Just how hot is Claude Julien’s seat?
Every time the speculation heightens with his job security, Claude Julien has been able to survive.
Dating back as early as 2010 following their 3-0 collapse against the Flyers, Julien’s seat seemed to get warmer and warmer. He survived a few close calls, including the 2011 first round series against the Canadiens and their comeback against the Leafs two years later. Had Nathan Horton not scored the game-winner against the hated Habs or the Patrice Bergeron finish the comeback against Toronto two years later, Julien certainly would not be coaching the Bruins today.
The decision to keep Julien prior to the 2015 off-season was made by Peter Chiarelli. His successor, Don Sweeney, kept Julien both after the transition of GMs and after missing the playoffs for the second straight year last spring.
As the Bruins stay mired in mediocrity, Julien’s seat is as hot as ever. Though his coaching has been a part of the team’s downfall over the past few years, it doesn’t nearly compare to the roster mismanagement and some of the glaring mistakes made by the players on the ice.
Yet, one or more of the current members of the Bruins coaching and management staff has to take the fall. And this time around Julien may not survive the proverbial hot seat.
How hot is it right now? Well if you believe TSN’s Bob McKenzie and other reports from Sweeney and the Charlie Jacobs over the last few weeks with the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa and the Boston Hearld’s Steve Buckley, the option to can Julien is as real as ever.
“So often when coaches are on thin ice – we call it the ‘hot seat’ – a lot of it is fan and media-driven But in this particular instance, there seems to be a palpable disconnect between the Boston Bruin hierarchy – both in terms of words and actions – and with their head coach,” McKenzie said on TSN’s Insider Trading on Thursday.
“If they reel off a bunch of wins, well, then things could change. But anything short of that would suggest a sense of impending doom as it relates to [Julien’s] long-term security with the Bruins.”
Speculation over Julien’s job security heightened after embarrassing losses to the Islanders and Red Wings. But he’s survived that and will be behind the bench when the Bruins host the elite Blackhawks at TD Garden in a couple of hours.
How much longer Julien survives will only heighten on a game by game basis. Though I’ve long thought that Julien, Sweeney and Bruins President Cam Neely would go down together if the Black and Gold missed the playoffs for the third straight year, it may be the first name of that aforementioned trio that is the first to go.