BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins president Cam Neely joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Tuesday, addressing Felger’s burning questions about the future of GM Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien.
Chiarellia said recently that Julien would be the coach of the Bruins as long as he was in charge. Does Neely feel the same way about his head coach?
“Pete, I think for whatever reason, felt like Claude was getting hammered on a little too much in that last round. I know Pete has pretty strong feelings towards his coach, and rightfully so. Claude had done a very good job here and he is a good coach, and there’s not many of them in the league.”
“I know we have high expectations; I certainly have high expectations for everyone in the organization and I know ownership has high expectations for myself and down the line. We are a couple of years removed from the Cup, and we didn’t like the way it finished last year. But it can’t just be put on coaches and managers. It’s easy to say we have to get rid of this guy, but sometimes finding a replacement isn’t as easy as one thinks.”
“I’m very happy with the way things have gone. It’s been a challenging years working on things we wanted to work on at the end of the last year,” said Neely. “I think the coaching staff has done a good job trying to correct some of those things even in the situation where we don’t practice all that much and in the morning skates, which is not something you’d normally do in a normal 82-game schedule.”
Neely said the three are on the same page when it comes to the team, with healthy disagreements mixed in.
“Generally we do. But let’s be honest, I don’t care what relationship you’re in, you’re going to disagree. I think that’s healthy. I don’t think anyone would want all three of us to feel the same way about things. Overall, we all feel the same way about how we want our club to play and the expectations of our club.”
While Chiarelli’s contract status is unknown, Neely did say the general manager has years remaining on his deal.
Neely also said those who think there could be a rift among the Bruins brass are re-hashing feelings he had a couple of years ago when he first took over.
“I know people always talk about ‘winning games 0-0’ comment that I brought up a number of years ago. That’s something I sat down with Claude and with Pete, even before I made that quote,” said Neely. “Right now, I’m not going into specifics, but I feel like we have a good group that is pulling in the same direction and we all want the same thing; to continue to win championships. We have a staff in place that worked really well together and is really committed to do just that.”
There’s also a hockey game to be played tonight, with the Bruins and Rangers squaring off in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
“I think tonight is going to be a pretty good test for us. I expect them to come out strong, especially at home in their building. They’ll be looking that they can get back in the series and we have to look at it like we can put a strangle hold on it.”