Claude Julien Signs Extension, Confident About Bruins
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 19:07
While the New York Rangers were busy reeling in Rick Nash, the Bruins had another focus on who they wanted to give a new contract.
On Monday, the B’s announced that they had signed head coach Claude Julien to a multi-year extension. Julien, the 28th head coach in franchise history, will be entering his sixth year with the black-and-gold next season.
Since arriving in Boston in 2007, Julien has brought the team to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. In those five playoff appearances the Bruins have a 36-27 record including the organization’s first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years. The B’s have also won three Northeast division titles under Julien’s reign.
But not only does he have the most postseason wins as a Bruins coach, he’s also ranked fourth in club history in coaching wins, trailing Art Ross (361), Milt Schmidt (245) and Don Cherry (231).
The appreciation for Julien in Boston, from the organization’s standpoint, is evident and well-deserved. Sure the Bruins have had a quiet offseason but that might have just been their plan all along.
“We’re keeping this core together. I feel strongly in this core,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “I feel strongly in Claude. We will continue to improve, and we will continue to look at all facets of our game to improve.”
Unlike the aforementioned Rangers, the B’s have been basically dormant and will rely on the improvement of their young players next year. And truthfully, that’s not a bad strategy. Players like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, who have already been solid for the Bruins, still have much more talent to display.
However, the biggest advantage for this core group of players is the experience from their Stanley Cup run. The one significant piece that will be missing next year is Tim Thomas, but despite that Julien is still optimistic about the upcoming season.
When asked about the challenge of coaching the team without Thomas, Julien responded, “I think our depth is there. I don’t really see that as an issue. And that’s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.”
“I believe that a well-balanced team is a good team,” Julien added. “Defensively, our team has always been pretty solid, and offensively, I think our team has been pretty solid as well. When you look at where we finished in goals scored, areas we need to improve, I think we’ve talked about it quite a bit – we’re very aware of it and we’re going to continue to work on that part of our game.”
Another reason for assurance heading into the 2012-13 season will be getting back a healthy Nathan Horton. Chiarelli confirmed on Tuesday that Horton (concussion) had been cleared for contact by the Bruins medical staff and will be ready to play when it's time to play. With Horty back on the ice, that should give Milan Lucic and David Krejci a much needed spark and the ability to produce more goals as a top line.
Boston still has the personnel to finish as one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference and make a strong playoff run, and Claude Julien just secures that even more.