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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins have signed head coach Claude Julien to a multi-year extension, and the man who led the B’s to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011 couldn’t be happier.
“We all understand how tough it is to stay in the same place a long time. I’m just enjoying it here. My whole family is enjoying Boston and I’m not only enjoying the city but the organization,” Julien told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche Tuesday after the press conference to announce the deal. “From top to bottom we have some great people. It’s a great fit for me and I want to stay here as long as I can and work on bringing another cup to Boston.”
Claude Julien On Contract Extension:
Julien said he knew Boston was going to be a good fit for him when he first arrived in 2007
“That first year I was here we had a bunch of grinders and we were trying to turn a corner. I really enjoy working through those kinds of challenges. We made the playoffs that year and just kept getting better and better,” he said, crediting the Bruins brass from the top down. “We’ve blending well and the people around us, whether they be (assistant GM Don) Sweeney or (team president) Cam Neely and those guys, and even our coaches and trainers, we’re such a close- knit group. I know you hear that from a lot of teams and a lot of people, but we really do here – and it shows when it comes to putting the product on the ice.”
Julien is 228-132-50 in five seasons with the Bruins and was named the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2009.
Under Julien, the Bruins have overcome quite a bit of adversity. In 2010, they lost star center Marc Savard to a concussion, and fell to the Flyers in the Eastern Semis after holding a 3-0 series lead.
But in 2011 they bounced back in a big way – winning three game sevens in the playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup title.
This past season, in addition to battling the “Stanley Cup Hangover” they also had to deal with the loss of forward Nathan Horton, also to a concussion. In addition to Julien’s extension, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced on Tuesday that Horton has been cleared for contact and could be ready for the 2012-13 season.
This is music to Julien’s ears.
“He is such a good hockey player. I saw him about a month ago and had a good chat with him. He seems to be doing really well, so I’m confident that he’ll be back and looking forward to having him back,” Julien said of Horton. “We missed him last year.”
While they look to be getting Horton back, the Bruins will be without Tim Thomas, who is taking the season off for personal reasons.
But Julien isn’t too concerned about losing the former Vezina winner, given the fact Tuukka Rask will slide into the #1 goaltending position.
“He’s a great goaltender; he’s proven that year after year. Tim has been a guy that has risen to all the challenges that’s been given to him. That in itself is a big loss,” he said. “The other side of it is we’re a lucky team to have a guy like Tuukka Rask, who probably would have been a starter for a lot of other teams the last three years. We’ve got him ready to go and a guy like Khudobin to be a backup to Tuukka. Those are two goaltenders I have a lot of confidence in. I’m moving forward with what I have. Tim has made a decision that you have to respect.”
“We lost Savard, who was a real important part to our hockey club, and lived without him and found a way to adapt. We’ll do the same with Tim,” said Julien.
Hear the rest of Dan Roche’s 1-on-1 with Claude Julien Sunday night on Sports Final at 11:35pm on WBZ-TV!