What all of it means still remains to be seen, but Claude Julien and Don Sweeney will hold their season-ending press conference on Thursday morning at TD Garden some three days after break-up day with the B’s players. It will also happen just shy of a week after the Bruins dropped a blowout 6-1 loss to the Senators, and completed their second consecutive collapse in the season’s final months that saw them fall short of the postseason both times.
In year’s past with the Bruins, the coach and the general manager would speak on break-up shortly after the players while conducting exit interviews with the players on their way out the door.
In their first year under Don Sweeney, the Bruins departed from the norm by eschewing the coach/GM press conference on break-up day, and instead waited a couple of days to announce the Thursday morning presser at TD Garden. Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs are slated to speak together at a press conference next week, as has been the norm over the last few seasons when the Bruins hockey year comes to a close.
Julien was handling the player exit interviews over the last couple of days, so that fact plus his presence on Thursday morning would tend to indicate that the B’s bench boss would be back for a 10th year in Boston.
On the other hand, Peter Chiarelli was present for both exit interviews and the end-of-season press conference in Boston last spring before being relieved of his duties just a few days later by Bruins President Cam Neely. So anybody using Julien's presence on Thursday as proof positive he’s absolutely returning as Bruins head coach may be jumping the Black and Gold gun just a little bit.
There are certainly other far-reaching possibilities: Julien could choose to announce his resignation on Thursday morning, and walk away from a rebuilding job with the Black and Gold that’s perhaps bigger than first anticipated. He’d also be walking away from a $2.75 million per season salary, so that doesn’t seem all that likely. Or the Bruins could simply be buying time while waiting to see if another NHL team like the Ottawa Senators steps up, and is interested in sending draft pick compensation to the Bruins in exchange for Julien’s services.
The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his assistants on Monday morning, and Ottawa’s new GM, Pierre Dorion, has longstanding ties with Julien as both hockey men hail from the same Ottawa area originally. Whatever the case, it should make for some pretty interesting theatre on Thursday morning with nobody quite sure what is going to happen with a coach and GM that both failed spectacularly at their jobs this season with the playoffs expected.