Julien had served as the coach of the Bruins since June of 2007 and was behind the bench when the team took home the Stanley Cup in 2011. He coached the team to a Stanley Cup Final berth in 2013, plus he’s won more playoff games than any coach in franchise history.
The Bruins are currently 26-23-6, which puts them at third place in the Atlantic Division.
Unfortunately, Boston has missed the post-season for the past two seasons and frustration is setting in.
The team will promote assistant coach Bruce Cassidy to head coach on an interim basis. He has some NL coach experience, having served as head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002 to 2004. He was canned in his second season with the club after an 8-16-1 start. He moved on to the Providence Bruins in the AHL, where he was an assistant for a few years before being promoted.
Julien leaves the Bruins as the longest tenured active head coach in the league. He is Boston’s all-time coaching wins leader and holds a 419-246-94 record, with a .614 winning percentage. His team made the post-season in seven out of nine years.
Obviously, the Bruins are trying to avoid another missed playoff opportunity. They’ve suffered some significant late-season collapses in recent memory and changing coaches now may be just the ticket to plug some motivation into this franchise.
But losing a coach of Claude Julien’s pedigree is never easy and one has to imagine he won’t be out of work for long.
The Jack Adams Trophy winner joins an impressive list of available NHL coaches, many of whom have to be on the radar of the Vegas Golden Knights. The expansion franchise has to make a decision regarding its front office and Julien’s newfound availability could raise some eyebrows.