Claude Julien will be back behind the Bruins bench next season. Boston’s GM, Don Sweeney, said so this morning at a press conference, where he sat alongside his head coach and sung his praises.
“I believe in Claude as a coach,” said Sweeney. “I think our core principles align very well.”
But after the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the second straight season, there will be at least one change to Julien’s staff, and there could be more coming.
“Doug Houda will not be back,” Sweeney said of the long-time assistant, while noting that there are other assistants who are currently without contracts.
When asked where it all went wrong this season, Julien pointed to his team’s failures to get results in the big games. He used the Winter Classic as a prime example. (Boston, you’ll recall, was blown out by the Canadiens at Gillette Stadium. At the time, Julien called it “one of our worst games at the worst time.”)
As for the offseason?
“I have work to do,” said Sweeney. “There’s no question that we have areas that we want to address.”
Expect the defense to be one area that he’ll try to improve. The Bruins went young on the blue line for this season, and things didn’t work out as planned.
In a potentially related story, Sweeney wrote a letter to Bruins season ticket-holders this morning, in which he shared the following:
“One of our objectives last year was to improve our salary cap situation, and through various trades and signings, we were able to accomplish this. We now have some cap flexibility heading into the offseason and this summer’s free agency planning period. This will allow us to re-sign players or make competitive offers to free agents on the market that we believe will help our club.”
Still, despite seeing a clear need to make some changes, Sweeney does not believe the Bruins need a “major overhaul.” He thinks it’s important to remain patient with the organization’s youth, using 19-year-old David Pastrnak as an example.
“We have a very, very bright future with a number of young players that we have,” he said. “It’s rightfully so to be excited about that, but it’s also imperative to be patient to allow them to hit their ceilings.”