BOSTON (CBS) – There were times this season people were calling for Claude Julien’s job, but his players have always had his back.
The Bruins dropped their first two playoff games to the Montreal Canadiens, at home. It was doom and gloom in Boston with the Bruins all but written off.
But Julien remained calm and cool, and made sure his players stayed confident.
“I think the biggest thing was he did a good job making sure there was no panic inside this room,” forward Shawn Thornton said of his coach. “(He had us) still believing. We knew if we kept with it, it would work out over the course of a long series.”
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“It’s huge,” Dennis Seidenberg said of Julien’s demeanor. “You don’t want a coach being nervous, or just get the feeling of him being nervous. Him being calm and composed definitely meant a lot.”
Bruins Players Talk About Claude Julien
“When your head honcho stays composed and your leadership group stay composed, other guys rally around it and they just go out and play. That’s what we did,” 21-year veteran Mark Recchi said of the series comeback against Montreal. “We believed in our coaching staff… and they believe in us. When you have that it makes it easier to stay composed and go out and do the things you’re capable of doing.”
With Julien at the helm, the Bruins have made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. He is 179-103 in the regular season and was awarded the Jack Adams award for best coach after a 59-19-10 campaign in 2009. He has guided the B’s to a 25-17 playoff record, but this is the first season Julien has made it to the Conference finals.
Whether it is on the ice or in the locker room, Julien has the respect of his players, both young and old.
“On a personal level he’s been unbelievable to me,” Thornton said. “As far as the team, our success the last few years speaks for itself. I know there was a lot criticism early in the year, and I don’t think that was warranted. I think he’s done a great job pressing the right buttons when need be and laying off when need be.”
“He’s rounded out my game,” said rookie Brad Marchand. “He brought me in slowly and gave me more minutes as the season went on and let me grow as a player. He guided me in the right direction with agitating and using my offensive skills at the right time, when to be defensive. Playing on that line, but not go over it. He’s been great rounding out my game.”
“He’s been such a great mentor for me this year, I don’t think I’d be the player I am if I didn’t have him as coach,” Marchand added.
Players also appreciate Julien’s honesty and straightforward manner when it comes to the game.
“He’s a very smart coach, he communicates very well with his players and we know where we stand,” Recchi said. “If things are going good he’ll tell you and if things are going bad he’ll sit you down, figure it out and you’ll talk about it.”
“Everyone buys into his system,” added Thornton. “We enjoy playing for him and I think it showed this year in a few games when we stepped up and tried to really play for him.”