WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has been fired twice during his NHL coaching career, so he understands first-hand what it’s like when another coach is relieved of his duties.
After a 0-3 start to their season, the Philadelphia Flyers fired coach Peter Laviolette on Monday morning.
“It’s an early dismissal and as a coach you always like to have an opportunity to right the ship,” Julien said. “Obviously, he didn’t get that but there’s, like I always say, there’s always things we don’t know about so it’s hard to stand here and comment but you feel for coaches it’s tough enough as it is, you try to do a good job and then sometimes it doesn’t work out. He’s another one of those coaches that I think has been good over the years, he’s got a Stanley cup, he’s always had competitive teams, he’ll bounce back.”
Julien spent parts of three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens before he was fired 41 games into the 2005-2006 season. The New Jersey Devils hired him for the following season, but with only three games remaining in the 2006-2007 season, Julien was fired.
When asked if he thinks getting fired is worse three games into the season, or with three games remaining, Julien said: “Both suck.”
During their respective coaching careers, Julien and Laviolette have been loyal adversaries. Each has won a Stanley Cup and both have reached the finals twice. They’ve coached against each other in some memorable games, including the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2010 and 2011. The Flyers erased a 0-3 deficit in 2010 to beat the Bruins in seven games. Julien and the Bruins had their revenged in 2011 when they swept the Flyers in the playoffs.
With Julien and Laviolette on the bench, the Bruins and Flyers played in the Winter Classic in 2010 at Fenway Park. Boston won 2-1 in overtime.
-- The way the schedule unfolds this month for the Bruins, goalie Tuukka Rask will have a chance to play a lot of games and get into an early-season rhythm. Boston doesn’t have back-to-back games until Oct. 23 and 24 against Buffalo and San Jose, respectively. At that point, there's a chance the Bruins will have played seven games before backup Chad Johnson gets an opportunity to play.
“The beginning of the year it’s a pretty easy schedule, so I think you have to look at Tuukka, he played a few games in preseason so it’s an opportunity for him to get some rhythm going,” Julien said. “But at the same time you want to use your other goaltender so we just gotta keep him sharp in practice and work that part of the equation in as we see fit.”
Rask (2-0) has looked sharp in the first two games of the season and has allowed only two goals as Boston defeated Tampa Bay 3-1 and Detroit 4-1.
“Tuukka’s been good,” Julien said. “I use the term ‘Tuukka’s been Tuukka.’ He’s just been solid, played well, makes the big saves when we need him. In that first game, I thought he did a good job of holding us in there when we didn’t have a good start. Last game, I thought we had a much better overall game and that type of team you need good goaltending and he gave us that.”
-- Bruins forward Carl Soderberg has missed the first two games of the season with an ankle injury, but he was able to skate on his own prior to the team’s practice Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
Julien said Soderberg is improving and getting closer to a possible return.