Claude Julien is a fantastic NHL head coach. He coached the Boston Bruins in 759 games with a record of 419-246-94 throughout his 10 year stand with the organization. In 2008-09 he won the Jack Adams award for being the NHL’s head coach who contributed the most to his team’s success. Not only did Claude Julien lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup win in 2011, but he also lead the team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2013. Let’s take a look at Claude Julien’s career in Boston:
Julien lead the team to a record of 41-29-12 with 94 points. They finished 3rd place in their division. The team made it to the playoffs but were knocked out by their division and long time rival Montreal Canadiens in game 7.
The Bruins finished with a record of 53-19-10 with 116 points. They finished 1st in their division. So obviously, the team made the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs the Bruins swept the Montreal Canadiens to move onto the second round where they faced the Carolina Hurricanes. In the second round they were upset by the Hurricanes in a game 7 overtime win.
The Bruins finished with a record of 39-30-13 with 91 points. They finished 3rd in their division. Once again, they made the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs the Bruins faced the Buffalo Sabres and beat them in game 6. They moved on to face the Philadelphia Flyers in round 2 and lost in game 7.
The Bruins finished with a record of 46-25-11 with 103 points. They finished first in their division. And of course, they made the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs they played their rival Montreal Canadiens and won in a thriller of a game 7. They moved on to face the Philadelphia Flyers and swept them in 4 games. In the Conference finals they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 7. The Bruins moved on to the Stanley Cup finals where they faced the Vancouver Canucks. It was an amazing 7 game series and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in Vancouver after a thrilling game 7!
Claude Julien lead his Bruins to a record of 49-29-4 with 102 points. They finished first in their division and moved on to the playoffs. During the first round of the playoffs the Bruins lost to the Washington Capitals in game 7, a very disappointing loss in overtime.
This was the year of the lockout and the Bruins finished with a record of 28-14-6 with 62 points. They finished second in their division. In the first round of the playoffs the Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in a thrilling game 7 overtime win! In the second round they faced the New York Rangers and beat them easily 4 games to 1. In the Conference Finals the Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins to move on to the Stanley Cup Final where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in game 6.
Julien lead the team to a record of 54-19-9 with 117 points. They finished first in their division, won the Presidents Trophy for having the NHL’s best record, and moved on to the playoffs once again. In the first round of the playoffs the Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 1. They moved on to the second round to face their rival Montreal Canadiens and lost in a game 7.
The Bruins were lead to a record of 41-27-14 with 96 points. They finished 5th in their division and did not qualify for the playoffs. This was extremely upsetting to Bruins fans everywhere as they were very close to making it but could not pull it off.
The Bruins finished with a record of 42-31-9 with 93 points. They finished 4th in their division and did not qualify for the playoffs once again and it was another upsetting year for Boston Bruins fans.
During this season Claude coached 55 games behind the Bruins bench and lead the team to a record of 26-23-6 with only 58 points.
Now when you look at this and analyze Julien’s career in Boston as a whole, it was stellar. Out of his 10 years in Boston he lead the team to the playoffs 7 times. Juliens career in Boston was never disappointing until the 2014-15 season. Starting with the 2014-15 season the league was starting to change. Teams were becoming more offensively minded and speedy and the Bruins were still playing their defensive style, not to mention the team has never had much speed. As you can see during the 2014-15 season the Bruins record was 41-27-14 and they did not qualify for the playoffs. During the 2015-16 season the Bruins record was 42-31-9 and they did not make the playoffs once again. If you look at what the team’s record is this season, you can see that they have already lost 23 games. In order for the team to make the playoffs they will have to continue winning games which is going to be very difficult due to the teams in their Division below them having games in hand. You can argue that if they lose between 27-31 games that they will NOT make the playoffs due to the previous year standings.
Now time to analyze Claude. The past couple of years, he has refused to change his style of play. He has coached the team to play defensive which impairs offensive players like David Krejci, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. How can you coach the team to play defensively when your team doesn’t have much of a defense? Especially this year the Bruins defense has been very upsetting to watch as they do not look very good out on the ice. Due to his lack of wanting to keep up with the times in the NHL the Bruins lost games that they should have and could have won. Yes, Claude coached an amazing penalty kill but what about the powerplay? The powerplay has been absolutely terrible and he would put guys like Jimmy Hayes and Matt Beleskey on the powerplay when they didn’t belong there. Putting guys like that on the powerplay is obviously going to lead you to not have a good powerplay. Claude also continued to roll all four lines when they desperately needed a goal. You would think he would be rolling with his top lines to try and get some goals, but that was not the case.
All in all, Claude Julien was a fantastic coach for the Boston Bruins but, it was definitely time for a change. His defensive style of play has made the Bruins miss the playoffs for the past two years and can possibly lead to the Bruins missing the playoffs this year as well.
So far Bruce Cassidy has a 3-0-0 record with the Bruins and has been playing them more offensively (like every other team in the league) and has put the right people on the powerplay. Guys like Marchand, Krejci and Pastrnak have received a boost from this offensive style. I am excited for what he will bring to the table in the Bruins final push for the playoffs.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to Claude Julien. Claude, you have brought us smiles, excitement and joy. You are a fantastic coach and this article is not meant to take that away from you. Bruins nation will miss you so much and we wish you the best of luck in Montreal. This is not a goodbye, it’s a see you later…