Amidst the backdrop of the Patriots’ parade of honor, the Boston Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien was being notified that he no longer had a role with the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions. Julien had been with the organisation since 2007 and had taken the team to two finals, bringing home one Stanley Cup.
The internet’s reaction to Julien’s dismissal has been supportive of the former Montreal Canadiens coach, and critical of the Bruin’s timing:
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock had this to say:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 7, 2017
While SB Nation said it best:
Now that a guy like Claude Julien is on the market, Bruins would be wise to snatch him up. Can't let a good coach sit on the market too long
— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) February 7, 2017
So what next for the Bruins and Julien? Assistant coach Bruce Cassidy will step up on an interim basis while a permanent replacement is found. Cassidy was head coach of the Washington Capitals between 2002 and 2004, and has experience as an assistant coach at Chicago and spent eight years with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins before being called up to the big league. Assuming he wants the job, Cassidy has some cards up his sleeve. In his short time as a head coach in the NHL, he took the Capitals to the Playoffs. Of course he was fired the next season after 25 games, but he still knows the Bruins organisation and has the support of GM Don Sweeney.
The Bruins have a few options when it comes to replacing Julien with an external candidate; Ken Hitchcock, Jack Capuano and Gerard Gallant are all currently unhindered by having jobs to go to, and there’s a certain prestige that goes with coaching an original-six team. That said, the Bruins front office hasn’t exactly painted itself as a spectacular employer. Of the three mentioned above, Hitchcock has already won a Stanley Cup and is probably the best fit.
As for Julien, it won’t be long before teams are calling his phone. The Bruins may have failed to make the last two playoffs, but both seasons were close and Julien is still a Stanley Cup winning coach. He’d likely prove a good fit for many teams. That said, the Bruins firing of Julien is the right decision, awkwardly mistimed, but still right. Taking nothing away from Julien, the Bruins performances has been stagnating for a few seasons. While that mostly falls on the players on the ice, the head coach can only play with the cards he’s dealt and Julien wasn’t able to get the best out of his team.
What are your thoughts on the Bruins’ decision? Comment below or join in the conversation on twitter.