Claude Julien, in his 10th season as the bench boss of the Boston Bruins, has been relieved of his duties, the team announced this morning. He will be replaced in the interim by his assistant, Bruce Cassidy.
The Bruins have struggled this season on the ice, compiling a 26 – 23 – 8 record through 55 games. They are currently one point behind Philadelphia for the second wild card slot in the Eastern Conference and are tied with Toronto for third in the Atlantic Division, though the latter has four games in hand on the Bruins.
Julien ends his Bean Town tenure with a record of 419 – 246 – 94, qualifying for the postseason seven times in his nine full campaigns with the team and leading the club to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship. He captured the Jack Adams trophy as the league’s top coach following the 2008-09 season. Julien spent 2 1/2 seasons behind the bench in Montreal, and famously led the 2006-07 New Jersey Devils to a 47 – 24 – 8 record through 79 games before being fired by the team and being replaced by Lou Lamiorello with three games left in the season.
Cassidy spent five seasons as the head coach of the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate. He is in his first campaign as an assistant in Boston. Previously he was the head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002-04.
The firing is certain to generate plenty of criticism as it’s widely believed the team has achieved the results expected based on the quality of the roster. Many of the team’s top players, including team captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and David Krejci are all on the wrong side of 30. The team has also received underwhelming play from their backup goaltenders, with Anton Khudobin, Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban combining for just one win in 11 starts with all three posting GAA’s comfortably above three.
Julien is the fourth head coach to lose his job during the 2016-17 season, joining Ken Hitchcock, Jack Capuano and Gerard Gallant on the unemployment line. He immediately becomes one of the top available coaching candidates and it’s likely he will be receive consideration for any of the job openings available.