BOSTON (WPRI) – Bruins head coach Claude Julien will “absolutely” be back next season, according to General Manager Don Sweeney.
Sweeney and Julien held a news conference Thursday morning to make the announcement and take questions about the team’s late-season collapse and failure to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
“I emphatically believe that Claude can take us through what has been a bumpy transition period,” Sweeney said. “I have work to do.”
The Bruins had a chance to squeak into the playoffs during the final week of the season but dropped their final two games, ending the season with an embarrassing 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, who also missed the playoffs.
That prompted calls for Julien’s firing. Julien, who has coached the Bruins since 2007, holds the franchise record for most wins by a coach and is the longest-tenured coach in the National Hockey League.
“I don’t believe we need a major overhaul,” Sweeney said. “I believe we need to continue to forge depth within the organization.”
The team was fifth in the league in goals scored and twentieth in goals allowed. The Bruins were plagued by inconsistency and played poorly in several important or high-profile games this season.
Sweeney also said that several other Bruins players are having injuries evaluated; defenseman Torey Krug may need shoulder surgery. Center David Krejci, the team’s second-leading scorer, will have hip surgery this off-season.
Bruins Chief Executive Officer Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely will hold their own season-ending news conference next Wednesday, April 20.