The wait of agony is over…and apparently new Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has made up his mind.
Earlier in the week, it was rumored that current Bruins head coach Claude Julien would remain with the team heading into next season.
The previously-mentioned whisper was finally confirmed on Thursday evening by CSNNE.com. What is even more intriguing is that the rest of the coaching staff will stay under the tutelage of Julien to begin the 2015-16 campaign.
That certainly bodes this question: Is that the right move to make? Often times, the best moves are the ones you do not make.
In this case, Julien did not do anything major to warrant losing his job. He led the Bruins to 96 points last season, which just so happened to be the highest point total ever for a team to not make the playoffs. That is a true testament to how difficult the Eastern Conference (specifically the Atlantic Division) has been over the last couple of years.
Also, Julien is only 10 wins shy of tying Art Ross for the most wins as a head coach in B’s history. The opportunity currently presents itself for him to cement his legacy as the greatest coach that this franchise has ever seen. With seven trips to the postseason, two Stanley Cup Final appearances, one Stanley Cup championship, and a Presidents’ Trophy, the accolades are there for the fans to be patient and give Julien another year with the team.
However, he needs to alter his style of coaching.
Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are both gone, which forces the coach to skew his fourth line in favor of the trend that has been taking place around the NHL. Speed, skill, and youth are all characteristics of a successful fourth line. Players like Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Alexander Khokhlachev, Brian Ferlin, and whomever the Bruins may draft next month could be vital pieces of this team next year.
We all know about the defense-first, “pack-it-in” mentality that Julien will live and die by. The Bruins are always ranked near the top of the league in plus/minus. However, the Black and Gold were only ranked 22nd in the league with a 2.5 goals per game average. They have the players on the roster, specifically on the blue line, that will always make this team solid defensively. The problem is that they need to score at a consistent level.
Julien’s system may continue to work, but if he does not have the players, then the team will not be successful. Boston has three months to acquire the players (via trade, draft, or free agency) in order to get this team back to the playoffs.
If all else fails, then Julien will not last the entire 2015-16 season behind the bench. No coach is worth bending over backwards for, and Julien is no different. If you do not adapt, then you become expendable.