WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien knows first-hand what it’s like to be fired from a job in the NHL.
When he learned of the news that the Carolina Hurricanes (Paul Maurice) and Washington Capitals (Bruce Boudreau) both replaced their respective coaches, Julien expressed his thoughts on the situation.
“You’re going to hear me repeat myself every time something like that happens,” Julien said. “It’s not a fun thing for those guys. It’s a tough job. [Firing a coach] is probably the easiest thing to do, but it’s not necessarily the main reason for the issues. Those guys are just like anybody else, they have families and they have responsibilities and sometimes they’re easy targets.
“You feel for them, but the one thing I know is that they are pretty good coaches and I don’t doubt that we’ll see them back in the league soon.”
Since the Hurricanes and Capitals are both in the Eastern Conference, Julien doesn’t know the type of impact the coaching changes will make.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “What that does normally is it always gives the team a spark when a new face comes in. But how long does that spark last? We don’t know. You’ve seen that happen before and sometimes it’s the short term, and sometimes it’s the long term. Only time will tell.”
Washington hired former Capital Dale Hunter to replace Boudreau. Hunter has spent the last 11 seasons as president and coach of the OHL’s London Knights. Current Bruins forward Chris Kelly played his last season of junior hockey for Hunter in 2000-2001.
“I think he’ll do a good in Washington,” Kelly. “When you play that many games and get your number retired anywhere that’s pretty impressive. I wish him all the best.”
Even though Hunter has been coaching junior hockey and this will be his first time behind an NHL bench, Kelly believes the transition will be a smooth one for the former NHLer.
“Instantly he’ll have the respect,” Kelly said. “With the way he played and the way he conducted himself throughout his career, I think he’ll have the players’ respect right from Day 1. Maybe some coaches have to go in and earn the players’ respect, but he’ll have that right from Day 1.”