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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Claude Julien Joins The Enemy


According to the Boston Globe Bruins blog, Claude Julien was quite positive about this practice.

The Boston Bruins rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens is no doubt one of the most historic in the NHL, and professional sports as a whole. It transcends generations and the boundaries of the ice surface it’s played on. From memorable bench clearing brawls to countless epic playoff series, it is a rivalry memorable for fans, players, and coaches alike.

This past week certainly gave us a memorable moment for the books, when Claude Julien shocked all of Boston on Valentine’s Day by replacing Michel Therrien as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

Julien had been on the hot seat the last few seasons, with the Bruins struggling to make the playoffs. Many believe the Bruins current state rests on the shoulders of former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. However, Julien’s slower and more defensive system was certainly not helping the team succeed. Julien’s success with Boston over the last 10 years has bought him some credibility with the front office, allowing him to keep his job despite back to back seasons missing the playoffs.

Yet Julien is no stranger to the hot seat, finding himself amidst rumors, as people speculate that he will be fired almost every year before winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. After that, Julien would be recognized as one of the game’s best coaches, reaching a Stanley Cup Final again, and coaching the team to a President’s Trophy. He even became the winningest coach for the franchise’s history. But ultimately, the team felt that with the team in the playoff hunt, now would be the best time to move in a new direction.

It was the manner in which Julien was let go that left a bad taste in the mouths of Bruins fans. Most agreed that it was time to move on from the team’s coach of the past 10 years. What they disagreed on was the timing. Julien was let go on Tuesday, Feb. 7, which was the day of the New England Patriots Super Bowl parade. Fans viewed this as a deliberate attempt to make the story fall under the radar, so many fans only saw it in passing and it wouldn’t cause too much uproar. This backfired, as fans viewed this unceremonial dismissal of their coach to be disrespectful, considering all of his contributions. The move even garnered criticism from fans that wanted Julien fired.

However, it was Julien who would get the last laugh. Just a week after being fired, he would be hired by Montreal on Valentine’s Day, as the team fired their own coach and hired Julien all in one move. This is Julien’s second stint as the team’s head coach, as he previously coached the Habs from 2002-2006. Many fans feel betrayed by him as he returns to Montreal, the team he tried to beat for the past 10 seasons.

But, after such disgraceful treatment, can you blame him? The guy tried to get this team in a position to win every night for the last 10 years, and the front office couldn’t even have the decency to let the story of him being fired take the front page. I ultimately agree with the firing, as the speed direction that the game is going in seems to be difficult for Julien to grasp. However, you’d be hard pressed to find a better defensive coach in the NHL than Julien. That being said, I don’t think Julien is the right guy to fix Montreal’s scoring woes.
Only time will tell if this pans out for the Habs. I wish Julien nothing but the best, but this Bruins fan would love nothing more than to beat Montreal, regardless of the coach.