Tuesday February 7th, 2017, a cold and sad day in Boston. Coach Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins was fired in his 10th season as head coach. During his time with the Bruins, he managed his team to a Stanley Cup in 2011, reach a Stanley Cup Final in 2013, won the Jack Adams Award for best coach in the 2008-2009 seasons, and lead his team to a Presidents’ Trophy in the 2013-2014 season. Julien’s overall record with the Bruins — 419-246-94, the Bruins all-time wins leader. But this season’s start didn’t looking too promising. General manager Don Sweeney believed that firing Claude would move the Bruins forward.
On February 7th, assistant coach Bruce Cassidy got the nod as Bruins head coach. Initially, I’m sure I can speak on behalf of every Bruins fan, we were disappointed. One of the best coaches in hockey history fired and replaced by an assistant coach we really didn’t know much about. Five weeks later, we can all agree we are happy with the coaching and the Bruins performance without Claude.
LIFE AFTER JULIEN
Since the firing of Julien, the Bruins have posted an 11-3 record, outscoring their opponents 53-30, an incredible recovery from an abysmal start.
All around, the team has stepped it up. Both goalies, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, have produced phenomenal play. Rask has logged an 8-3 record since February 9th (33 wins this season which places him fifth in the league) and Khudobin has a perfect 3-0, only allowing six goals.
On offense, Brad Marchand has fired up B’s fans with incredible performances. This season he is tied with the most goals in the league with 35, and has 39 assists to add to his resume and a +/- of 19. He’s also tied in 2ndwith points with Sidney Crosby (74). Marchand has 12 goals and seven assists since February 9th , truly the Bruins top player.
Some other notables include Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. The pair have combined for 10 goals and 20 assists since February 9th (Bergeron four goals, 13 assists and Krejci six goals and seven assists).
Since Cassidy took over as coach, the playing looks a lot better and seems more like a team. Some players have stated they feel more comfortable under Cassidy because they aren’t being called out and criticized by Julien for every mistake made on the ice.
PLAYOFF CHANCES IMPROVING
The Bruins are currently 37-26-6 and are in third place in the Atlantic Division, behind the Senators and the first place Canadiens (where Claude is now coaching….again). Only six points behind the Canadiens and only 13 games left of the season, let’s pray to the hockey gods the Bruins pull something out and win these next couple of games and march into the playoffs.
The B’s take on the red hot Calgary Flames on the road tomorrow night at 9 pm.