We decided to grade management as a whole (GM + coaching). Grading management is a little tough. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors. We don't know if Chiarelli is burning up the phones, trying to deal to improve the team or if he's getting drunk in Cam Neely's office. We don't know if Julien is working long hours during slumps to find ways to energize the team or if he's locked in his office watching re-runs of Charles in Charge.
As fans, all we can judge is what we see. So these are our grades based on what we can physically see. And we were mostly unimpressed. After the jump, we go over why...
Claude Julien/Coaching staff
Claude Julien had to deal with a lot of injuries to his roster this season. That can make it incredibly hard to find consistency and chemistry with his lines. So we'll cut him some slack in that regard. But our biggest gripe with Julien was player management. Dennis Wideman's struggles are well documented. No need to recap that. Plus, we don't have three weeks. Michael Ryder clearly took games off and day dreamed about meeting Lindsay Lohan at a club and having a ginger orgy more than he tried to score on the ice. Even Stevie Wonder could see this guys needed a lesson. Both deserved to watch a few games from the press box. We understand waiting to see if a player turns around. But waiting the entire season? Way to cost your team a higher seed Claude. Julien seems unable to manage ego's properly and seems fearful to bench players making big money. Maybe that is a call from upstairs. Who knows. But a player's contract should not dictate playing time. Their play should dictate play time. Then there was the curious case of Julien calling out Wideman, and then taking it back a few days later. A coach needs to stick to his convictions. Backing off the comments was a sign of weakness. Players won't respect a coach who acts weak. Make a decision and go with it. Again, we don't know what goes on behind the scenes. But Julien seemed to have the complete inability to get his team motivated or curtail their tailspin against the Flyers. Maybe there were fiery speeches in the locker room and maybe Julien borrowed Rask's milkcrates and tossed them. Based on what we saw on the ice, however, Julien didn't do enough to turn this team around. A coach can't force the players to try or play well, but we feel he didn't do enough. Plus, how do you let that too many men call happen. The players seemed to tune him out. Perhaps that is the sign of a bigger locker room issue. To us, there is clearly an issue and Julien did not seem to to enough, at least publicly, to address it. We were also incredibly unhappy about Julien and Chiarelli's absolute refusal to hold their players accountable at the end of the season. We weren't looking for them to call out each player, tell them they sucked and make comments about pleasuring their mothers in a hotel bathroom. But as a coach, it is your job to let YOUR team know their play was unacceptable. We just felt Julien could've done more when his team clearly wasn't trying and was going through long stretches of malaise. Like we said, there were clearly times when his players were not even trying to give an honest effort. He should've benched these guys early and often. He refusal to do so makes us nervous going into next season. With Hall/Seguin coming on, what kind of message does it send to a young kid when your coach doesn't care if you're not trying. If we keep thinking about this, we're going to throw up.
We've been tough on Chi-chi-chiarelli here, perhaps overly so, but hey we want to see another Cup in Boston. It is fun to blast Chiarelli for that Thomas deal, but really what more could he do? The same fans calling for Thomas' head this year are the same ones that would've crucified Chiarelli if he didn't re-sign Thomas last summer. Fickle. We want to yell and scream at him for no action at the trade deadline, but there really wasn't much he could do. Who was available that would've made a difference? Alex Ponikarovsky made no impact in Pittsburgh, despite playing with Malkin and Crosby. Raffi Torres ended up getting benched in the playoffs for Buffalo, etc. You can make the argument that Boston could have put together a better package than New Jersey for Kovalchuk, but why trade for him when you have guys like Michael Ryd... Either way, who knows. Maybe Atlanta was asking too much of the Bruins based on what they had in their draft stock. But where we take issue with Peter is his tendency to give out big contracts to guys who probably don't deserve them. The Andrew Ference contract was absolutely terrible. Ference can't stay healthy and has regularly been out performed by AHL call-ups. Knowing he had Boychuk, Stuart and Seidenberg due for new deals, three players much much MUCH better than Ference, Chiarelli still dished out for Ference.
We were baffled. We can't legally tell you what we did when we heard the news, but we still have to wear the ankle bracelets and meet with our parole officer twice a week. Hindsight is, of course, 20/20. But first the Ryder deal. Chiarelli didn't really have any competition for him. Then Thomas. Then Lucic when he had yet to really prove anything. Then he capped it off with the atrocious Ference deal this year. Chiarelli gave up Bitz and a pick to trade for Seidenberg. Not exactly losing a lot but still. Then Seidenberg comes in and immediately becomes the Bruins 2nd best defender, and now chances are he's gone. And if not him, maybe Stuart or Boychuk. All because Chiarelli absolutely had to lock up an injury prone, absolutely average defender. Kill us now. We don't remember who said it, so sorry we're not giving you credit, but the Bruins do NOT win a Stanley Cup with Ference getting big minutes as a top 4 defender. We're not even sure they get a Cup with Ference getting top 6 minutes. Do save a tree and leave the Bruins alone douche bag. We give Chiarelli no credit and award him no points for the Satan signing. That was a reach and pure luck. He knew he had to do something, anything, to attempt to boost the offense. Luckily Satan had stayed in shape and had a bit of fire when he came to the Bruins. But the move was lucky, not savvy.
He keeps preaching about change. So does Julien. But two years in a row they've lost Game 7's. Two years in a row there has been question of work ethic and desire. Change? We're not buying it. Prove us wrong Bruins management.