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.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

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.

Consider that Andrew Ladd (17 goals at the time he was traded) went for a first and a prospect. Lee Stempniak (16 goals at the time) went for a second and a fourth. Eriksson had 23 goals at the deadline and went on to score 30 goals this season.

Regardless of what was offered, the Bruins elected to keep Eriksson because they wanted to make the playoffs. Now his contract has essentially expired and he’ll be able to sign wherever he wants on July 1.

For a player who is trying to score his last big contract, it probably wasn’t too flattering for Eriksson to hear the Bruins telling everyone who would listen that teams didn’t want to pay a high price for him. Maybe it was a negotiating tactic so the Bruins, who were trying to sign him up until the trade deadline, could still sign the player for cheap. Whatever it was, Eriksson wasn’t sure he believed it.

“It’s hard to tell,” Eriksson told WEEI.com, carefully choosing his next words. “I don’t know. There was a lot of things going on at around that time.

“I think the type of player that I am, I think a lot of teams want that type of player. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Asked whether he could see himself signing with a team that tried trading him, Eriksson responded, “I mean… we have a long summer to sit down and think about decisions and what’s going to happen. We’ll see.”

Eriksson scored 30 goals for the second time in his career this season. He’s scored 20 in six of last eight seasons. Though his performance took a dip in his first season with Boston due to concussion issues (10 goals in 61 games), Eriksson feels that his career has followed a steady enough path that teams will know what they’re getting with him should they sign him. Eriksson is seeking a deal of at least five years with an average annual value in the high $5 million range.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Claude Julien was at TD Garden Monday, but did not conduct exit interviews. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Claude Julien was at TD Garden Monday, but did not conduct exit interviews. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In some ways, breakup day in hockey is like the players’ last day of work. In 2011, Bruins players had to work more than expected.

Brad Marchand had been overserved. Walking through the hall at TD Garden on the way to meet with the press, a Mike Cameron-jersey-wearing Marchand was babbling about how much he loved baseball after the Stanley Cup champs had just been to Fenway Park. Once everyone, media included, had gone into the Bruins’ dressing room for the commencement of the year-end availability, various Bruins players kept watch of Marchand in the players’ lounge to make sure Marchand didn’t venture over to the media and field questions.

From every time the door to the players’ lounge would crack open, it looked like hard work. Marchand kept getting up. He really wanted to talk about baseball.

Only one team a year gets to come out of breakup day with such stories. For the rest, it’s roughly the same routine everywhere: tie up odds and ends, have exit meetings with the coaches and executives, take physicals and give final comments to the media.

The Bruins did not follow that routine Monday. Not only did the coach and general manager not give their annual season-ending press conference, they didn’t even conduct the exit interviews with the players.

Claude Julien, Cam Neely and Don Sweeney were all at the Garden on Monday, so the fact that the annual meetings were not held when all parties were present came off as very suspect. The meetings will still be held at some point, so one has to wonder if the Bruins are waiting until after they fire Julien to conduct them.

Julien’s status is up in the air after being behind the bench for two consecutive ninth-place finishes. Yet Julien didn’t coach the Bruins out of the playoffs. It’s fair to question Julien leaving off Brad Marchand in a shootout when he was 0-for-3 shootouts on the season, but if that’s Julien’s biggest sin then fans should look across the league and recognize that Julien is more competent than the vast majority of his peers. Those other coaches also have better rosters than Julien had this season.

“It’s never just one person’s fault,” Zdeno Chara said. “I think that Claude is a great coach. He puts a system into place and he does whatever he can to make us ready, and it really comes down to us.”

The concern with the Bruins if they are to move on from Julien is the higher up the chain of command it gets, the worse it gets. Julien is better at his job than Don Sweeney or Cam Neely are that theirs. Sweeney is more qualified for his job than Neely is for his.

If the Bruins have someone else behind the bench next season — Nate Leaman and Bruce Cassidy would figure to be the favorites — they’ll miss the playoffs once again unless Sweeney fixes the defense. If next season ends up like this one, where player development at the NHL isn’t executed effectively enough while Boston’s core players simply get another year older, the Bruins could officially end up on slide towards the bottom of the league. As the Hurricanes (seven years without reaching the playoffs) can tell you, that’s not an easy place to exit.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins signed prospect Danton Heinen to a three-year entry level contract Monday, a contract that will get the highly touted wing to leave Denver University after his sophomore season.

The Bruins signed prospect Danton Heinen to a three-year entry level contract Monday, a contract that will get the highly touted wing to leave Denver University after his sophomore season.

Heinen was a fourth-round pick of the Bruins in 2014, but quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in college hockey after his selection. A left shot wing, Heinen has played both the left and right wings at Denver.

The British Columbia native’s strength is his offensive game, as he had 20 goals and 28 assists as a sophomore for 48 points in 21 games. While he could be an NHL player as soon as next season, he’ll need to add on some weight if he wants to hold up physically. Heinen stands at 6-foot-0 and 161 pounds.

Heinen is expected to spend the rest of the season with the Providence Bruins on a professional tryout, meaning his contract will not begin until next season.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Like Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci plans to eventually move home. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Like Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci plans to eventually move home. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Pavel Datsyuk rocked the hockey world over the weekend by confirming that he will leave the Red Wings and the NHL after the playoffs.

The 37-year-old Datsyuk has chosen to go back to Russia for family reasons; he will play in the KHL so he can be reunited with his teenage daughter. The three-time Selke winner’s decision will hurt the Red Wings in more ways than just his absence, however, as his $7.5 million cap hit will still count against the team’s salary cap figure next season because his contract began when he was over 35 years old.

David Krejci understands Datsyuk’s decision, as he does not plan to finish his career in the NHL either. Krejci, who has just concluded the first season of a six-year, $43.5 million contract, plans to go back to his native country of the Czech Republic after his deal expires.

“That’s where I grew up. That’s where I learned how to skate, and from a family standpoint, I’m the only guy here,” Krejci told WEEI.com Monday. “Now, I created my own family — they’re American — but it would be nice to show my kid, or kids in five, six years, where I’m from. By the time [my deal expires], I’ll be 35. If I have one more NHL season in me, then I would play, but no matter when or how, if I’ll be 36 or 38 or 39, I want to finish my career back home.”

If Krejci were to leave early, the Bruins would not be charged with his cap hit, but that figures to be a moot point given that Krejci says he intends to play out his contract. As such, Krejci’s eventual departure will be far less controversial than Datsyuk’s.

“I respect his decision,” Krejci said. “He’s been here a long time, and I heard that he’s got a teenage daughter living back home. Now I have a daughter of my own, so I know how hard it must be to be away. It’s not like he’s in his 20s or something; he’s in his late 30s, so sometimes you have to know there’s a time.

“I’m pretty sure no matter how old you are, family is the most important thing, but when you get older you kind of realize it a little bit, you appreciate spending time with your family more than if you’re a teenager or in your 20s. [Then], you just want to be with your buddies and having fun, but when you have kids, you always pick your family over going out with your buddies or going golfing with your buddies. I respect his decision.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Brad Marchand will play for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships next month in Russia, the forward revealed Monday at TD Garden.

Marchand is coming off a career year in which he scored a career-high 37 goals and totaled 60 points for the Bruins. This season, Marchand’s sixth full season in the NHL, marked the first time he reached 30 goals or 60 points.

The tournament starts on May 6.

 

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Meeting with the media for the final time this season, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask discussed the illness that kept him out of Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask

Meeting with the media for the final time this season, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask discussed the illness that kept him out of Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Rask missed Boston’s 82nd game of the season, something of a must-win that they eventually lost in a 6-1 drubbing, due to a stomach bug. The former Vezina-winner said that he became ill on Friday night and “spent the night in the bathroom” before realizing Saturday morning that he wouldn’t be able to play. He took warmups Saturday as the team waiting for emergency recall Jeremy Smith to arrive, though he stayed down on the ice for the majority of warmups.

“When you’re sick, you’re sick,” Rask said. “Trust me: If I felt there was a chance that I could help the team, I would have gone out there, but I couldn’t even stand up.”

Jonas Gustavsson played in Rask’s place, with Smith serving as the backup. Rask spent much of the game at the Garden sleeping.

“It was terrible, obviously,” Rask said. “But you can’t control it. That sucks, but it’s life. When it happens at the worst possible time, it just happens and you have to just take.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

As for Sunday night’s discussion as to whether he was eating chicken wings on Saturday, Rask reiterated that he was not at Buff’s Pub Friday or Saturday.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean