Bruins opt to retain Julien for another season
BOSTON — The Bruins are sticking with coach Claude Julien for another season despite missing the playoffs two years in a row.
General manager Don Sweeney said Thursday that Julien is the right coach to guide the team through a "bumpy transition."
"We've got work to do; I've got work to do," Sweeney said at a news conference at TD Garden. "There's no question that we have areas we want to address and collectively we've already started to assess that."
The Bruins went 42-31-9 with Julien behind the bench and Sweeney in his first year as general manager this season. They missed out on a playoff spot to the Detroit Red Wings based on the regulation/overtime-win tie-breaker.
Julien has a record of 393-223-88 in 704 games in nine seasons. In that time, the Bruins won two Eastern Conference championships and the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Last season, Julien became the all-time Bruins leader for wins by a coach.
The Bruins missed the postseason by two points in 2015.
Julien said that when this season ended, he entered a self-evaluation process to determine what he wanted to do next. Once he decided he wanted to stay, he met with Sweeney. Both men were on the same page.
"I want to bring this team back to where we once had it," Julien said. "There's a lot of people here, including players, that have helped me become the coach that I am. And I don't want to be that guy that bails just because all of a sudden you hit a bump in the road. I want to be that guy that perseveres."
While Julien will stay, his staff will change. Assistant coach Doug Houda will not be re-signed and assistants Doug Jarvis and Joe Sacco, who are no longer under contract, will be part of a reassessment of the staff, Sweeney said.
Meanwhile, Sweeney will try to tweak the roster. Boston needs to improve defensively after finishing 20th (2.78 goals allowed per game) in the NHL, their lowest ranking under Julien. The team also needs to decide how to approach re-signing unrestricted free agent forward Loui Eriksson, who scored 30 goals last season, and restricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug. Sweeney will also have to gauge whether younger players throughout the club's system can contribute in 2016-17.
Sweeney said he doesn't plan to reconstruct the whole roster.
"I don't think we need a major overhaul. I believe we need to continue to forge depth in the organization," Sweeney said. "When you go through these times where you have injuries and you have players that are able to step in, you have to have a plan that allows players to develop at the right time that they're supposed to rather than force a player."
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