After weeks of speculation, the Boston Bruins have fired head coach Claude Julien, who was one of the most highly regarded coaches in the game. While being fired is depressing, Julien will find work quickly.
In fact, the New York Islanders fired their coach Jack Capuano earlier this year and if the Isles wanted to make the right move, they should hire Claude Julien today.
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 in 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, 25 percent 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 the 2016-17 team.
If you want understand Boston's offensive weakness, consider the Bruins 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 is 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. Boston (26-23-6) is next in action at home vs. San Jose on Thursday.