With Don Sweeney pulling the trigger on Claude Julien and bringing an end to his ten-year tenure behind the Bruins bench today, the NHL has begun to react – and the overwhelming message seems to be one of – if not surprise – then support for the now-former Bruins coach.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff was a fairly decent indication of the prevailing mood around the NHL, as he had the following to say to TSN’s Kristen Shilton:
Great coach, great person…I’m sure he won’t be out of it long if he chooses not to be out of it long. It’s where this league is right now, which I think is hard on Claude. But Claude’s a hell of a coach.
Mike Babcock (who, let’s be honest, is a fairly decent judge of coaching ability) appeared to offer his own gentle condemnation of the move and support for Julien this morning.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 7, 2017
The Bruins themselves have remained fairly careful on the subject, with Patrice Bergeron among the players who have backed him strongly the past few weeks. Today the reaction has been about what you’d expect from players who’ve just seen their coach fired…essentially, saying nothing at all beyond paying tribute to his efforts as a coach and player.
What is clear, though, is how popular he was with the team – especially with Brad Marchand coming out publicly to criticise the media around their criticism of him a few weeks ago.
NHL media seems united in the opinion that Julien won’t be without a job for long. with Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun a typical reaction. Some go further, with Ken Campbell of The Hockey News arguing Bruins have done Julien a favor by firing him.
Mike Babcock’s words that “the Bruins better have something better” though, are the key here. They’re pretty much summing up how Bruins fans are reacting.
We’ll see how that changes as the news sinks in.