Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rhymes with "Higher Sod": The Bruins need to make a change

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 06: Head coach Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins speaks with referee Craig Furlatt  after a goal in the second period by the Bruins was reviewed and cancelled against the St. Louis Blues on November 6, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
So I get paid just to stay home? Interesting! Tell me more...

After last night's crap show in Boston, the players said all the right things after the game, notably Marc Savard, who told Joe Haggerty from CSN after the game:

“Claude’s trying. He can’t yell at us everything single night,” said Savard. “It gets long on him too, so it comes from the guys in the room to pick up the slack. That’s what we’ve got to do.I don’t think we need a shake-up. We’ve got a good hockey club in here."

Savard is partially right, this is a good team. There is talent. The problem is, much like the Wade Phillips version of the 2010 Dallas Cowboys, it doesn't put forth a full effort for an entire game. This team has put together exactly one game all season with 60 minutes of effort, and that was December 3rd against Tampa Bay. It's December 21st. The season started in October.

I know this team is 17-11-4 and in second place in the Northeast division. I know there have been salary cap issues and injuries. I know what it's like to have a job whisked away in the eye of the public (I of course didn't have a contract to fall back on to pay me to stay home and do nothing). The deal is simple: this team and this coach don't match-up with each other. When the coach questions the team's emotion level, and the players already have excuses at the ready, then the disconnect is apparent. The coach is telling the players what they need to hear, but he's being tuned out. The message is lost.

Firing a coach (GASP!)doesn't do anything to your salary cap, but it does change the culture in the locker room, and it changes the voice of who is telling the players to pull their heads out of their collective asses. I was OK with this team keeping Julien on after last season's playoff shibacle, but it's obvious, even in their wins, he can't reach this team on a level that keeps them ready to play 60 minutes of hockey every night. Cam Neely down to the bench? Scott Gordon gets a chance at redemption with a team that has talent? Kevin Dineen finally gets the NHL call? It could be any one of the three or something else, but the bottom line is this: the Bruins have a chance to do something special this season. Does anyone believe Claude Julien is the guy to lead this team to the promised land?

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