After weeks of speculation, the Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien, who is one of the most highly regarded coaches in the game. While being fired is depressing, Julien will find work quickly.
After making two Stanley Cup appearances, winning one in 2011, Julien is the fall guy for flawed Boston roster, on a team that has not made the playoffs the past two years. In his 10th season, Julien has seen the game change to speed and the Bruins have stubbornly held on to the past, not altering the roster to reflect how the sport has changed.
If you are following the NHL odds, you know Boston has been mediocre play all season, hamstrung with a roster that is 50 percent too slow and 25 percent of average players and 25 percent what they need. Bruins GM Don Sweeney is in his second year and while the draft choices he’s made look good for the future, that does not help this team.
If you want understand Boston’s offensive weakness, consider they are 1st in shots on goal, with Pittsburgh second. When looking at scoring, the Penguins are 1st in the league and the B’s are 22nd. Boston takes shots, just not quality ones.
The Bruins are thin defensively and rather old, which leaves goalie Tuukka Rask to be great every night. After leading the NHL in fewest goals allowed for most of the first quarter of the season, Rask has slipped to seventh and there no help behind him, with Boston backup goalies a combined 1-12 SU.
When making NHL picks the rest of the season, do not expect the Bruins to turn into ‘play on’ material.
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com