Photo Credit: Adam Stocker
On Tuesday the Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien who has the most wins in franchise history. Julien won 416 games during his ten years with the franchise including seven postseason appearances. Julien also coached the Bruins to two Stanley cup finals including winning it all in 2011. The last two years have gone differently however as the Bruins have missed the playoffs and after a extremely disappointing 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday the Bruins sit one point out of a playoff spot. Julien’s firing is not because he is a bad coach. He is one of the best in the league and isn’t expected to be out of a job for long. There were however multiple factors that caused Bruins ownership to go in a new direction.
Some of the Bruins inconsistency so far this year is a result of key players who just haven’t lived up to expectations. These players include David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, and David Backes. Krejci and Bergeron both began the season coming off injuries which could explain their slow starts. Even with that considered both have played well under expectations as they are projected to finish with numbers under their career norms. Last year Ryan Spooner had a breakout year however this year has been very different. At certain times this year the young center has been called out by Julien and the coaching staff for not playing to his potential. As a result he has been moved along different lines in order to get his game going but to no avail. The last underperforming veteran in this group is David Backes. The Bruins signed him in the offseason to a 5 year 30 million dollar deal. Through 47 games this year however Backes only has 22 points. Backes has never been none as a high scorer however he usually finishes with about 60 points a season and he is projected to finish this season with only 34 points . As the Bruins offense struggles an improvement from any of these players would be a huge boost.
The Bruins also have had problems with their goaltending as the Bruins backup goalies have won one game this year. This has put a tremendous amount of pressure on Tuukka Rask as the Bruins ability to give him days off have been limited. Many point to these problems as a result of Julien however that is not the case. No coach makes seven straight postseason appearences based on luck. Julien has always been a defensive minded coach however the NHL is now faster paced and a person can only change their coaching tendenices so much. Julien is partly to blame for the Bruins fall from excellence however he is not the only one. Julien should be remembered fo all that he did for the Bruins as his accomplishments during his ten years in Boston far out way his failures.
Written by: Jamie Gatlin