Coach Julien in the Hot Seat?
Last week, the Bruins said they were planning on conducting “big changes, and possibly could inform the coaching staff” according to sources close to the Bruins. Many Bruins fans, myself included, wondered if this meant the writing was on the wall for Coach Julien. When asked about this, Julien said, “I’m not into shock journalism, so I’ll step away from the question if you don’t mind.” All of this came from the Bruins getting shut out at home for the second time in a row.
There has been no official news of whether or not he is keeping his job, but let’s look at both sides of this argument.
Now to be fair to Coach Julien, he did bring the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship back in 2011 and then to the finals two years after that, but since then they really haven’t been that impressive. They got shut out at home by the New York Islanders, who are a struggling team and have been for a while.. Let’s be honest about the roster too. If you take out Marchand, Pasternak and Backes, it’s not the world’s most talented roster. He even said “This is a team that needs all 20 guys going to win. We don’t have enough talent to think we can get away with a mediocre game.” He’s right. You can’t rely on three players to make up for the rest of the team not playing well.
Tuukka Rask has been excellent this season, but in the games he doesn’t play in or if he gets injured and is taken out, the backup goalie Anton Khudobin always cost the Bruins the game. So if you factor in the games where Khudobin is the starter, the Bruins are one and five so that is something that is also important to consider.
Now on the other hand, I can completely understand why people think he should be fired. It seems like ever since 2013, the Bruins have started to trend downward. Each season it seems like they are losing their touch. They are the only pro Boston sports team that can be up four to nothing and their fans will think “they will find some way to lose this game, just watch” (They were up four to nothing against the St. Louis Blues at one point this season, and they ended that game four to three.) If hockey was two periods instead of three, the Bruins would be leading the division. The third period is always rough for the Bruins and they always seem to blow whatever lead they have, which comes back to the coaching of Claude Julien.
Here is an interesting fact to consider about the Bruins. They are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite having played five more games than them. In fact, everyone else in the division is starting to catch up to the Bruins, despite them having played more games than most in the division. In the last 10 games, they are three wins, five losses and two overtime points.
The Bruins are in desperate need for change. That is obvious. But whether the change will come from the front office or the roster remains to be seen.