NHL: The ‘Coach For Life’ Is Coming Back

The NHL playoffs began on April 13th with 16 teams fighting for the Stanley Cup. But our hometown team is not one of them. Finishing with a 42-31-9 record and losing seven of their final10 games, the Boston Bruins seemed to be completely disorganized in the tail end of the season. Going into their final game, playoff hopes were high as there were a few scenarios in which they could’ve snuck into the playoffs. They just needed to win their game and that is all they could control, everything else depended on whether other teams won or lost. But in that last game, on home ice, the Bruins embarrassingly lost 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators to end their season and any playoff hopes. As I wrote and many other Boston media sources had reported, it looked to be the end of Claude Julien’s coaching career in Boston. The Bruins held their season-ending press conference on April 14th and some interesting things were said.

“I emphatically believe Claude is the coach that will take us through the bumpy transition period ahead of us,” said general manager Don Sweeney that day. In fact, when asked if Claude would be returning, Sweeney said “Absolutely,” and continued to praise the coach. “Our core principles align very well on the defensive structure of the team and what we’ve seen in individual players.”

I could comment on just about every quote that Sweeney gave but that last one just jumps off the page. The Bruins had arguably one of the worst defenses in all of hockey last season, and for Sweeney to say that he and Claude share the same principles on defense makes me think they both should be fired. If it is acceptable to give up the fifth-most goals in the Eastern Conference and let opponents score an average three goals against them per game, then I question what their principles are. The moves they made at the trade deadline didn’t give them a lift to push them into the playoffs and now they are left in a worse spot than before.

The communication from important figures in the Bruins organization is so weak that it seems no one is on the same page. Team owner Jeremy Jacobs expressed to the media that missing the playoffs for two straight years is unacceptable, something he will not stand for any longer. Then general manager Sweeney talks about how the Bruins are entering a transition period and need to rebuild, inferring that winning might not be in Boston’s immediate future. Then coach Julien continuously comes up short and is on the outside looking in. It seems like the Bruins organization thinks that Claude can do not wrong and he is ‘the coach for life.’  The man writing the checks has different ideas from the man who is building the roster, and the coach should have been fired already but he’s coming back for another year. What a mess. As a fan, I feel like this whole losing thing the Bruins have been doing for the past two years is getting old. Unfortunately, they are doing nothing to fix it. 

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