Five reasons why Claude Julien stays for the rest of the year.
In the next 48 hours, the fate of Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien will be played out – finally.
Given the roller-coaster rumor mill the past few weeks that has intensified the past several days, the issue will be put to bed by GM Don Sweeney before Thursday’s last game before the All-Star break.
Next year is an entirely different dynamic, but for now here are five reasons why Julien remains behind the bench for the rest of the 2016-17 season
The fan base accepts Julien.
He’s not in the same class as Bill Belichick – or even John Farrell or Brad Stevens – but among Boston’s four major coaches, Julien gets the pass in the middle of the team’s swoon for his overall demeanor and record as the Bruins’ longest-tenured coach in franchise history. The glow around parading Lord Stanley has long disappeared, but he has done a decent job with diminishing resources in front of him, compliments of decisions made from above.
Who would replace him?
With 30 games to go, who comes in and replaces Julien without having the fan base go bonkers from the rafters with home losses? Assistant coaches Bruce Cassidy or Joe Sacco? Doubt it.
Only Don Sweeney makes any sense in any scenario. And not likely he wants any part of those boo birds flocking the airwaves with their vitriol about the roster Sweeney assembled for Julien after any loss.
Bergeron summed it up about playing for Claude
Last week before the opening faceoff in Detroit that resulted in the team’s biggest collapse of the season, assistant captain Patrice Bergeron told NBCSN: “Claude’s my coach; I’ll play for him.”
Captain Zdeno Chara has echoed that sentiment in postgame comments since. Captains and assistant captains represent individual player opinions to a significant extent. Bergeron’s sentiments were significant.
The team is still in the playoff hunt
While the odds do not favor the Black and Gold playing in mid-April, raise your hand if you’d bet a tidy sum on that definitely happening. The Tampa Bay Lightning are last in the Eastern Conference. The Detroit Red Wings’ 25-year playoff streak is snapped with their current standing. The New York Rangers are a wild-card team into the All-Star break.
Things are not pretty as the Bruins enter Tuesday’s game with the Red Wings on the outside looking in of a playoff spot. Toronto’s 4-0 shutout of Calgary Monday night put the Leafs in third in the Atlantic while subsequently dropping the B’s to ninth in the East tied with the Flyers – with two games in hand – at 52 points.
Jacobs’ comments before the season
“I watched the World Cup of Hockey and saw a lot of our players, in particular, think of Marsh [Brad Marchand] and Bergy [Patrice Bergeron], and how they came back and integrates with the youth here. I watched our preseason games, both on TV, fortunate enough to go to all three games at the Garden. The youth stood out, it popped for me. The kids that, there was a pleasant surprise. I think, among the entire management team, everybody in the group was hoping, but wasn’t certain, about what was going to arrive here. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many good, young, talented players come in and step up.”[/quote_box]
That “entire management team” includes Julien. “Everybody was hoping, but not certain about what was going to arrive here.”
Hard to pick one scapegoat out of those statements.