“I believe we have a better team than our results to date show.” – Cam Neely, 2/7/2017
After a great nights sleep filled with dreams of sugar plums and tasty beer I awoke refreshed. I realized the head games were over. The struggle is no more. The band-aid has been ripped off.
Claude Julien is free and I’m happy for him.
I’m a big Claude fan. Pro-Claude. You could say it was time for a change, but I didn’t want to see him go. Sure he had some head scratchers at times but listen to anyone that carries deep NHL level hockey respect and he’s without a doubt a great coach and a really great dude. He can coach any team and any team will be lucky to get him next. And even though he wasn’t the problem with this Bruins team, in the end I’m actually glad he’s gone. I’m glad he’s gone because it finally puts the focus where it should have always been; on Bruins management and their roster.
There are no more excuses now. There’s no fall guy behind the bench anymore. Don Sweeney and Cam Neely have finally cashed in the one job security insurance policy they had in Claude Julien. They know he can coach. They know he’s a great coach. But had they canned him last season, like most NHL teams would have done, it would have put all the focus and pressure squarely on Sweeney and Neely. Instead, Claude spent this entire season buying management time with their average roster and gave them a career safety net while they made little to no positive NHL transactions to help improve the team. And that’s because management doesn’t even seem to know what this Bruins team is.
Now there is nowhere for management to hide anymore. This is their roster, their new coach, their rebuild on the fly to die on. This roster that management assembled that they’ve so openly said can be a playoff team, that they’ve gone nearly a full calendar year with without making a single trade, is now on their plate. And I’m glad Claude doesn’t have to deal with that shit anymore. He doesn’t have to be stuck with a “rebuilding, but we’re not, but we can go on a playoff run” type of management group watching his every move.
Claude actually did a pretty damn good job this season with the ingredients he was given. In fact, I’d say the Bruins are right about where any logical hockey mind would have put them in the standings before the season started. But again, Sweeney speaks of not making a splash on any trade to compromise the future, then says they’re a playoff quality team now. Playoff quality teams make moves to bolster their rosters. Bruins management has tried to have it both ways and sell to fans that it makes sense. But it doesn’t. That’s not how it works. You can’t sell that to your cash paying fans. You can’t be in trade talks for Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene because you’re confident in the “now” and then just scrap it because of the future, fire the coach, and say “nah, we’re still good enough of for the playoffs”.
It’s a constant tale of mixed messages that needs to stop. Whether it’s the Jacobs family putting the heat on management to keep Boston’s largest bar open and selling thousands more $11 Bud Lights into spring or not, half-in/half-out management always ends poorly. Thankfully there’s no more likeable, highly respected, Stanley Cup and Jack Adams winning coach for Sweeney and Neely to pin their problems on.
So we’ll see how this all turns out. I am excited to see what Bruce Cassidy can do. He’s more offensive minded than Claude and likes to run things at a higher tempo. But this was never about a coaching issue in Boston. That’s why you shouldn’t feel bad for Claude. He’s going to be just fine. We’re lucky to have had him when we did.
Be thankful that Claude’s firing puts the Bruins flawed “win now rebuild” management style, and PR campaign they’ve spun with it, on the clock. Nothing is going to change until that’s fixed.
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