BOSTON – Credit the Bruins for avoiding the bad feelings and uncomfortable questions that could have been there if they’d dropped the final two games into the NHL All-Star break.
BRUINS 4, PENGUINS 3
- Bruins head into All-Star break with big win over Pittsburgh
- Haggerty's Talking Points: Nice comeback for B's
- Julien: 'This is the kind of effort we need'
- Leg injury knocks Brandon Carlo out of game
Instead they snapped a season-worst four game losing streak with an overtime win against the Red Wings, and Thursday night’s entertaining, emotionally engaged 4-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. So at least for now the storm clouds have scattered away from Causeway Street, and the seat isn’t quite so warm for Claude Julien after some touch-and-go moments over the last couple of weeks.
There has still been no vote of confidence or public show of support from Julien’s bosses as Don Sweeney and Cam Neely remain silent on the subject, and that is the only thing that’s truly going to quell the speculation about the B’s coach. But Brad Marchand gave his own vote of confidence for the only NHL head coach he’s ever known, and indicated his belief that the speculation about Julien’s job security is “media driven.”
“The speculation is driven by the media. They don’t have the sources that they may claim. You know, that’s not going to happen if they do their jobs. Claude isn’t the issue. You fire the coach, what do you do? It’s not going to change anything. Claude’s one of the best coaches of the game, and that’s not the answer for this group,” said Marchand. “It’s driven by the media, and we’re not concerned about that in the room. We don’t think that’s going to happen, and we’re not thinking about that for a second. So you can put that to bed and let it go now because that’s not in this room.”
It’s a credit to Julien that he inspires that kind of loyalty from a player in Marchand that can also be the target of his criticism at times, but Marchand’s endorsement doesn’t carry much weight since he doesn’t call the shots with the coaching position. In fairness, it’s also not a “driven by the media” issue as much as it’s a “driven by the underperformance of the team” issue based on where they are in the standings barely clinging to a playoff spot right now.
The bottom line is this: The Bruins did well by Julien in finishing up strong with two wins headed into the All-Star break to calm down the waters, but they’ll need to win a lot more and push forward into a strong playoff position if they want to keep it that way.