their recent ugly play. Will the Bruins give in to the fans and cut ties with Head Coach Claude Julien?
The Boston Bruins have had a rough go of it as of late. The Black and Gold haven’t been able to put together back-to-back wins in over a month. They now find themselves slipping down the standings in the Atlantic Division. With the looming prospect of a third straight season without a trip to the playoffs, will the Bruins end up firing Head Coach Claude Julien?
It certainly won’t be an easy choice for the Jacobs family. No other head coach in Bruins history has more career wins than Julien. It was Julien’s defensive-minded, two-way hockey that helped get the Bruins out of mediocrity and into two Stanley Cup Finals. He’s also the coach that brought the Stanley Cup home to Boston back in 2011.
Unfortunately, times change.
The Boston Bruins believed they had a solid core of defenseman. So they began getting rid of them. Andrew Ference, and Johnny Boychuk found themselves on new teams. The Bruins also thought it was wise to move Tyler Seguin. (While letting Ference go proved to be a smart move, the other two have found themselves becoming notable players for their new teams.)
Two years ago, the Bruins missed the postseason by a point. Last year, they found themselves out of the playoffs due to a tie breaker. In both cases, they found were the last team eliminated from playoff contention. While it’s not ‘Buffalo Sabres bad’, it’s still an ugly trend for a team that was just a few years removed from a Stanley Cup Championship.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs certainly has high standards for his team. The Jacobs family were displeased with several of former general manager Peter Chiarelli’s moves, and released him from his duties two seasons ago. The B’s then chose to bump up Don Sweeney to the vacant GM position.
Sweeney said it would be a ‘five year’ plan to revitalize the Bruins. He’s in the middle of that plan. Of all the big names to be moved, he’s the least likely of the big three to go.
The Bruins could also remove Cam Neely from his position. Neely has taken a lot of flak for some of the B’s current decisions. The Jacobs family might make that move, but at the moment Claude Julien is currently sitting in the hottest seat in the B’s front office, especially after dropping three games in a row.
The Bruins organization seemed to be prepared for this contingency at the start of this season. The B’s brought over Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to backseat Julien. Cassidy has head coaching experience, familiarity with many of the Bruins, and a willingness to allow young players to make mistakes.
For sake of argument, let’s say the Bruins let Julien go in the next few weeks. Cassidy will likely be promoted to the head coaching job. So, what will Cassidy be able to do that Julien can’t? Will Cassidy be able to fix the scoring problem? It’s doubtful he’ll make any clear improvements. (Although he may be smart enough to find a use for Jimmy Hayes in a trade or waivers.)
If the Bruins drop a coach this close to the end of the season, the team will just collapse again like a black and gold flan in a cupboard. The team’s morale isn’t too high at the moment, and moving Julien will also point fingers at the players. The team has the potential to make the playoffs, but they won’t if they get up-ended by losing their coach.
While some of you will disagree with this, the smarter move is to keep Julien until the end of the season. If the B’s make the playoffs, great. If they don’t, then it’s clear what Julien is doing isn’t working anymore.