(Source: BostonHerald.com) – We generally don’t think of Julien as Mr. Bruins Coach of All-Time, yet that’s exactly what he is. When the B’s emerged with a 5-4 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, it was Claude’s 388th win behind the Boston bench, more than any coach in franchise history. Not bad for a guy for whom “he keeps rolling out four lines” used to be said with such icy disdain you’d think he was former Red Sox skipper Joe Kerrigan, who always wanted you to think he was the smartest guy in the room, except he wasn’t.
It’s pretty wild to think Claude Julien is the all-time leader in coaching wins for the Boston Bruins. The franchise has been around since 1924. And regardless of the actual win number it’s nearly as wild to think he’s survived coaching in the NHL for one team going on nine seasons now. I remember being at Game 7 of the first round series against Montreal in 2011 and all of the guys in our crew there saying if the B’s don’t win this game Claude is gone (and probably some core players too). A Nathan Horton overtime clapper, and a Stanley Cup soon after, changed history.
Now Claude is sitting in a spot to win another Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year. It still amazes me how many people wrote this team off back in the summer. We here at BostonPucks were actually pretty optimistic and felt they were a playoff team. So personally, I’m not overly surprised they’re in the post season picture right now as we had them making the playoffs in our season preview. But I am surprised that they’re right at the top of the Atlantic Division. Claude Julien has a lot to do with that kind of success.
One thing that separates good players from great players is consistency. Julien defines that mantra in his coaching as well. He’s very consistent and clear about how he wants the game played and sticks with it. People respect consistency and his players are no different. They go out and willingly play his game.
Julien has ushered in a lot of young blue liners this year and it’s been ugly at times. They’ve gone through a trial by fire learning experience and we are seeing it improve with each passing month. There is far more consistency in the Bruins own end now, and offensively the team is much better this season than last.
I don’t want to bum anyone out but despite my high praise for coach Julien I think Barry Trotz should win coach of the year. The award rarely goes to the best teams coach but he is very deserving. He’s managed a team 2/3’s full of first round draft picks with a franchise that has a history of defensive play being an after thought. All of those stars have bought into Trotz’s system, including Alexander Ovechkin. That right there is a minor miracle. If you look at the big picture he’s changed everything about the culture of that organization in quick and dramatic fashion.
Either way, Claude Julien is deserving of a nomination. And who knows, if the current run the B’s are on continues he may win the damn thing. He certainly deserves to have his name in the mix regardless of what all the plugs on Twitter say about him.