Claude Julien will be back as Bruins head coach next season. (USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as Bruins head coach next season. (USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as head coach of the Bruins next season.

General manager Don Sweeney announced at the start of Thursday’s end of season press conference that Claude Julien “absolutely” will return as head coach of the team next season.

The Bruins did not make the postseason each of the last two seasons.

Sweeney also announced assistant coach Doug Gouda won’t return and other assistants’ deals are up with the exception of goalie coach Bob Essensa. He’s been the goalie coach since 2003.

Houda’s time with the Bruins predates that of Julien, as Houda served as an assistant coach under former B’s head coach Dave Lewis and was kept on after Lewis’ firing. As a player, Houda served as a teammate of Zdeno Chara when the two played for the Islanders.

Other coaches who won’t return are Doug Jarvis and Joe Sacco.

Jarvis was hired prior to the 2010-11 season as a replacement for Craig Ramsay. As a player, Jarvis holds the record for most consecutive games played with 964. Sacco, who formerly served as head coach of the Avalanche and was also an assistant coach for the Sabres, replaced former B’s assistant coach Geoff Ward in the summer of 2014 when Ward left the team to take a head-coaching job in Germany. Ward is currently an assistant coach for the Devils.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Claude Julien

Claude Julien

When the Bruins did not make Claude Julien or Don Sweeney available at the Bruins’ end-of-season player availability, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the Bruins’ head coach. The team’s next announcement, it figured, would be that they had relieved the long-tenured coach of his duties after nine seasons.

Well, this team and organization has been anything but predictable since last April, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a shock when the next announcement ended up being Wednesday’s release that both Sweeney and Julien would be available for a press conference on Thursday. President Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs’ year-end presser is scheduled for next Wednesday, according to the press release.

Tuesday’s release did not reveal anything definitive about Julien’s status. It’s certainly possible that they could still end up firing Julien and that they’re in no rush to do it because they figure the candidates to replace him (Nate Leaman, Bruce Cassidy) aren’t going anywhere in the meantime. They can theoretically hold onto Julien in an effort to get the Senators to fork over some sort of compensation for the head coach’s services.

Or it could mean that the Bruins are actually going to keep him. As we’ve written, that would be the smart move, even if it’s seemed like the unlikely move since the B’s missed the playoffs for a second straight season.

At any rate, the scheduling could lead one to believe that Julien won’t be fired in the coming days unless they’re going to bump up Neely’s presser. After all, if the Bruins were going to fire Julien, the president of the team would have to speak a heck of a lot sooner than a whole week later.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Dennis Seidenberg has two years left on his contract with a $4 million cap hit. (Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports)Money is not the problem it once was for the Bruins. 



Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

By all indications, Brad Marchand has loved non-playoff teams over the years. They’ve just been such easy targets.

Playing on them hasn’t been as fun. After years of shoving their 2011 Stanley Cup championship in their opponents’ faces (probably too many years), the Bruins officially have no scoreboard to point to, no recent track record with which to antagonize the other bench.

The Bruins certainly got their money’s worth with their Cup championship and general dominance over the Eastern Conference. They were better than their opponents and they let everyone in the NHL know to the point that they were admittedly obnoxious. Months before they won it all, Marchand skated by the Leafs’ bench in a game towards the end of the 2010-11 regular season and made a golf-swing gesture. He proved he could walk the walk by racking up 19 points during Boston’s Cup run.

“When we were winning and when we were going to the finals and when we won, we had such a dominant team,” Marchand said this week. “You can play with that arrogance and you can get away with it because you back it up. That’s tough to do when you’re not winning as frequently.”

The taunting was part of the Bruins’ charm during their recent heyday, but with two straight ninth-place finishes, that heyday is over. When the B’s kept it up long after winning, it became more of a bad look than anything else. The Bruins were not happy when Marchand made a Cup-raising gesture to the Vancouver crowd in a game the B’s were losing by three goals during the 2013-14 season. It was awkward when Milan Lucic raised the Cup to Canadiens fans in the 2014-15 seasons, which was not only four seasons after Boston won, but mere months after the Habs had eliminated them from the previous season’s playoffs.

Fortunately, Marchand has a few other ways of entertaining. His play with the puck on his stick made this the most impressive regular season of his career, as he scored a personal best 37 goals to finish sixth in the league.

Marchand hopes to continue putting on a show the way he did this season. Just don’t expect much of the taunting until the B’s are winning again.

“If you’re going to act arrogant, you have to be able to back it up,” Marchand said. “That’s something we were always able to do. It’s tough at times and it’s frustrating when you’re playing against teams and they’re acting like that towards you. Hopefully we can get back there and be able to play with that same kind of swagger.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Alexander Khokhlachev didn’t hold back when venting his frustrations with the Bruins back in September, so perhaps his agent’s recent comments shouldn’t come as a surprise.

With Khokhlachev at the end of his entry-level contract and coach Claude Julien’s status with the Bruins in limbo, Khokhlachev’s agent blamed his client’s lack of AHL success (zero points in nine NHL games) on Boston’s head coach.

Khokhlachev posted strong numbers in the AHL the last two seasons but was invisible during his callups to Boston, where he’s averaged under 10 minutes of ice time per game.

A second-round pick of the Bruins in 2011, the center’s issues with Julien will certainly feed into Julien’s perhaps overstated reputation for not being a good coach for developing young forwards. Julien has developed the likes of Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Ryan Spooner, among others. Khokhlachev’s chances of becoming a full-time Bruin dwindled have dwindled as Spooner and Noel Acciari have seized open center jobs behind Patrice Bergeron and Krejci.

Khokhlachev will be a restricted free agent this summer. If he is to stay in North America (his father is the general manager of Spartak Moscow of the KHL), it’s hard to believe he’d want to stay with the B’s.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Dale Arnold gave his plan for how he would return the Bruins to the playoffs on Tuesday’s “Dale & Holley.”

Arnold said an offseason priority should be to make Patrice Bergeron captain, regardless of whether Zdeno Chara — whom Arnold said should be traded — was back with the team.

Dale Arnold gave his plan for how he would return the Bruins to the playoffs on Tuesday’s “Dale & Holley.”

Arnold said an offseason priority should be to make Patrice Bergeron captain, regardless of whether Zdeno Chara — whom Arnold said should be traded — was back with the team.

“I think it’s time to change the captain,” Arnold said. “Assuming he’s on this team next year, Patrice Bergeron has to have the ’C’ on his sweater and not Zeno Chara. I’d start there because they had a huge leadership void on this team all season long.”

Arnold said he would buy out Jimmy Hayes, who was a disappointment in the first year of a three-year contract with the B’s. Hayes, whose cap hit is $2.3 million, scored 13 goals in his first year with his hometown team.

“I’d buy out Jimmy Hayes,” Arnold said. “Two point three million dollars for each of the next two seasons, bad signing by Don Sweeney. I would buy out Jimmy Hayes, take the financial hit, move on while you can.”

The Bruins have a number of restricted and unrestricted free agents. Of the Bruins’ free agents, Arnold said Colin Miller (RFA) is the only player he’d definitely retain. Arnold listed Brett Connolly, Max Talbot, Tyler Randell, Landon Ferraro, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman, Kevan Miller, Loui Eriksson and Jonas Gustavsson as players he’d let walk.

“Wouldn’t re-sign any of them,” he said. “Let them all go. In some cases, because it’s going to cost you too much, in other cases because you can replace what they bring to the table.”

Arnold said he would consider re-signing trade deadline acquisitions John-Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak, but said he was “up in the air” on the players. He also said that he would only re-sign restricted free agent Torey Krug at the right price.

“If he is reasonable in his contract demands, if he is looking for four — I’ll say four [point] five — bring him back,” Arnold said of Krug. “If he’s looking to get north of five, like I think he is, he’s got to go, too.”

As for trades, Arnold said he would ship out Chara, David Krejci and Dennis Seidenberg.

“I would try to trade those three guys,” he said. “Whether you could do it or not, I don’t know.”

Lastly, Arnold said he would keep Claude Julien as the head coach.

Said Arnold: “I’d like to see Don Sweeney and Cam Neely hold a press conference and say ’This is not on Claude. Our team wasn’t good enough. We didn’t give him good enough players. We’re going to be better. We’re going to have a better roster. Claude’s the coach of the team next year.’”

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his staff on Tuesday, a move that could eventually lead to a familiar face heading to Ottawa.

Should Claude Julien be fired by the Bruins, he would figure to be an ideal candidate for the Senators. Julien, regarded as one of the league’s top coaches, grew up in nearby Orleans, Ontario.

The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his staff on Tuesday, a move that could eventually lead to a familiar face heading to Ottawa.

Should Claude Julien be fired by the Bruins, he would figure to be an ideal candidate for the Senators. Julien, regarded as one of the league’s top coaches, grew up in nearby Orleans, Ontario.

The Bruins have yet to make an announcement on Julien or make him available to the media. Julien last spoke publicly after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators, which proved to be the team’s final game of the season when they were eliminated from playoff contention hours later.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

After the trade deadline, Bruins management said in various public forums that they did not receive an offer of either a first-round pick or two second-round picks for Loui Eriksson.

That could very well be true, but it’s hard to believe.