BOSTON – It didn’t end with the two points that he very clearly wanted, but Claude Julien finally got the night that he’s deserved at TD Garden since arriving on the scene in Boston nine years ago. The Bruins bench boss was recognized by the Original Six organization for passing the legendary Art Ross for the top spot on the franchise’s all-time win list prior to Boston’s 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Julien actually passed Ross with a road win over the Panthers back on March 7, but the Bruins clearly put some effort into making sure the ceremony was something special for the best head coach in franchise history.
He was awarded a trip to Disney World with his family from his players, a very slick-looking Black and Gold watch from the B’s organization itself and got a great video tribute from people like Bill Belichick, David Ortiz, Terry Francona, Doc Rivers and Mike Babcock congratulating him on reaching 388 wins over nine years with the Bruins.
“I'm really proud to be coaching in the same city as you,” said a smiling Belichick, who also poked fun at his own shaky skating ability during his video message. “That's a lot of wins. I wish I could steal a few of 'em from you."
Julien spoke a few words of thanks to the crowd after a long standing ovation that clearly touched the very modest, very genuine head coach, and said after the game he was humbled by the proceedings.
“I’m very appreciative, I think, of the Bruins organization doing that for me, and was humbled by everything that happened around me, including the fans. I appreciated their support,” said Julien. “Unfortunately it’s hard to talk about right now after losing an important game like this.”
While it was a very downcast Bruins dressing room following the crushing loss to the Panthers, his players were still happy for their head coach getting the recognition that he’s very much deserved for years.
“It’s well deserved and it would’ve been nice to get a win for him. You know it’s…like I said before, he’s a great coach for me, the best coach I’ve had and he’s made me the player I am today,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I’m grateful for everything he’s done, and it was well deserved.”