Bye Bye Claude? More…
As we await the Boston Bruins press conference in a mere 9 hours, I wanted to address one more thing. Wanted to get it out before Don Sweeney announces he is tacking two more years onto Claude’s contract tomorrow. Haha! No, that would be hard to believe. But aren’t you wondering why Claude will actually be at the presser tomorrow with Donnie Hockey? Seems a little odd, no?
My guess is that they will announce a “mutual agreement” for Claude to move on from the Bruins. Allows Julien to save a little face while he searches for his next gig…which probably won’t take long. Ottawa rumors have been going around and surely there will be other teams with interest.
But we all know that if this is the case, Julien is getting fired. Just like the charade the Red Sox put on in the fall of 2011 when they “mutually parted” with Terry Francona. Tito was canned and everyone knew it. It was a little uncomfortable…and I expect more of the same later this morning. I really cannot see there being any other announcement regarding Claude and the team. But I’ve been wrong before.
Anyway, in prepping for the previous post, I dug a little deeper into the Claude Julien era. I knew most of it, but wanted to make sure I had all my facts 100% correct. The end result of my prep? The Claude era was not as pretty as most want to make it out to be. People will always remember the Cup win and the near-Cup win. But what we should remember is all of it. The Cup appearances…and some excruciating and inexcusable playoff losses. Plus the two regular season collapses the last two years. Again, upper management and the players have to share blame all around. BUT, let’s be real about this Claude lovefest.
Let’s start with the fact that everyone is celebrating his 393 wins, most in club history. That is nice. Winning is the end result, so let’s give the man his due there.
Art Ross had 387 wins and 95 ties. Claude had 393 wins and…0 ties. Let’s say Ross splits his ties and gets say, 47 more wins added to his ledger. Claude is then still chasing him. I’m generally not into comparing regimes 70-plus years apart. However, this is worth noting.
Let’s review things year-by-year. Because I said so:
2007-08: 3rd place in division, 1st round playoff loss. Fair enough, first year as head coach. Especially when you consider that Chuckie Kobasew was your 4th leading scorer…with 39 points. No qualms here I would say.
2008-09: 2nd in overall NHL in points…1 behind San Jose. Eliminated in 2nd round of playoffs by…Carolina? An inexcusable Game 7 home loss to boot. Not to mention they were down in the series 3 to 1 before fighting back. Not impressed.
2009-10: 3rd place in division, 2nd round playoff loss. Wait, 2nd round playoff LOSS? More like 2nd round playoff DISASTER. Losing a 3 games to none lead against the Flyers. Then blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 7. You say losing David Krejci in Game 4 changed the complexion of the series? I say, perhaps, but one player is going to make you lose 4 games in a row? Even with what happened the next year, this one still stings. But as Peter Chiarelli said directly after this debacle, “We are one of only 5 teams to make the second round of the playoffs in each of the last two years”. Congrats Pete. You and the Duke (Dan Duquette, “The Red Sox spent more days in first place…”) can hang out and exchange quotes together…or something.
2010-11: 1st place in division, won Stanley Cup. How can anyone complain at this, you may ask the Blowhard? You really can’t. But do you remember they barely made it out of the first round? Also, one could argue that Tim Thomas won this Cup and no one else. I might argue that anyway.
2011-12: 1st place in division, 1st round playoff exit. Another Game 7 loss at home. Another classic Chiarelli quote after this series too: “The players came to me in the exit interviews and noted how they felt that they were worn out because it really felt like one long season…you know with the Cup year last year…” Ummmmm…ok bud. Those players shouldn’t be here if they don’t feel like competing…which is how I saw it. But that’s what happens when you bring 17 of the 20 players back that won the Cup. More turnover was needed for more hunger in the locker room. Maybe that’s more on Pete than Claude. But shouldn’t Claude have lit more of a fire under the team if this was the case?
2012-13: 2nd place in division, Cup Finals loss. We should be happy with this, right? Sure. But you remember it was only a 48 game season, right? And that they had a miraculous comeback against Toronto in the first round (down 4-1 middle of third period in Game 7, then down 4-2 with less than 2 minutes left, only to win in overtime?), right? The fact that they needed that, in a Game 7 at home no less, was a little surprising. Don’t get me fired up about losing a 2-1 lead late against the Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Finals either. I was there. And yes, that still stings too.
2013-14: Most points in NHL. 2nd round playoff loss to the hated Montreal Canadiens. Another Game 7 loss at home. Congrats on the President’s Trophy boys. At least there is that…
2014-15: 5th place in division, missed playoffs. Lost last three games of regular season to finish 2 points behind Ottawa for the last playoff spot. Sure, Ottawa went 19-7 down the stretch and the Hamburgler (Andrew Hammond) was unbeatable for them in net. But…still no playoffs.
2015-16: 4th place in division, missed playoffs. Tied with Detroit in points, but lost tiebreaker. 3-9 record down stretch to play themselves out of it. Under .500 home record. But…we’ve been through all that already.
I’m not even counting the 2006-07 season, Claude’s one season coaching the New Jersey Devils. Well, it was the first 79 games anyway. He was fired with 3 games left, coincidentally, right after a win against the Bruins. Timing a little odd for that sacking, no?! GM Lou Lamoriello felt that “the team wasn’t ready mentally or physically for the playoffs”. Maybe a little extreme for him to do, but he did it. Only got him a second round playoff loss. But still a black mark against Claude I would say.
Now that we’ve taken a stroll down memory lane, there seem to be some negatives that can be highlighted, no? And SHOULD be highlighted? Maybe I’m nitpicking. But I also feel like Claude, Pete, Cam and all the players should have made this run a lot more impressive that it actually was. I believe the Cup appearances really skew everyone’s opinion of the last nine years. Probably more good than bad overall, but some of the bad was just putrid. In many ways, I feel that the team underachieved. The talent was usually there for “more”. Isn’t a lot of that on the coach?
Again, all facets of the organization must take its share of the blame for any shortcomings. But the head coach always takes a lot more heat than anyone else, correct? Deserved or not, it’s time…
Posted on April 14, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Boston Bruins, Cam Neely, Claude Julien, Don Sweeney, Lou Lamoriello, NHL, Peter Chiarelli, President's Trophy, Stanley Cup playoffs. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.