A few more years of Claude is only a good thing
As Claude Julien took questions from reporters after Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, the Bruins coach was open to many questions from Matt Fraser, to Brad Marchand and the young defensemen stepping up after injuries to Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.
There was one topic Julien wouldn’t talk about, however. Earlier in the night, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported that Julien and the Bruins agreed to a three-year contract extension. As the Boston media gathered for the coach’s presser, the eighth-year bench boss politely declined to comment about the news, and moved on to field questions about the team’s performance.
Julien’s press conference lasted a hare under six minutes. Prior to that, the news about Julien’s extension was retweeted on Twitter numerous times from Friedman’s account in a matter of seconds.
And Bruins won’t confirm, but word is that the team has extended coach Claude Julien for three more years.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 2, 2014
On Sunday, less than 24 hours after Friedman’s report, the Bruins made Julien’s three-year contract extension official.
“This morning, Claude and I finalized the terms of a multi-year contract extension agreement for him. We have worked at this for a few months, but there was never any doubt in my mind that this would get done,” General Manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement released to the Bruins media on Sunday.
“Claude is one of the top coaches in the NHL and has consistently shown a passion for winning through his coaching. Coaching is a difficult profession at the best of times and what Claude does in implementing structure in his systems, and having a solid defensive foundation while allowing freedom in offensive play is no easy task. During his time with the Bruins, he has excelled in maintaining this difficult balance, and his longevity here speaks volumes. He has coached the Bruins to a Stanley Cup and a Cup Final appearance and our goal to win with him at the helm remains the same as we move forward.”
Julien’s system is a widely discussed topic in Boston. Throughout his tenure, he’s seen offensively-gifted players like Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel try to fit in to the team’s defensive first mentality. Ultimately, that was one of the factors why both Seguin and Kessel were shipped to Dallas and Toronto, respectively. Both players have thrived in their new homes since being traded from The Hub of Hockey.
But there are others who have benefitted from Julien’s system. Patrice Bergeron has developed into the best-two way player in hockey. David Krejci developed into one of the team’s top centers. Tuukka Rask established himself as an elite goaltender. Chara is a yearly candidate for the Norris Trophy. Most of their success(es) wouldn’t have been possible without Julien’s coaching style.
The system has brought Julien his fair share of accolades, too. In 2009, he won his first Jack Adams Award as the league’s coach of the year. Additionally, he’s guided the Black and Gold to a 317-171-65 mark through 553 career regular season games and led the team to four division titles.
Julien’s accolades led him to a spot as an assistant coach on Team Canada’s 2014 gold medal Olympic team – a team that also included Bergeron. But, by far, his biggest success to date is helping the Bruins lift the Stanley Cup in 2011 – ending a 39-year drought – and again leading his team to the Cup Final in 2013 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Even with all the injuries and roster moves during the first month of the 2014-15 season, the Bruins remain in good hands with Claude Julien at the helm for the forseeable future.
Relive what Julien, Rask, Fraser and Brad Marchand had to say after the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Sens on Saturday night.