Before dissecting the latest news from the Boston Bruins, let’s just get right to my prediction on the next twists and turns in what can best be described as another Causeway roller coaster. Claude Julien will begin the 2016-17 NHL season still coaching the Boston Bruins. Yes, that’s right “Fire Julien” nation, the coach — who despite bringing this storied Original 6 franchise it’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years and who has the most wins in team history — you want fired, will be back for another season.
Based on numerous conversations I’ve had in the last 48 hours, the feel is Julien is safe but team president Cam Neely is not. According to one source, Neely was in Buffalo Wednesday meeting with owner Jeremy Jacobs. An email confirmation request to the Bruins PR department early Wednesday evening was not returned so take it for what it’s worth. The feel within the TD Garden, per three sources Wednesday night, was that best case scenario for the Bruins hall of famer is that he was being served notice that not only will Julien’s job once again be in jeopardy should the Bruins falter again but so will his. Worst case scenario?
Following another season in which the Bruins did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Déjà vu continued on Causeway Street Wednesday as the Bruins just as they did last year, announced that there would be two end of the season press conferences. After four days of silence, the team media relations department sent out a press release to the media informing them that Bruins head coach Claude Julien and general manager Don Sweeney will address the media at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, while CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, Charlie Jacobs and Neely will hold their presser on Wednesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. This is the same way they approached it last year and we all remember how that turned out for then Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, who faced the media in the first of two such press conferences.
So despite the fact Julien will be sitting next to Sweeney on Thursday wrapping up the season and looking ahead, fans and media a like still pointed out that there’s chance that next Wednesday, Neely and Jacobs will be looking back on Julien’s nine-year tenure in Boston and thanking him for his service, then announcing a new coach or search for a new coach. The read here though is that won’t be the case this time around. There may be an announcement Thursday that Julien’s staff or some of them have been released but again, this scribe believes that following the Neely and Charlie Jacobs presser on April 20, Julien will still be the Bruins head coach and that Neely quite possibly be designated to a new role away from hockey operations.
If this turns out to be the case, Sweeney — who sources say gets along well with Julien — likely went to bat for the winningest coach in team history and rightfully so. As has been pointed out here before the problems lie within the roster Julien was dealt and as almost the entire NHL community agrees, Julien did one heck of a job getting that roster into playoff contention on the last day of the season. Clearly Sweeney recognizes that and I am told he is already hard at work trying to rectify the roster problems and improve the team’s Achilles Heel, their defense.
Who do you think should be blamed and/or fired? Claude Julien or Cam Neely? Let us know in this Twitter poll:
Who should be fired? Claude Julien or Cam Neely?
— Dirty Water Media (@DirtyWaterMedia) April 14, 2016