Julien: Bruins not in 'a rebuilding situation'


Julien: Bruins not in 'a rebuilding situation'

SUNRISE, Fla. – It’s never easy for a NHL coach to learn that talented, seasoned veterans have been traded off the roster, but at least Claude Julien tried to put on a positive face while addressing the media at the NHL Draft at the BB&T Center.

The Bruins coach stressed that draft weekend isn’t over yet, that the team hasn’t even gone through the opening of free agency on July 1 and that it’s difficult to judge until we see who replaces the traded Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic.

“I think you’ve got to give Donnie [Sweeney] a lot of credit. He just stepped into this role with a lot on his plate,” said Julien when addressing the media after the B’s general manager had made his three picks at the 13th, 14th and 15th spots in the first round. “There was a lot going on, and some tough decisions to be made. Personally I’m pretty impressed with how he handled it.

“That’s not to say I’m happy that Doug Hamilton and Milan Lucic are gone. We just lost two pretty good players, but those were moves that probably had to be made with the situation we were in, and the cap and everything else. They decided to make some decisions regarding the future of the Bruins, and they had to make those decisions. I’m a coach that likes to have the support of upper management, so I’m going to support upper management on that.”

Does Julien view next season as a rebuilding situation given that they dealt away two high-end NHL performers in Hamilton and Lucic without getting a single proven NHL asset in return?

“I’m the coach here and I’ll work with whatever players we have because there’s obviously going to be some new players,” said Julien. “We’re going to make it work. I’m not looking at this as rebuilding…not at all. We’re going out there to win hockey games, and to be a really competitive team. That will be part of my job.”

Likewise earlier on Friday afternoon following his seismic roster moves, Sweeney scoffed at the notion that the Bruins were entering any level of rebuild situation. It’s understandable that the organization is hesitant to go there given that Bruins fans won’t have an appetite for a losing team given the sky-high price of tickets. There’s also the fact that the Bruins have become accustomed to success over the past 10 years and don’t want to take too many steps back.

But the words really seem to fly in the face of Sweeney’s actions on Friday night, and in particular the inability to turn the mid-first round picks and Martin Jones into a high-first round pick, where Boston College prospect Noah Hanifin would have been available.

“[We can compete] with our goaltending, with the core group of our guys, and with our strength up the middle of the ice,” said Sweeney. “We had players that didn’t score to the level they were supposed to last year.

“Are we going to continue to look to improve our club? Absolutely.”

Let’s hope they find a way to leave this draft weekend with a young defensemen that’s on par with Hamilton because otherwise the Boston roster looks like it’s going to be something approaching a rebuild situation with aging players (Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg), players that will be asked to play up in the lineup (Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid) and young players (Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow) that are far from proven commodities in the NHL.

Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

The Boston Bruins went on the longest playoff run they possibly could have in 2019. But in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, they fell to the St. Louis Blues by a final score of 4-1. And that loss stung for a Bruins team that was widely expected to win the cup after a series of first-round upsets.

Now 10 weeks removed from the Stanley Cup loss, the Bruins faithful are still reeling from the defeat. That includes head coach Bruce Cassidy who confirmed that he isn't over losing the final.

"Nope, not really," Cassidy recently said, per Matt Porter of The Boston Globe. "Today I am. Tomorrow, depends if someone asks me a question that just happens to hit a nerve."

Cassidy would also go on to say that he might have a bit of difficulty seeing the Blues logo and having to watch them play, per Porter. 

"There might be a time on the road next year and we’re sitting there and I’m watching St. Louis play, because they’re playing Montreal and we play Montreal the next night, and I’ll be like, [expletive], you know? That’s the time you might start going backward."

Still, Cassidy is focusing his energy on preparing the Bruins for their season opener on Oct. 3 against the Dallas Stars. The Bruins are returning much of the same core that helped them win the Eastern Conference (minus Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari) so they are expected to be contenders in the East again.

Of course, they still have to figure out a way to agree to deals with restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo while staying under the salary cap, but once they do that, they should be in good position to make another run.

And safe to say, Cassidy and the Bruins will be looking to prove themselves after a disappointing finish last season.

Report: B's, Cassidy discussing extension>>>

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Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

It's been a quiet offseason for the Bruins, but the elephant in the room has been the contract situations of defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

Bruins president Cam Neely said earlier this month negotiations were "still status quo" with the two restricted free agents. It's been radio silence from both sides since then, but on Thursday general manager Don Sweeney provided another update on how things are coming along in a conversation with Michael Tolvo of

“Not as fast as everybody would like,” Sweeney admitted. “But that’s just the nature of the business and every negotiation has its own timeline. We’ll find a finish line at some point and time, Brandon and Charlie will be a part of our organization for a long time. We think really highly of them as players on and off the ice, we just have to find a common ground and we’re working to get there.”

While it's unclear what kinds of deals McAvoy and Carlo will receive, Bruins fans can at least take solace in Sweeney's confidence in the duo donning the Black and Gold for years to come.

As for a move the B's have made this summer, they did manage to lock up one of their RFA's, Danton Heinen. Both Noel Acciari (Florida Panthers) and Marcus Johannson (Buffalo Sabres) left in free agency.

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