Bruins Fire Julien

by | Feb 7, 2017 | News, NHL | 41 comments

The Boston Bruins fired long-time head coach Claude Julien.

The Boston Bruins have fired head coach Claude Julien. He will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Bruce Cassidy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s really surprised by this. Julien’s in the final season of his contract, speculation over his future has dogged him since last summer and the Bruins are struggling to stay in the playoff hunt.

UPDATE: CapFriendly initially listed Julien as being in the final year of his contract.’s Pierre LeBrun reports he had a year left at $3.5 million. Any team with interest in hiring Julien for next season will need the Bruins’ permission. 

The 56-year-old Julien spent 10 seasons behind the Bruins bench, guiding them to two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011. In recent years, however, the roster’s been depleted via free agency and some questionable trades. The Bruins missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and could miss the cut this season.There was a sense that the front office might consider a coaching shakeup in hopes of bolstering their playoff chances.

It remains to be seen if the move improves the Bruins over the remainder of the season. They’re a one-line team offensively, lacking experienced and skilled defensive depth and in need a proven backup goaltender.

As for Julien, he probably won’t be unemployed for long. I suspect the expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be very interested in speaking with him. He could also land with another NHL club before next season. 


  1. It’s gotta happen, two big organizations (Boston & St. Louis), will pick up eachothers fired coaches. It only makes sense.

    • Being a Bruins fan I have no interest in Hitchcock. Another fired coach Gallant would work for me.

      • Spot on with the Hitchcock speculation. Cam and Donny are now on the spot. The only way that thinking is incorrect is if the did hire Gallant.

  2. I believe Julien has 1 more year beyond this one still remaining. Perhaps the Coach wore out his stay, but I think the Bruins problems are far more mgmt. and player related than coaching.

    Neely has been wanting this for awhile it seems.

  3. The game has changed to youth,skill and speed. His dump and chase style isn’t working anymore. Chiarelli’s moves certainly didn’t help.
    It was time for a change. Still think this season is lost so time to move the old slow veterans.

    • Dave, the Bruins are not a dump and chase team. They are one best possession teams in the NHL, if not the best. That does not happen to dump and chase teams.
      Do the forwards dump it in once in a while if they are not in a position to enter the zone with the puck or an entry pass to do so? Of course, they read the play.
      Julien has been preaching the opposite.
      The B’s lack of success is not on Julien, it is on management.

  4. This was the only move the bruins could make, and it stinks. Coach Claude wasn’t the issue. Neely and Sweeney let the roster stagnate.

    Maybe now Bruins fans will see the true rebuild they deserve.

  5. Truly I thought the Bruins would let sanity prevail and retain this talented coach. Even though the media speculated endlessly about his future there is no doubt, in my mind, that he is one of the best coaches of this era. The Bruins loss will be another teams wonderful gain. I have never liked the Bruins as a team but I have tremendous admiration for a style they once possessed.

  6. In the spring of 2016, when the Sens were in the market for a coach, it was being widely speculated that GM Dorion had his sights set on Julien if and when he was canned by Boston. Sweeney then put the kibosh on that by signing him for another year despite missing the playoffs two years in a row, saying “Julien is the right coach to guide the team through a bumpy transition.”

    Guess the transition got a bit too bumpy – read “suddenly it may be MY (Sweeney’s) ass on the line – better do something.”

    He’s worse than Chiarelli.

    • George O.

      There’s no way Sweeney is worse than Chiarelli. Yes, Sweeney has had some questionable moves but he’s only been here a few seasons. In that time he has completely turned around the farm system and added much needed talent. Something that Chiarelli and company never did.

      Also, I will never forget the Sequin trade, which had Chiarelli’s paws all over. I know people will argue that Neely had a lot to do with that as well but Chiarelli was the one that sought out a package/return and sold it to the rest of management. That package was HORRIBLE!

      The Hamilton trade return was much better than the Seguin return and Hamilton is nowhere near the level of talent as Seguin was.

      • My view from the perspective of someone who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about the Boston Bruins – your view from a diehard Bruins fan, maybe?

        There was enough smoke emerging from that Seguin fiasco to suggest that Neely’s paw prints were all over it – and that Chiaralli had little choice but to make the best deal available – which, with the benefit of hindsight, was a lousy one. But then, hindsight is .10 cents a pound.

      • I believe one of two things, either Sweeney is in over his head, or upper management/ownership is putting unreasonable expectations on him.
        They have no strategy. Are you rebuilding or are you trying to win now?
        Yes it is becoming a speed game, fine. Why are you signing a 32 yr old Backes for 5 years?
        If you are going to do that, why did you trade Hamilton for picks and totally deplete your blue line? If you are going to trade Hamilton for picks, why did you trade picks for Liles and Stepniak? Didn’t move Eriksson when it was obvious they could not compete for a cup.
        Are you trying to win or are you trying to rebuild?
        Sweeney was part of the management group that traded Seguin, the GM for trading Hamilton, signing Backes, trading picks for plugs, not moving Eriksson for picks.
        The Bruins have no direction.
        Perhaps this comes right down from ownership. If that is the case, then management needs to do their job, grow a set, and tell Jacobs what reality is.
        They are no longer a contender. They don’t have a single top pairing D and one line.
        Team save % is below 900.
        That is my morning rant, this move really pisses off this Bruins fan.

      • Great post ray. Well Sweeney might not be the problem he certainly didn’t help things. The backes signing was mind boggling, IMO I think Neely has to get his hands out of picking players to sign and trade for he reminds me in a lot of ways to Mike milbury

      • George O.

        There were multiple reports after the Seguin trade that many teams didn’t even know he was on the block and had no opportunity given to make a pitch.

        That says to me that Chiarelli didn’t make the best deal possible. He made a deal that was in front of him but all good GM’s know how to drive the price. Especially when we’re talking about a game changing player of Seguin’s caliber.

      • When I say hindsight is .10 cents a pound I meant exactly that. With all due respect NO ONE at the time was labeling Seguin as a definite game-changer. He was a top draft pick with tons of “promise.” But the NHL history books are full of potential game-changers who didn’t pan out the way everyone thought, such as Patrik Stefan 1st in 1999 by Atlanta; Pavel Brendl – 4th in 1999 by NYR; Rick DiPietro – 1st in 2000 by NYI; Daigle – 1st in 1993 by Ottawa.

    • Sweeney was hired in early May of 2015. He hasn’t even been in place for 2 seasons yet. He started a rebuild immediately shipping out Lucic & Hamilton at his 1st draft that summer. Addressing the Bruins cap issues & restocking the Bruins prospect system in the blink of an eye. 3 1sts & 3 2nds in his 1st draft, 2 1sts & a 2nd last season.

      You can’t judge anyone’s performance in such a short time frame.

      Julien is a good coach but 10 years is a long time to stay with 1 organization. It was time for a change the summer Sweeney was hired after Boston collapsed down the stretch in 2015. Jacobs hands are all over Julien’s resigning, I’m not sure ownership & management were on the same page & more ofetn than not Ownership prevails when you have an owner active in hockey operations.

      I’m hoping Boston hires Gallant. No interest in Hitchcock & certainly not Capuano.This will be Sweeney’s real 1st hire as a coach. I think he was forced to reup Julien by someone above his pay grade.

      • Hey Striker, here we are again agreeing. I would also like to see Gallant and zero interest in the other two you mentioned.

      • I also agree and have no interest in Hitchcock. I think for the time being it’ll be Cassidy as the interim. Hopefully they interview a few and sign a new coach. Gallant is an intriguing option.

      • Yes, it was time for Julien to go – 10 years is too long for any NHL head coach to be with the same organization. Bruce Cassidy will do well as the interim coach. Hopefully, the B’s will hire Gallant in the off season, unless he ends up in Vegas.

  7. Julien would be a good hire for Florida.

    • The Islanders as well.

      • To GP and Shticky, yes and yes. Islanders especially for the move to Quebec City.

  8. The Boston Bruins needed a big shakeup. Unfortunately, you can’t fire an entire team of players and you sure as hell can’t execute multiple big name trades midseason. Those things just don’t happen.

    Management was left with either riding the coattails of Julien through the remainder of the season or firing the coach and seeing if Cassidy will add some motivation to the team.

    While I do feel there isn’t a more accomplished coach out there that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t another coach that’s able to transition into this organization and become the new face of the team for years to come. Plenty of other teams in the NHL have seen success with new coaches and even names we haven’t heard before. Maybe there’s a college level coach out there that’s ready to make a leap into the NHL.

  9. Bruins on a nightly basis out shoot and out work most teams but when they make a mistake it’s in the back of the net. If Rask stands on his head they win and if not they lose. There defense is week but they arguably have the best young wave of d-man on the way unfortunately when there at there peak Bergie and Krejch will be on there final legs. Julian was not the problem but someone had to take the fall and I think Sweeney will be one of the best GM,s in the league.

    • Now go light a candle and say a silent prayer that you’re right.

  10. The simple fact is the bruins didn’t make the playoffs the last two years and most likely not this year. CJ is a good coach and will land another job. However CJ fell in love with his veterans and punished the youth. Look no further then how he deployed the defense. C.Miller and Morrow were not afforded the same level of mistakes as the rest of the d. One mistake in game meant these two players sat for the rest of the game then a healthy scratch after that. Yet established veterans like Chara, Mcquaid, K.Miller, Liles could and did make several and bigger blunder but paid no consequences. I go back to the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago when Quenneville decided to put Toews and Kane together and constantly pounded Chara corner, Claude didn’t adapt kept it the same. Had the best second line in the NHL at the time with Marchand, Bergeron and Seguin, broke that line up to put Jagr on, killed the line, Jagr was a poor fit on that line but CJ wouldn’t put that line back together. Them two coaching decisions imo cost the bruins the Cup that year.
    Its been reported that Sweeney was the only one in the organization that was against the Seguin trade. Yes some questionable trades. none the least of trade a third for Zac Rinaldo. The haul he got for Lucic was impressive, Should’ve gotten more for Hamilton. The three first round picks of 2015 are still in question, only one player drafted after them three that year who has seen any significant time in the NHL is Travis Konecny of the Flyers to early to tell if any of these picks will make it or not.
    CJ was not Sweeney coach and I do believe he has earn the right to bring in his own coach and put the style of game that he wants, but in order for Sweeney to have total control maybe Boston needs to remove some of Neely powers because he hasn’t proven to be able to spot skill.
    Thanks Claude for bringing the Cup to Boston and best of luck where ever you land, as long as its NOT Montreal.

    • Excellent post!

    • Caper,

      Not too bad of an analysis there. Really on board with a lot of what you pointed in. Also, I do agree that Julien was never going to be Sweeney’s coach and I do feel he has just as much right as any to bring in his own coach.

      Now he’ll get that opportunity.

    • Agree with everything except your take on the best 2nd line in hockey. Seguin forced himself off that line. He simply couldn’t be trusted and was not playing well at the time. Was a giveaway machine and adding Jagr made the line better despite Jagr being snake bit. Segiun was set to make 6 million and wasn’t good enough on a deep team to be trusted in a top 6 role.

  11. The Jets now have two great options to become something more than a pickup hockey team.

    Hitchcock would be perfect for them, Julien would be a close second, heck, Gallant would work, too.

    That team needs discipline and structure so badly.

  12. Backes + Hitchcock = reunited and it feels so good!?!

  13. If the Bruins plummet this season, Neely has to go. He is becoming the kryponite to the Bruins from a managerial standpoint, like what we saw in Edmonton when they were run by Lowe.

    • True that, couldn’t agree more.

    • Maybe they should stop giving management jobs to franchise icons instead of qualified management people.

      Neely. Sakic. Linden.

      What exactly were their qualifications to run pro sports teams?

      • You forgot shannahan?

      • No, I put him, Francis and Yzerman in a different category because they put in the work in lower level jobs before being handed the keys to a franchise.

        Francis and Yzerman spent years apprenticing as AGM’s. Shanny’s work in the league office is less directly relevant but people have made the move from the NHL NY office to running teams before.

        The others either did nothing or had mostly ceremonial positions.

      • That’s odd sakic,linden and Neely all did lower level jobs too?

  14. All the debate and second guessing aside here is my quick take on this mess. As a Bruins fan my issues were/are:

    * The Bruins tried to play winning hockey with multiple bottom pairing Dmen put in top 4 roles.

    * They are paying the price for rewarding winners with overpriced contracts (ex: Krejci, Kelly, Seids and Rask who has yet to actually win).

    * Hiring a GM in Sweeney who is simply not a leader of men. Never was, never will be. He is underwhelming at every turn. The franchise deserves better than an over matched newbie.

  15. hi do we get a draft pick when julien hired on new team