Claude Julien is still the Bruins head coach and there seems to be a stronger chance he may remain in that post as news broke out of all places, Montreal, that Julien took part in Bruins players exit interviews Tuesday at TD Garden.
Even before the final horn sounded in their 6-1 loss to the Senators in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon, speculation was already swirling that Julien’s days behind the Boston bench were done. That speculation got even greater Monday when the player exit interviews that usually accompany their last media availability did not take place nor did the usual end of the season press conference with the Bruins management and the head coach.
But with Julien’s firing seeming like a fait accompli on Tuesday and media and fans awaiting the white smoke from the Causeway Conclave aka TD Garden and an announcement on Julien and a new coach, former NHLer and current TSN analyst Ray Ferraro dropped this interesting nugget Tuesday afternoon during his regular appearance on ‘Melnick In The Afternoon’ on TSN 690 in Montreal. When asked about Julien’s fate in Boston by host Mitch Melnick, Ferraro said he didn’t have any definitive answer but that he just got a text from his son and Bruins forward Landon Ferraro that he was headed into his exit interview with Julien.
“I don’t know which way they’re going to go in Boston, I don’t know, but I can tell you at this exact minute, my son [Landon] is in a meeting with Claude,” the elder Ferraro said around 3:30 PM ET. “I just text him two minutes ago and he said ‘yeah I’m just going in for my exit [interview] with Claude.’ So he’s still doing meetings. I don’t know if it sways anything one way or the other in your mind, but I know if I was firing the coach, I don’t know if I’d have him go through a year-end meeting.”
With most NHL clubs, the coach taking part in the exit interviews all but assures he is the coach for the following season. The coach and management hold these interviews to see where each player stands at the end of each season and then decide how or if they will fit into the roster for the following season. So it wouldn’t make much sense then for a coach to take part in the meetings if he was about to be fired right? Maybe, maybe not. As TSN and NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire pointed later on that same show, Julien is still under contract and “what better guy than the coach to get the pulse of the team?” so why not have him do the interviews?
Remember too that stranger things have happened with the Bruins, like when they left Julien’s job status up in the air for a month last spring after Don Sweeney was hired as the new general manager. Peter Chiarelli, whom Sweeney replaced also strangely did participate in the interviews but was fired within a week. So there is precedent for such a process with this organization and recent precedent at that.
As of 4:23 PM ET, no press release was made by the Bruins telling the media when the management press conference will take place but the chance of Julien being part of it may have gotten a little better on Tuesday. Then again, look at last year. So the wait continues for Julien, his players and Bruins fans. Here’s hoping for Julien’s sake though, he learns his fate in short order so he can find another coaching gig should he chose to. The Ottawa Senators, who fired their head coach Dave Cameron Monday, will surely come knocking for Julien who is a native of the Ottawa area, if he’s available soon.