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Poll: Where does Julien rank among Bruins’ coaching greats?

Aug 6, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT

Claude Julien AP

On paper, few Boston coaches have achieved more than Claude Julien.

He ranks second all-time in wins and made the playoffs every season since taking the gig in 2008. He won the Stanley Cup in 2011, advanced to the Final last year, became the third coach in franchise history to win the Jack Adams and was recently named to Team Canada’s staff for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

But remember, this is Boston.

It’s not easy to be considered among the greats.

There are 11 Hockey Hall of Famers that have served as head coach (Art Ross, Cy Denneny, Frank Patrick, Lynn Patrick, Cooney Weiland, Dit Clapper, Georges Boucher, Milt Schmidt, Harry Sinden, Tom Johnson and Gerry Cheevers.)

Those not in the Hall — Don Cherry, Pat Burns, Terry O’Reilly — hold a special place in the organization as well.

Then there’s Julien himself. He lacks the flamboyance/personality of some of his predecessors and comes across as extremely humble. Consider what he said back in March upon passing Schmidt for No. 2 all-time in Bruins’ wins.

“I certainly don’t perceive myself to be in the same category as Milt Schmidt. You’ve got to understand, it’s a different era. Ties were ties and that’s the way it ended.

“We play 82 games and they played somewhere around the 60 mark, if not less, but it’s a lot different era.

“It’s a number, a number of wins, but I’m certainly not ready to compare myself to him and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Milt, and even for Grapes [Cherry, third on list with 231 wins]. Those guys have done a lot for the game.

“It’s nice to know that you’re with them in regards to the number of wins, but certainly not willing to say I’m in the same category as them, yet.”

Let’s turn the discussion over to you, the readers. Where do you put Julien among the greatest Boston coaches of all time?

  1. jcmeyer10 - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Picked a tough franchise to be part of the coaching history. He proved, with the right talent (not necessarily the best on paper) he can win consistently.

    Is the Philly series a pock mark? Yes, but if that’s the biggest fly on him, it could be worse. The Washington series was tough because the Bruins on ice coach (Bergy) was hurting bad the whole series and they still took it to seven games.

    He delivered the first Cup to Boston in 27 years, and save some flat footed (read: tired) D-men, it goes back to Chicago for a seventh game, and anything could have happened.

    What he and Chiarelli have done most importantly is install a sense of hope. A sense that this team is constantly working hard trying to get better on and off the ice. Watching Julien work in young D-Men this playoffs just proved how talented he is. He is almost too quiet for his own good if that makes sense.

    I was down on Julien after the Wash series last year. Watching them never give up and beat Toronto gave me a sense of the leadership and comradary that Julien instills in his team. I watched the Capitals pack it in pretty easily in Game 7 of their series against NYR.

    I have only been around 25 years so it’s hard for me to put it all in historical context but I would like to thank Claude Julien for helping put hockey back where it belongs in the pecking order of Boston sports.

    Go B’s.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      In game 6, everyone was tired, a number of players played injured. Bergeron I’m sure you knew about. For the Hawks, Handzeus played with a broken wrist and an MCL tear (two surggeries after). Bickel had hand surgery. Hossa almost needed disk surgery.

      What I don’t appreciate is two Bruins taking head shots to Toews, knowing they were unlikely to be called in the finals.

  2. nhstateline - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Teams been in the playoffs every year he’s been here and, especially in the first year. that was quite an accomplishment. And he’s coached a Cup winner and another Finalist, all quite impressive. He did a great job last season especially in the playoffs. He gets a lot of flack here because people know the game well enough to give flack and because there’s a lot of interest in and devotion to the team. After he leaves, on the other hand, he”ll be high up in the pantheon of great Bruin coaches. No active Bruin coach ever really gets that, they have to leave to be lionized. Until then, don’t listen to talk radio and stay off the internet…….

  3. hockeyflow33 - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    He makes a lot of decisions that make you question if he knows what he’s doing but the results speak for themselves.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Yah I hear that. His decisions to stick to his guns (lines) made me think he was just a man too proud or scared to change it up.

      My bad Claude, you the man!

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Another small problem…..the powerplay

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        Yah I wonder what’s up with the PP. Seems like he could never get it figured out.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Same dynamic with the Hawks. Great PK, the #2 offense in the league, and the PP has stunk last two years.

    • govtminion - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      The power play has been a bit of a concern, for sure. Losing Savard was a big blow, but one would have to think that several years later the Bruins would have found a way to get past it. Very strange.

      But… they DID win a Cup with a dismal power play, and got close to a second this past year, so… I guess the definition of a good team is finding a way to work past your weak points. If that’s the case, well done, Boston.

  4. imleftcoast - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    He’s probably ahead of Don Cherry.

  5. packerswin96 - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Don’t know where he ranks as coach, but he is #1 when it comes to hypocrisy.

  6. irokkit - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Not one to call people out…but I’m making an exception.


    Julien stands on his own merit. His coaching style is quiet, subtle and disciplined. The organization recruits the same in players. A few burps here and there. Matching (when possible) all the layers successfully….translates very well for the entire coaching staff.
    I am a HUGE Bruins fan.
    Terry O’Reily was a great coach.
    Mike Milbury…not so much.
    But, I still love them for all their incredible efforts, heart and love they bring to the game. Boston is a tremendous hockey bed because of personalities, flamboyant and stoic…
    Julienne gets Aces!!!!

    • packerswin96 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Good for you.

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