Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Howard Ulman / The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien reacts after a goal by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday in Chicago.
He could have had more.
But with three games left in the 2006-07 regular season and the New Jersey Devils leading the Atlantic Division, Julien was fired by general manager Lou Lamoriello, who took over as interim coach. The Devils lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals
In his last game, Julien beat the Bruins 3-1. It was the Devils' fourth win in five games, but Lamoriello said he felt they weren't ready for the playoffs. Julien reacted calmly.
"You're thinking you're going to be heading into the playoffs and you're getting mentally prepared for that," he said then. "You don't want to be let go with three games left in the season, but at the same time, everybody has a job to do, and that's a part of the game you have to understand."
The Bruins hired him before the next season after one year under Dave Lewis and two straight finishes out of the playoffs. Since then, they're 275-146-56 in the regular season and 49-31 in the playoffs.
Julien carried them through a tough stretch this season when they lost 14 of 22 games and were outscored in the last three of those 17-5.
But he talked with his players, tweaked their strategy and led them to nine wins in their last 12 games entering the playoffs.
"I enjoy the job. I enjoy being around players. I enjoy the whole process of this work," Julien said, "just don't like the limelight that comes with it. I'm low profile. That's just the way I am."
And this time, the even-keel coach's team was definitely ready for the playoffs.
"It shows how our team is," goalie Tuukka Rask said. "We don't like to talk about ourselves too much on a high note and not try to push ourselves to the front page, but he's definitely done a tremendous job here and he deserves a lot of credit for that."