Bruins president Cam Neely said at Wednesday’s press conference that he fully supported general manager Don Sweeney’s preference to retain Claude Julien for a 10th season.
Julien’s status was up in the air after the Bruins missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, but Sweeney announced last week that the team would be keeping Julien. Neely said that he viewed Julien as one of the positives for the team this season.
“I thought he did a great job coaching this year,” Neely said. “It was a big transition year for him. Different player personnel than he’s accustomed to. We tried to integrate a lot of younger players and I think he did a good job with the roster. There’s areas where we can all still evolve and I think Claude is looking at that. I think he did a great job with some of circumstances that he had throughout the year, so when Don said he wanted to keep Claude, I had no problem with that at all.”
Added Neely: “We have conversations throughout the year, and there wasn’t really a point of saying, ‘I want to bring him back.’ It was he wasn’t doing anything differently. Ultimately, that’s Don’s decision. If he comes to me and says, ‘Listen, I think we need to make a change here,’ I’ve got to go on his recommendation because he’s the one who deals with the coach on a daily basis.”
The Bruins fired assistant coach Doug Houda and the futures of Joe Sacco and Doug Jarvis, neither of whom have contracts, are up in the air. Neely said it was too early to rule out a return for Jarvis and Sacco, adding that Sweeney and Julien would interview assistant coaching candidates in short order.
“Don’s still working through that,” Neely said. “I think he’s got some people in place that he wants to get together with and interview, along with Claude. Obviously it’s a collaborative effort. Don’s out scouting right now, but I know when he gets back he’s going to sit down with Claude and they’re going to go over some names.”