There is a lot of talk in Boston surrounding the Bruins right now, and almost all of it is on whether or not the Bruins will make the playoffs, and whether or not head coach Claude Julien will still have a job if they don't. It's by no means a one-sided conversation either, and pundits and fans alike have argued both sides of the debate.
Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald believes it's completely ridiculous to lay the blame at the feet of Julien, and in fact he places the blame firmly on shoulders of Boston's management staff.
It’s nutty to view Julien as the problem. Without him and his assistant coaches and the system, this team probably would have been knocked out of playoff contention long ago.
It has been mismanagement, not anything the coaches have done, that has turned the B’s into a thoroughly mediocre team.
In a column for Boston.com however Eric Wilbur arguesEric Wilbur argues not only that it's time for Julien to go, but that he should have been let go last summer when the Bruins moved on from general manager Peter Chiarelli.
In hindsight, maybe it, ultimately, wasn’t the best decision for Cam Neely and Don Sweeney to hang onto Claude Julien as their head coach last summer.
Wilbur also believes that Julien's decision not to put the team's leading scorer in the shoot out last night may be the decision that costs him his job.
It was Loui Eriksson’s third-period goal that forced the shootout, which eventually prompted Julien to trot out Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Eriksson and Torey Krug before the team’s leading scorer Brad Marchand, who rode the bench for the entirety.
Marchand is 0-for-3 in the shootout this season, so point for the coach there. Spooner is 3-for4. Pastrnak 0-for-1. Torey Krug hasn’t scored since December.
Marchand also leads the team with 36 goals. One would think with the season — and his job — on the line, Julien might lean toward inserting him into the situation.
But it's not the failure to put Marchand in on a key shoot out, one that cost his team a point, that will inevitably cost him his job according to NBC's Gary Tanguay, it's a long list of far more compelling reasons that Julien must go.
Fine. Besides, benching Marchand is not why Claude must lose his job.
Losing two points to the non-playoff Carolina Hurricanes is. Presiding over two straight late-season collapses is. Missing the playoffs for two years in a row -- which is a distinct possibility after Tuesday night -- is.
Claude Julien should never hang his head or pay for his own beer in Boston, ever. But it's time for him to leave.
If the Bruins lose this evening to the Detroit Red Wings would make it extremely difficult for Boston to remain in the playoff picture, and could make the difference between Julien losing or keeping his job.