Julien knocked from his perch as long­est-tenured coach

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JIMMY GOLEN

The Bos­ton Bru­ins fired Stan­ley Cup-win­ning coach Claude Julien on Tues­day, with the team in dan­ger of miss­ing the play­offs for a third straight sea­son.

Gen­eral man­ager Don Sweeney an­nounced the change on Tues­day, nam­ing as­sis­tant Bruce Cas­sidy the in­terim coach. The fir­ing comes the same day the city cel­e­brated the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots’ Su­per Bowl win with a pa­rade.

Bos­ton has lost two in a row and six of nine and fallen out of a play­off spot in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

Julien was the long­est-tenured cur­rent coach in the NHL, start­ing with the Bru­ins in the 2007-08 sea­son. He went 419-246-94 in 10 sea­sons, in­clud­ing two trips to the NHL fi­nals and a Stan­ley Cup ti­tle in 2011.

The Bru­ins lost in the fi­nals two years later, and the year af­ter that earned 117 points and the Pres­i­dents’ Tro­phy be­fore los­ing in the con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals to archri­val Mon­treal.

But in 2014-15, Bos­ton was elim­i­nated from the play­off race on the fi­nal day of the reg­u­lar sea­son — the first time in Julien’s ten­ure they sat out the play­offs. Again last year, the Bru­ins had a chance to reach the play­offs head­ing into the fi­nal week, but they lost nine of their last 12 games to fin­ish ninth in the Eastern Con­fer­ence. The Bru­ins hadn’t kept a coach who missed the play­offs two straight years since 1965, when Milt Sch­midt was given a third year be­fore he was re­placed by Harry Sin­den.

The for­mer AHL Hamil­ton Bull­dogs coach was spared in 2015 when team pres­i­dent Cam Neely de­cided to fire gen­eral man­ager Peter Chiarelli in­stead, re­plac­ing him with Sweeney. Sweeney gave Julien an­other chance, say­ing “He’s the coach of the Bos­ton Bru­ins as of to­day, for sure.”

Julien said at the time that he had lit­tle room for er­ror.

“It just means that I’m prob­a­bly the next one to fall off the totem pole, right?” the for­mer Cana­di­ens and Devils coach said last sum­mer. “I’m go­ing to try to make it last as long as I can.”

Again last sum­mer, the Bru­ins spared him, with Sweeney say­ing Julien was the right coach to guide the team through a “bumpy tran­si­tion.”

“We’ve got work to do; I’ve got work to do,” Sweeney said af­ter the team missed the play­offs last year. “There’s no ques­tion that we have ar­eas we want to ad­dress and col­lec­tively we’ve al­ready started to as­sess that.”

Last sea­son, Julien be­came the all-time Bru­ins leader for wins by a coach. He is the fourth NHL coach to be fired this sea­son.

Julien’s fir­ing leaves Chicago’s Joel Quen­neville as the long­est- tenured coach in the league. He was hired in 2008.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

The Bos­ton Bru­ins fired Claude Julien, who was in his 10th sea­son as head coach, Tues­day.

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