In what was supposed to be a day of celebration in the city of Boston for the New England Patriots Super Bowl win on Sunday, it was the Bruins stealing the headlines by firing head coach Claude Julien.
I will freely admit I am not a fan of Julien, and have wanted him gone for a long time–since May 14, 2010, to be exact. That’s the day the Bruins lost a 3-0 lead at home over the Philadelphia Flyers in game seven of their 2010 playoff series that the Bruins had lead 3 games to none at one point. I often jokingly say I would have fired Julien after the second period of that game.
OK, you’re right, it’s only mostly joking.
The issues this season are not all of Julien’s making. The Bruins roster is lacking in several areas, most notably in back-up goaltending and in the middle pairing on defense. Dave Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are not having the quality of seasons they’ve had in the past. None of those things can be blamed on Julien.
One thing that irks a lot of fans about the Bruins is over the last few seasons is how wildly inconsistent they have been. They usually look like gangbusters against the top teams in the league but then follow it up by looking like a pee-wee team against the cellar dwellers.
To me that’s a coaching issue, while others say it’s not and it’s on the players. Like in most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But in any case, you can’t fire the whole team so it’s the head coach that takes the fall.
But no matter if you’re for Julien’s firing or not, General Manager Don Sweeney showed an incredible lack of class by doing it this morning. When all eyes should be squarely set on the Patriots now the day’s sports focus is split with the Bruins.
It would be different if the Bruins had a game tonight, or even tomorrow night, as you’d want Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to have a much time as possible to potentially put new lines in place. But with their next game on Thursday there was no reason why Sweeney couldn’t have waited until the parade was over to fire Julien.
So as of this morning the pressure is on Sweeney to deliver a winning team. Keeping Julien as head coach after he was hired gave Sweeney a scapegoat if things didn’t work out. After the season is over Sweeney gets to hire his guy to lead the Bruins, and if the team keeps failing it will be Bruins President Cam Neely firing Sweeney.
And hopefully he won’t do it during next season’s Patriots Super Bowl parade.