Marchand: Julien firing 'was avoidable if we'd all done our jobs'

Marchand: Julien firing 'was avoidable if we'd all done our jobs'

BRIGHTON, Mass – As recently as the NHL All-Star break, Bruins players like Brad Marchand were adamant the reports Claude Julien’s job was in jeopardy were “media driven”, and weren’t based in reality.

Well, the underachieving group of players got a dose of NHL reality Tuesday morning when they received a group text messages from GM Don Sweeney stating that their longtime coach had indeed been fired. Furthermore, assistant Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy had been named his replacement as interim head coach for the remainder of the 27-game season with the Bruins clinging to desperate playoff hopes.

Bruins President Cam Neely said in a statement that the move comes as the Bruins have performed under expectations this season.

“These decisions are not easy, and Don has my full support. I believe that we have a better team than our results to date show,” said Neely. “I also recognize that there are areas that we as a group need to improve upon.  This decision does not in any way diminish Claude’s legacy as a Bruins coach. I would like to wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara didn’t make Tuesday’s practice as he was “feeling under the weather” according to Sweeney, but the other core members of the Bruins group felt appropriately guilty that their underperformance cost their coach his job.  

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate. You obviously don’t control that,” said Patrice Bergeron of the organization’s decision to fire Julien. “Claude has obviously meant a lot to me, and I can only speak for myself as a player. He’s meant a lot to my development as a player, so I owe him a lot and wish him all the best.

“We’re the ones that aren’t executing on the ice, and we have to realize that this isn’t going to fix everything. We have to go out there and do the job, and be better as a whole.”

Similarly Brad Marchand has only known Julien as an NHL head coach as he’s worked from fourth line rookie all the way to NHL All-Star over his seven year career, and was taking his removal as head coach pretty hard.

“It’s difficult. It’s something that we kind of brought upon ourselves. We didn’t perform the way that we should, and that we’re capable of. Claude is taking the fall for that. Claude is an incredible coach and he has been for a long time. He’s won everything, I think, that you can win,” said Marchand. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him in this room and we were fortunate to have him as long as we did. I learned a ton from him, and I can easily say I wouldn’t be the same player if he wasn’t my coach for the last number of years. It’s very disappointing and frustrating because this was avoidable if we had all done our jobs.”

The hope is that the jolt from Julien’s departure is enough to rattle some cages in a Bruins dressing room that had been far too comfortable lately. Judging by some of the shock and awe on display from the core group of B’s players on Tuesday afternoon, perhaps the move has already had some of its desired effect. 

Backes 'will be out for a couple of games' with right leg laceration

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Backes 'will be out for a couple of games' with right leg laceration

The late season attrition continues for the Boston Bruins as David Backes will miss some time with the laceration on his right leg caused by an errant skate blade in Saturday night’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

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It took roughly 18 stitches to close a wound that was gushing blood as Backes quickly exited the ice in the first period, and now it looks like it’s going to force him to miss a handful of games here late in the season. Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that Backes isn’t “day-to-day” as they wait for nature to take its and heal a significant gash that could have been much worse for the 33-year-old power forward. 

“David Backes returned late [Saturday] night with the team. He did meet with our doctors, and they reevaluated the cut. They did some work on it. Obviously, you’ve got great medical care down in Tampa; we’re thankful for that, but our guys wanted their own hands and eyes on it,” said Sweeney. “A timetable hasn’t been set for him. 

“You can imagine it was a pretty significant cut, and now that it’s been, sort of, re-cleaned and addressed accordingly, we’ll just let nature take its course, let it heal. I don’t have a definitive timetable on that one, certainly not day to day. I would suspect he’ll be out for a couple games, and then we’ll reevaluate.”

MORE - B's make statement vs Lightning

The biggest concern for the Bruins with a cut of that nature is the chance of infection, so that’s something the Bruins medical staff will be monitoring closely as Backes heals over the next week or two. It’s too bad for both the B’s and Backes as the Bruins forward was knocked out in the first period against both Florida and Tampa after serving a three-game suspension, and has had his share of freak injuries and illness this season with first diverticulitis that ended with colon surgery, and now the skate blade incident. 

The good news is that it doesn’t sound like Backes is in any danger of being ready for the playoffs, and that’s truly matters as the Bruins continue to win games with so many good players injured and removed from the lineup. Sweeney also gave updates on Patrice Bergeron, who may join the Bruins on their next extended road trip following Monday night’s game vs. Columbus, and Jake DeBrusk, who it doesn’t sound like is all that close to returning to the lineup with his upper body injury.


Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

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Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

The Bruins announced Sunday they have signed Harvard forward Ryan Donato to a two-year entry-level contract.

Donato will be eligible to play in tomorrow's game vs the Blue Jackets.

The 21-year-old led Harvard in scoring in 2017-18, recording 26 goals and 17 assists for 43 points in 29 games. Donato also represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he tied for the most goals in the Olympics with five in as many games.